Lana Del Rey and Axl Rose have finished their highly anticipated EP collaboration “Estranged Marriage”, and details are starting to leak with Rose and Del Rey’s first public comments on the collaboration. The track by track scoop:
Estranged Marriage opens with a cover of the Lee Hazelwood/Nancy Sinatra classic “Some Velvet Morning”. Said Rose: “Back when Guns and Roses first started to really make it big, I used to put that Lee and Nancy album on when I needed some Axl time. It actually inspired the song November Rain…I was singing along with Nancy when she goes “Phaedra is my name”, and “cold November rain” seemed to fit perfectly. And Lana’s got such a perfect voice for the Lee part of the song, and put so much of herself into the interpretation…let me tell you, she had me tearing up a couple of times in the control room. With both of us together, it’s like fire and ice, ebony and ivory, Use Your Illusion I AND II.”
The second track continues the duet theme with a cover of “Islands In The Stream”, an early 80′s Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton hit penned by the Bee Gees. When asked why she and Rose chose to record the 1980s duet Del Rey explained “Because if you’ve heard of it, it’s sort of pop music, right? Because it’s, like, popular? And Axl has a tender side, right? And his grandma like, loved that song! And Robin Gibb just like died, right? And you know, the song is like a metaphor for his relationship with Barry? And Axl and I are all listening to it, and we’re both just, like, fuck!”
Tracks 3 and 4 showcase the two performers interpreting each other’s material. First up is Axl’s cover of “Born To Die”, followed by Lana’s take on “Rocket Queen”. When asked about these tracks, both performers were coy. Quipped Rose: “We know we’re always going to be at odds with people on something. A lot of people are afraid to be that way and we’re not. These two tracks may not be what people think they want, but I’m not singing this for you, I’m not singing it for anybody who listens to it. I’m doing it for me.”
The final track on the EP is another duet, this time on the Barbara Streisand/Neil Diamond track “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”. Rose has a long history with the song. The London Symphony Orchestra’s majestic accompanyment was initially recorded over six months in 1994 and 1995, after Rose approached Selena backstage at the Houston Astrodome about performing a duet together. Unfortunately, Selena’s tragic death before Rose completed production on the backing tracks derailed their collaboration. Rose continued working on the tracks, and deemed them ready for a singer after several overdubbing sessions with the New York Philharmonic. For the vocals, Del Rey covers the Diamond parts, while Rose channels Streisand to great dramatic effect. According to Rose, covering Barbara Streisand, Dolly Parton, and Nancy Sinatra on the EP came naturally to him. “I sing in about five or six different voices-that are all part of me, it’s not contrived.”
Estranged Marriage is due in stores this fall.