"Get Free" (originally titled "Malibu") is a song by Lana Del Rey. It was co-written and produced with Rick Nowels, Kieron Menzies and Dean Reid. It serves as the closing track on her fifth studio album and fourth major-label studio album, Lust for Life, which was released worldwide on July 21, 2017.
Writing and inspiration
During interviews for BBC Radio 1 and Complex magazine, Del Rey revealed that the song originally had a different title and much more personal lyrics. As she stated: "That song started out really revealing [...] I wanted to summarize my whole experience over the last six years; and then I realized, I don't want to reveal everything". After deciding not to use the original version titled "Malibu", the song was completely deleted and reworked into the final version, known as "Get Free".
During her concert in San Diego, California, on July 31, 2017, Del Rey commented that she purposely intended the last word on the record to be "blue", stating that she felt like the word was "a good omen" for a direction that she wanted to go, and a "a little jumping off point for the next record".
Del Rey revealed that the song is based on the concept of the book "The Hero's Journey" by author Joseph Campbell, where he recounts his findings of comparing the myths and legends of many cultures. In summary, the book illustrates the metaphor for the deep inner journey of transformation that heroes in every time and place seem to share. A path of twelve stages that leads one through great movements of separation, descent, ordeal and return that ultimately guides one to reach the journey of self-discovery.
During a 2018 interview for World Cafe, Del Rey shared the sentiment behind the song: "It's about people who don't get to reach their full potential because they let controlling people stop them from being free".
Meaghan Garvey of Pitchfork called "Get Free" the most stunning and thematically essential song on the album along with "Change", stating that "Del Rey delivers, at last, the album's mission statement: 'Finally, I'm crossing the threshold/From the ordinary world/To the reveal of my heart.' It is not so much a revelation as a promise that one is coming, and when she sings plainly, 'This is my commitment,' the album cover's uncharacteristic smile reveals itself not as a declaration of happiness, but a reminder that it's still worth believing in".
The Fader magazine named it the best song on Lust for Life and added it was "an amalgam of influences and interpolations and inter-references to the sprawling Lana universe". It was described as a "gorgeous-sounding promise" and pact between Del Rey and herself to "unapologetically rid her life of unnecessary darkness". They went on to call it the most spiritually uplifting Del Rey song to date and as the album's last track, it solidified it's mission statement: "Lana will always be Lana, but she reserves the right to make life changes, to feel proud of what she's accomplished, and to sing about being happy and free, for once".
Del Rey sang a brief a cappella snippet of the song for the first time on August 1, 2017, at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California. On October 23, 2017, at Terminal 5 in New York City, Del Rey performed another a cappella version of the song and revealed the censored words in the first pre-chorus to be "Amy" and "Whitney", as a nod to two of Del Rey's inspirations Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston, whose names she has tattooed above her chest. Del Rey sang the line as "I'm doing it for all of us, who never got the chance, for Amy and for Whitney". In 2018, Del Rey performed the song on various dates of the LA to the Moon Tour.
In an interview with Gabrielle Wilson for MTV which was published on October 31, 2017, Del Rey expressed interest in creating a music video for "Get Free" or "Cherry". A brief snippet of the song is also featured in the "White Mustang" music video.
On January 7, 2018, Del Rey revealed via Twitter that the English rock band Radiohead were suing her for copyright infringement, claiming that their single "Creep" had been plagiarised in the song "Get Free", which used a similar chord progression and melody.
According to Del Rey's tweet, Radiohead had insisted on receiving 100% of the publishing rights of the song after she had proposed conceding 40% of the rights. On the same day as her tweet, at an LA to the Moon Tour show in Denver, Colorado, Del Rey expressed to fans:
- "I just want to let you know that regardless of what happens in court, the sentiment that I wrote in that particular song, which was my statement song for the record, my personal manifesto, my modern manifesto. I just want to let you know that regardless if it gets taken down off of everything, those sentiments that I wrote and that I really am still gonna strive for them even if that song is not on the future physical releases of the record".
The comment further insinuated that if Radiohead were to win the dispute, "Get Free" may have been be removed from all platforms as it would no longer within be Del Rey's or her label's right to distribute the track. However, a representative of Warner/Chapell denied that Radiohead were seeking to have total control over the track and its publishing rights, although noted that discussions were being held regarding the writing credits on the song. In their statement, they advised:
- As Radiohead’s music publisher, it’s true that we’ve been in discussions since August of last year with Lana Del Rey’s representatives. It’s clear that the verses of ‘Get Free’ use musical elements found in the verses of ‘Creep’ and we’ve requested that this be acknowledged in favor of all writers of ‘Creep.’ To set the record straight, no lawsuit has been issued and Radiohead have not said they ‘will only accept 100 percent’ of the publishing of ‘Get Free.’
