Brooklyn Doran delivers a scrapbook of memories and lessons on ‘FIXER UPPER’


Recommended Tracks: “Wasted My Twenties”, “Fuck That Guy”, “Michigan State”
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Annabel Gutherz, Lucy Dacus, Caroline Romano

When I hear the term, “fixer upper,” I usually start thinking about the song that the trolls sing to Kristoff in Frozen – it’s catchy! For those who haven’t seen Frozen, there is a scene where love interest Kristoff introduces main character Anna to his family, who are trolls. They tease him, tell Anna that he’s a “fixer upper,” and then Anna and Kristoff eventually fall for each other. All is well. Unfortunately, life does not automatically come with perfectly planned out Disney musical numbers, but we have artists like Brooklyn Doran who can help give us the soundtrack we need for the scenes in our lives. On her new album, FIXER UPPER, Brooklyn trash talks an ex, learns to live in the moment, and confronts the next phase of her life, taking us on a journey that parallels the one that we may be on ourselves.

Throughout FIXER UPPER, Brooklyn embraces the choices and decisions that come with growing up. On “Wasted My Twenties,” she celebrates the release of bad habits, careful not to bring that energy with her into her 30s. It is a grunge-leaning, alt-rock anthem with lines like, “I’m here with a broken heart / In an empty bar / Playing love songs, baby / Too bad they’ll never be about you now” and “Used to have me on my knees / Scrolling past you on my feed / It’s a cycle that I’m trying to break,” ready to make the change. On the bittersweet folk ballad “This Town Won’t Miss You,” Brooklyn also observes a change that naturally occurs within a hometown, when people get to that point where they outgrow all it offers. She sings, “And this town will chase you / Like you’re a traitor / You keep on running / But you keep coming back,” aware of the ties it can hold. There is also “One Way Ticket,” which focuses on leaving the past behind. On this folk pop track, Brooklyn decides to leave someone who was “getting stoned” in pursuit of better days, telling them, “I’ve been having bad days / I had them all along / I don’t know the right ways / To tell you that you’re wrong.” She then gets her one way ticket and doesn’t look back.

As she moves on, she reflects on the relationships that were holding her down. With “I Can’t Be Alone With You,” Brooklyn delivers a strong message to someone who makes her feel lonely and miserable. Over gentle layers of guitar and drums, she confronts this person, singing, “I can’t be alone with you / This time, we have more to lose” and reveals, “Maybe I was lonelier with you.” The lonely vibes occur again on “Michigan State,” where she revisits a broken moment in time. Brooklyn speaks about a car ride she had with an ex that made her wonder, “Who have you been hiding this whole time?” She then accepts that things are over between them.

Despite some of the downhearted vibes of these tracks, there are times when Brooklyn owns what she is going through, coming out stronger on the other side. On opening track “Relics,” she focuses on matters of the present. Brooklyn’s delicate vocals move us when she sings, “I don’t want to wake the dead with relics / Of someone you used to love but never had,” not letting someone she has never met tear her current relationship apart. She continues to shed some light on relationships with “Fuck That Guy,” where she calls out a guy who was “a fool” and “insane.” She does not let this guy win, singing, “Fuck that guy / That’s his style,” and “Let him lose touch,” allowing whoever needs to hear this advice to get back out there. In the end, we cannot let our troubles or fears get in the way of living life to the fullest, which comes across on “Tomorrow Never Comes.” Dedicated to her late friend, Andrew “Glamdrew” Henderson, the single finds Brooklyn reconnecting with her friend and valuing the importance of never letting a moment go to waste.

Overall, FIXER UPPER is kind of like a scrapbook on Brooklyn and the moments that have shaped her. These songs resemble photographs that showcase the highs and lows, the music enhancing the feelings and emotions experienced from one to the other. Each song breathes on its own, the production never being too much or not enough. With the lyrics and the various melodies or riffs, we can feel how Brooklyn has grown up, evolved, and absorbed life lessons that she will keep with her forever – her stories serving as inspiration for other “fixer uppers” out there who can relate.

You can listen to FIXER UPPER on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

Keep up with Brooklyn Doran: Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // YouTube // TikTok // Website

Christine Sloman
Christine Sloman
Writer for Melodic Mag since 2018. Music lover since always.

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