Brand New Key - Melanie





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Uploaded on Sep 16, 2008


"Brand New Key" is a pop song written by folk singer Melanie (Melanie Safka), which became a novelty hit in 1971-72. Taken from Melanie's album Gather Me, it was also known as "The Roller-skate Song". It was her biggest hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in December 1971 and January 1972. It reached #1 in Canada and Australia, and #4 in the UK charts. Melanie's version of "Brand New Key" was featured in the 1997 film Boogie Nights.

The song is lighthearted in tone, sung from the viewpoint of a girl trying to attract the attention of a boy:

I got a brand new pair of roller skates
You got a brand new key
I think that we should get together and try them out you see
The roller-skates in question would have been quad skates which fit over ordinary footwear and were tightened with a screw. The girl's skates are presumably adequate, as she is already skating, but not perfect, as she needs the key: I roller skated to your door at daylight[...]
I'm okay alone, but you got something I need.

Many listeners detected innuendo in the lyrics, with the key in its lock symbolizing sexual intercourse, or in phrases like "I go pretty far" and "I been all around the world".

Melanie has acknowledged the possibility of reading sexual innuendo in the song: "Brand New Key I wrote in about fifteen minutes one night. I thought it was cute; a kind of old thirties' tune. I guess a key and a lock have always been Freudian symbols, and pretty obvious ones at that. There was no deep serious expression behind the song, but people read things into it. They made up incredible stories as to what the lyrics said and what the song meant. In some places, it was even banned from the radio. My idea about songs is that once you write them, you have very little say in their life afterward. It's a lot like having a baby. You conceive a song, deliver it, and then give it as good a start as you can. After that, it's on its own. People will take it any way they want to take it."


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