Doin' Time

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"Doin' Time"
Covers DoinTimeSingleCover.jpg
Single by Sublime
from the album Sublime
ReleasedNovember 25, 1997
FormatCD single
LabelGasoline Alley
Songwriter(s)Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin, Marshall Goodman, Maggie Plum, Dorothy Heyward, DuBose Heyward, Bradley Nowell
Producer(s)David Kahne, Jerry Duplesis
Sublime singles chronology
"Wrong Way"
"Doin' Time"

"Doin' Time" is a single by the American band Sublime. It is featured on their self-titled third album; the lyrics tell of a cheating girlfriend, whose infidelities and poor treatment of her lover makes him feel like he is in prison. It was released as a single on November 25, 1997; the disc contained alternate versions of the song by Wyclef Jean and The Pharcyde. Additional versions appeared on the post-Bradley Nowell compilation album Second-hand Smoke and several bootlegs, including one with Snoop Dogg.

This song reached number 87 on the Billboard Hot 100[1] and number 28 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.


"Doin' Time" is a loose cover of "Summertime" by George Gershwin, composed for the opera Porgy and Bess. The track heavily samples a cover of "Summertime" by jazz flutist Herbie Mann, a live bossa nova version from his album Herbie Mann at the Village Gate; the band originally recorded the song with the lyrics "doin' time and the livin's easy". In order to release the song using the Gershwin sample, the band had to agree to use the line "summertime" instead of "doin' time". However, the song was already recorded with the "doin' time" lyric, and lead singer Bradley Nowell had recently died of a heroin overdose; the lyric was re-recorded by Sublime's friend/producer Michael Happoldt singing "summertime". It is this version of the song that appears on Sublime's self-titled album.[2] Future Long Beach Dub Allstars DJ Marshall Goodman appears on the recording and is mentioned in the lyrics.

The line "And we can do it like this, in the place to be." is sampled from the Beastie Boys' "Slow and Low" from their 1986 album Licensed to Ill. The song also samples "Jump for Jah" by Ini Kamoze, "Buffalo Gals" by Malcolm McLaren, and "Holy Thursday" by David Axelrod.


The original version of "Doin' Time" with the original, unaltered vocal was released in 2006 on the Deluxe Edition of the band's self-titled Sublime album, as well as the 2 disc 180 gram vinyl "Back To Black 60th Vinyl Anniversary" edition; the deluxe edition also includes 5 remixes of "Doin' Time", and the original music video.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Doin' Time" (Bradley Version) – 4:16
  2. "Doin' Time" (Remixed by Wyclef Jean) – 3:49
  3. "Doin' Time" (Remixed by Marshall Arts featuring The Pharcyde) – 4:10
  4. "Doin' Time" (Album Version) – 4:12

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1997–98) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100 87
US Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks 28

Lana Del Rey version[edit]

"Doin' Time"
Lana Del Rey - Doin' Time.png
Single by Lana Del Rey
ReleasedMay 17, 2019 (2019-05-17)
Lana Del Rey singles chronology
"Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman like Me to Have – but I Have It"
"Doin' Time"

On May 7, 2019, Lana Del Rey teased a cover of the song and said it was "coming soon".[3] Del Rey’s cover was officially released on May 17, 2019 coinciding with the premiere of a documentary about Sublime at the Tribeca Film Festival.[4]


Shortly after the release of Del Rey’s cover, a general consensus began to form among many critics who noted an evident interconnection between “Doin’ Time” and other Sublime songs and Del Rey’s own songs. One article particularly summarized these similar observations by noting that “Sublime’s songs, like [Del Rey’s], are set in the shadowy corners of California, teeming with star-crossed lovers, transcendental depravity, and A-1 storytelling.”[5]

Del Rey repeatedly uses California life, landmarks, and culture as a recurring motif in her songwriting, as well as expressing an admiration for summertime and the traditionally symbolic nature linking summertime to freedom. Comparisons were made to the multiple references Sublime also makes to "the LBC" and Summertime in "Doin' Time", but also to other allusions to California in general the band has made in other recordings. Del Rey has also utilized trip hop and hip hop elements in many of her own songs at various points throughout her career, particularly on her first major album Born to Die, wherein the singer's style of rapping and rhyming can be heard over trip hop-inspired production on many tracks. Similarly, Sublime's ska-inspired rapping and the trip hop-infused production of many of the group's recordings crafted a "SoCal vibe" within the ska genre; when asked about covering the song, Del Rey credited the transitioning of and shifts in genres to Sublime, saying the group "made a genre and sound totally their own", adding that because of the indelible "SoCal vibe" the group created, "not a day goes by that [she does not] listen to at least one Sublime song."[6][7][8][9]