Nearly three months later, Del Rey addressed fans during her set at the Lollapalooza festival in São Paulo, Brazil on March 25, 2018, and confirmed that the dispute had been settled. After performing "Get Free" as part of her encore, Del Rey told fans: "Well, fuck, now that my lawsuit's over, I guess I can sing that song any time I want, right?" The writing credits for "Get Free" have not been updated on the ASCAP database, suggesting that no further action was taken by Warner/Chappell or Radiohead as a result of their discussions with Del Rey's representatives.
- Amy Winehouse is also mentioned in the poem "Bare Feet On Linoleum".
- Paradise is also mentioned in "Dark Paradise", "Tomorrow Never Came" and the song of the same name, among many others.
- Rainbows are also mentioned in "Thunder".
- Referenced in "Children of the Bad Revolution"; another subtle reference to the song appears in "God Bless America - and All the Beautiful Women in It".
- The sea is also mentioned in "Queen of Disaster" and "Yes to Heaven".
- The sound of a motorcycle revving its engine heard in the pre-chorus can also be heard in the intro of "Lust for Life".
- The lyric "Out of the black, into the blue" is similar to the lyric "you turn my mood from black to blue" from "Hundred Dollar Bill". The first mentioned phrase could have been inspired by Neil Young's songs "Out of the Blue" and "Into the Black". Both colors are also mentioned in "I Talk to Jesus".
- The lyrics "Sometimes it feels like I've got a war in my mind, I wanna get off but I keep riding the ride" are a direct reference to "Ride".
- Album version — 5:34
- Instrumental version — 5:40
- While the album version of the song is censored, Del Rey has performed this line as "For Amy and for Whitney" in various live shows, referencing the singers Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston.
- Lana Del Rey — vocals, songwriting, production
- Rick Nowels — songwriting, production, bass, organ, keyboards, synth pad
- Kieron Menzies — songwriting, production, engineering, mixing, percussion, synthesizer, field recording
- Dean Reid — production, engineering, mixing, synth bass, percussion, electric guitar
- Trevor Yasuda — engineering, keyboards
- David Levita — electric guitar
- Zac Rae — synth pad, organ, Mellotron, guitar
- Aaron Sterling — live drums, percussion
- Mighty Mike — drums, percussion
- Chris Garcia — engineering
- Adam Ayan — mastering
- Published by Cosmic Lime (ASCAP) / R-Rated Music administered by EMI April Music Inc. (Global Music Rights) / Sony/ATV Music Publishing (ASCAP)
- Recorded at The Green Building, Los Angeles and Hampstead Studios, London
- Mastered at Gateway Mastering, Portland, Maine
|US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)||20|
- Schlanger, Talia (February 16, 2018). "Lana Del Rey On Accountability And The Art Of Self-Editing". NPR.
- MTV News (October 31, 2017). "Lana Del Rey Talks Next Music Video & Tour w/ Kali Uchis & Jhené Aiko". YouTube.
- Peters, Mitchell (January 7, 2018) "Lana Del Rey Responds to Radiohead's Lawsuit: 'Their Lawyers Have Been Relentless'". Billboard.
- Kommenda, Niko (March 26, 2018) "Did Lana Del Rey plagiarise Radiohead? A note-by-note analysis". The Guardian.
- Kreps, Daniel (January 9, 2018) "Watch Lana Del Rey Talk Potential Radiohead Lawsuit at Denver Concert". Rolling Stone.
- Blistein, Jon (January 9, 2018) "Radiohead Publisher Issues Statement Refuting Lana Del Rey Lawsuit". Rolling Stone.
- Lanapedia (@Lanapedia). "Lana Del Rey talking about ‘Get Free’" March 25, 2018. Twitter. [Access Date: March 27, 2018]
- Sodomsky, Sam (March 26, 2018). "Lana Del Rey Says Radiohead Lawsuit Is “Over”". Pitchfork.
- Lana Del Rey Chart History (Hot Rock Songs). Billboard. Retrieved January 17, 2018.