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"Brooklyn Baby" is a song by Lana Del Rey written with her then-boyfriend, Barrie-James O'Neill. It is featured as the fourth track on her second major-label studio album, Ultraviolence. The song was released as the third promotional single from the album on June 8, 2014, following "Shades of Cool" and "Ultraviolence".
Background and writing
On May 27, 2014, a snippet of the song was debuted alongside snippets of "Shades of Cool" and "Ultraviolence" in an iTunes exclusive promotional video. The video featured unused clips from the "West Coast" music video. Del Rey announced via Instagram that the track would serve as the second promotional single from Ultraviolence, coming out June 8 of that same year.
Del Rey said in an interview with The Guardian that she wrote the song with Lou Reed in mind. She was supposed to work with him and flew to New York City to meet him, but unfortunately he died the day she arrived, "I took the red eye, touched down at 7am … and two minutes later he died," she said. He is referenced in the line "And my boyfriend's in a band, he plays guitar while I sing Lou Reed".
On October 27, 2017, two instrumental stem snippets and one vocal stem snippet of the song leaked on SoundCloud. On November 10, 2020, the unmastered version of the song leaked.
"Brooklyn Baby" is a 5 minute 51 second long ballad playing at approximately 108 beats per minute in 4/4 and F minor. The song is influenced by rock and jazz - seen notably in the scatting that is present throughout the song. A plucky guitar riff is a prominent feature throughout the song and Del Rey's vocals are further backed by a bass line, drums and strings. Male backing vocals provided by Seth Kaufman, who also provides electric guitar and percussion on the track, feature on the last verse at the end of the song.
The song received critical acclaim. Miriam Coleman of Rolling Stone described it as a "dreamy song... with a breathy vocals and a melody before moving into Del Rey's typically languid, dreamy soundscape". Duncan Cooper of The Fader stated that "Brooklyn Baby" is the standout track of Ultraviolence, pointing out the "uncharacteristically self-assured gem", "Yeah, my boyfriend's pretty cool/ But he's not as cool as me". Sharan Shetty of Slate complimented the melody of the song, however disliked the lack of "big, chewy vocal hooks". The song was placed at number twenty two on Rolling Stone 's 50 Best Songs of 2014 list.
The song had a modest success. It reached number 101 on US Billboard Hot 100, being number 1 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles It peaked 35, 60, 6 in Australia, Canada and Finland respectively In France, the song peaked number 33, in UK it reached number 86, and in New Zealand it debuted at 19. In other European countries, "Brooklyn Baby" debuted at number 50, 87, 36, 16, 64 and 32 in Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Austria and Belgium. In Russia, the song reached number ten at the Digital Songs chart.
Del Rey has performed the track on numerous dates of the Endless Summer Tour in 2015.
- The phrase "brooklyn baby" is featured in the song "True Love on the Side".
- Amphetamines are mentioned in the title of the song "Methamphetamines".
- Del Rey implies she is a jazz singer as she does in "Ultraviolence" and "Dum Dum".
- Del Rey's boyfriend being in a band is prevalent in her lyrics, such as in "Is It Wrong", "Match Made in Heaven", "Big Bad Wolf" and "Your Band Is All the Rage", among others.
- Clear references to the Beat Generation in lyrics such as: "Beat poetry on amphetamines", "I get down to Beat poetry" and "if you don't like it, you can beat it; beat it, baby". Jazz also refers to that "generation [...] that newer nation", and so does "the Freedomland of the 70s".
- Getting high is a common subject in Del Rey's songs, such as "Born to Die", "High by the Beach" and "Florida Kilos", amongst others.
- "You're blind, I see" echoes "I can see but once I was blind" in "Born to Die", and "I was blind before I saw the world through your eyes" from "TV in Black & White".
- Del Rey similarly calls her boyfriend "cool" in "Lust for Life", "Architecture", "Ridin'", "Push Me Down", and alludes to it in "National Anthem".
- Brooklyn is also referenced in "Living Legend".
- Poetry is also mentioned in "Norman Fucking Rockwell" and "Bartender".
- Playing guitar is also mentioned in "Music to Watch Boys To", "The Next Best American Record", "For K (Part 2)", "Groupie Love" and "Tomorrow Never Came".
- Ice is also mentioned in "Venice Bitch" and "Freak".
- Wind is also mentioned in "Change".
- The sea is also mentioned in "Get Free", "Queen of Disaster" and "Yes to Heaven".
- The phrase "I think we're like the wind and sea" is similar to "You're in the wind, I'm in the water" from "Chemtrails Over the Country Club".
- Album version — 5:51
- Instrumental version — 5:47
- Clean version — 5:51
- Unmastered version – 5:55
- Kirk Spencer Remix — 4:24
- Konstantin Sibold Remix — 5:25
- Pépé's Sixth Henry Mix — 6:04
- Pépé's Aborted Mixlude — 1:12
- Pépé's Beatless Poetry — 5:46
- Richard X Remix — 5:52
- The Juan Maclean Remix — 7:21
- The Penelopes Remix — 5:07
- Yuksek Remix — 4:47
- Lana Del Rey — vocals, songwriting
- Barrie-James O'Neill — songwriting
- Dan Auerbach — production, electric guitar
- Collin Dupuis — engineering
- Robert Orton — mixing
- Nick Movshon — drums, upright bass
- Leon Michaels — tambourine, Mellotron, percussion, tenor sax
- Kenny Vaughan — acoustic guitar
- Seth Kaufman — electric guitar, percussion, background vocals
- Russ Pahl — acoustic guitar, pedal steel
- Maximilian Weissenfeldt — drums
- John Davis — mastering
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||62|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)||32|
|Canada (Canadian Hot 100)||60|
|Finland Download (Suomen virallinen latauslista)||6|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||87|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||19|
|Russian Digital Songs (Lenta)||10|
|Russian Top Radio Hits (Tophit)||341|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||16|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||86|
|US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)||1|
- ISRC: GBUM71406727
- ISRC: GBUM71404959
- ISRC: GBUM71406725
- ISRC: GBUM71406663
- ISRC: GBUM71406726
- ISRC: GBUM71406728
- ISRC: GBUM71406664
- ISRC: GBUM71406666