#StopTheVomitStartTheMusic: Lady Gaga’s “Brooklyn Nights” Surfaces

I know, the term “Gaga leak” might result in some digestional discontent — but fear not, this is a paint-free zone.

Madame Gagaloo’s messy, bodily fluid-filled SXSW showcase has been making the rounds for a variety of reasons this week, but to be honest, I’d rather not get into it. It’s exhausting, to be honest: Between the humorless Little Monsters scrambling frantically to explain away every fiber of Mother Monster’s art and the shady Twitter critics eagerly hyper-criticizing every facet of her career to knock her further down the pop totem pole, it’s just not fun to write about Lady Gaga these days. At. All.

So, I’d rather focus on what matters — what really matters: The music! (#StopTheDramaStartTheMusic, right?)

“Brooklyn Nights” is a song originally recorded in 2010 and allegedly meant to be released via the ARTPOP App, which then leaked in sort-of-weird, LQ form earlier in February. It’s finally arrived today in full — and it’s certainly worth a listen.

The bittersweet arena rock ballad is slightly more stripped down than the overproduced EDM walls of ARTPOP, powering along on a guitar-driven pulse. “We would watch Rocky IV, the one where the Russians scored, I love Brigitte Nielsen’s hair,” Gaga nostalgically recalls, reflecting on her lost love. Campy, yet sincere.

“It’s not that I don’t want to love you/It’s not that I’m really over it, you know/It’s just that I can’t watch us bleed to death/When we used to be Brooklyn Nights happy,” Gaga cries out, serving up a massive sing-along chorus right up there with “Speechless” and “You & I.”

“Brooklyn Nights” is also more vulnerable than, say, the bitchiness and word vomit (pun!) of ARTPOP‘s “Donatella” or “Mary Jane Holland” — especially as she bursts into a semi-monologue during the bridge: “I found an old pair of keys in my purse that opened the walk-up we shared/How did they get there, jerk?/I want to see you there, I want to make it work.”

The lyrics make “Brooklyn Nights” play like the somber sequel to The Fame‘s “Summerboy” or “Boys Boys Boys” many years later — that love affair just couldn’t last forever, it seems.

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