Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Nets' new anthem: "Brooklyn (something to lean on)" is all about the borough (not the "Nets")

Well, it's a heck of a lot better than the mascot.

The new Brooklyn Nets anthem, Brooklyn (something to lean on) by John Forté (an old friend and business partner of Christophe Charlier, a member of Mikhail Prokhorov's executive team), has gotten enthusiastic reviews.

"Life is more than just a dream/when your team's strong," sings Forté. "We write anthems/this is more than just a theme song." Cue the "Brook-lyn" chorus. Later: "There's only one city/that we lean on/we call that/Brooklyn."

Indeed, the song has a propulsive urgency and the  "Brook-lyn" refrain's catchy, even if, as one member of my small focus group suggested, it has something of a "We Are the World" vibe. The song sure reminds us that the team is all about the borough; there's no mention of the name "Nets."

But can it really be the theme song for not just the team but the borough? It's just another example of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center laying claim to (and exploiting) borough identity. (See my essay on The Brand Called Brooklyn, from The Brooklyn Rail.)

Brooklyn (something to lean on) by darrenrovell

The message

The New York Post provided explanations from those behind the song:
“Creating the team's song felt like a way of saluting my birthplace and the beauties and complexities the borough represents,” said Forté, best known for being a member of the 90s-rap group the Fugees.
“Most important, however, I wanted to salute the multifarious swaths of culture that elevate Brooklyn to the international level of notoriety, which it deserves. My love for Brooklyn made this an easy job – that, and becoming the Nets new number one fan.”
"We are touched by John 's work as it captures the soulfulness and energy that represents Brooklyn," said Petra Pope, senior vice president of event marketing and community relations for the Nets. "This song will be heard around the borough, and it will be part of the new generation of Brooklyn Nets fans."
Below, the video used to introduce the players at games, excerpting the song. It leaves less to the imagination, pairing images of Nets players in street clothes and uniform, on the way to (and at) their important iconic destination, with glimpses of older Brooklyn icons--the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Museum, Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch, Brooklyn Public Library central library.

Maybe if they spent more time on the actual streets, it would be more convincing. "They're so not Brooklyn," one member of my focus group suggested. "They're just wearing the shirts."

Well, players are fungible--the Nets' team is hugely different from the one last year, and guys can be shipped off in a flash. The more we hear the anthem, perhaps, the more it will seep into public consciousness. I can't believe Marty Markowitz didn't get a cameo.


Brooklyn Nets 2012 Open from TheFamousGroup on Vimeo.

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