Most of the aforementioned critics concluded that the choice to have Del Rey cover the song was a well-made decision that yielded a satisfying finished cover. One reviewer in particular expressed that the cover felt so authentic that "it could have easily appeared on one of [Del Rey's] own albums." Another agreed, adding that the unique aesthetic Del Rey brings to the song makes her version "barely [even sound] like a Sublime cover." Much of the praise toward Del Rey's cover was directed at how the singer simultaneously stayed true to Sublime's original and intended sound, while also utilizing her own established vocal niches and techniques.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Del Rey's version of "Doin' Time" received critical acclaim upon its release, with critics as well as Sublime’s former bandmates and family offering praise for Del Rey's treatment of the song.[9][11]

An article from Rolling Stone that described Del Rey's cover as "shimmering" and "glittering" included Sublime drummer Bud Gaugh's personal evaluation of Del Rey's version, wherein Gaugh lauded her adherence to her well-recognized vocal style while she was working on the song, saying that the "smoky, sexy, and iconic sound of her voice breathes new life into one of our favorite singles."[9] In a separate interview with iHeartRadio, Troy Dendekker, the widow of Sublime frontman Bradley Nowell, likewise praised Del Rey's cover by characterizing it as "magical and haunting" and explained that with the release of the cover, it was "an honor to have [Del Rey’s] talent complement the Sublime legacy."[11]

In a highly positive review from Billboard, reviewer Gil Kaufman stated that Del Rey "does [the song] justice", particular highlighting how Del Rey incorporated her own "sleepy, intimate vibe over the song's laid-back groove." Kaufman further praised Del Rey's version saying, "You know you've nailed a cover when it feels like something that could have easily appeared on one of your own albums," further stating that Del Rey "is so deeply in the pocket on her super-chilled out version of Sublime's iconic 'Doin' Time' that it's easy to forget the SoCal reggae rockers released...[the song]...more than 23 years ago."[12] Alex Zaragoza of Vice particularly acclaimed Del Rey's version, saying it was "SoCal perfect it's reasonable to think there's a Sublime poster hanging somewhere in her Malibu home."[10]

In another highly positive review, The Fader's Meaghan Garvey stated, "the song of the summer is 'Doin' Time" by Sublime, as sung by Lana herself", providing such esteem to the cover that she stated, "I might even suggest that [Del Rey's] version of 'Doin' Time' improves upon the original, with its slinkier arrangement and fluttering bridge."[13] In a separate article, a second writer for The Fader similarly praised Del Rey's version and opened his critique of the track by saying that Del Rey's "new Sublime cover is...sublime" while calling it a "gorgeous" rendition. Comparable to other reviews, D'Souza remarked that Del Rey's distinctive artistic approach and vocals ultimately shaped her version of the song into the final released single and said, "Lana's got such a consistent aesthetic that it barely sounds like a Sublime cover; it could have easily fit onto her last record, Lust For Life."[8]

Stereogum's Keely Quinlan gave the song a positive review, praising it as a "very, very good" cover, going on to state that Del Rey's "stacked, reverb-soaked vocals fit this vibe expertly, and some additional percussion adds a gorgeous sweetness." The reviewer particularly commended Del Rey's treatment of the song's bridge, opining that it was where the singer "really soars" and makes "the otherwise violent lyric 'I'd like to hold her head underwater' sound unnervingly sexy."[14] Eric Torres of Pitchfork gave a positive review of Del Rey's version and shared many of the same opinions as other reviewers when he described the cover as "decidedly within Del Rey's wheelhouse". Torres also highlighted the way in which Del Rey "[adapted] Bradley Nowell's expressive rapping into her own blasé drawl", he concluded by saying Del Rey's cover "will most likely remain a small treat in her discography...but its low calorie count shouldn't dissuade [listeners] from enjoying [its] simple pleasures."[15] A positive review from said that Del Rey delivered a "soaring" cover of the song and that it "couldn't be more perfect" and further stated that the song was "born again" with Del Rey's "turned down tempo, the introduction of strings, and fluttering harmonies."[16]

Writing for Spin, Rob Arcand responded positively to the cover, particularly making note of Del Rey's devotion to the source material saying that her version "stays surprisingly true to the original, with plucked harp tones [and] big-beat breaks", while only slightly critiquing the cover for "[having] very little record scratching", he rounded out his review by voicing his admiration for Del Rey's adaptation and expressed doubt that another performer could have covered the song in a way that was both faithful to the original and also sonically evocative of SoCal sounds saying, "Few bands are more quintessentially American than Sublime, so maybe it makes sense coming from [Del Rey and her] sonic reference points like "Sylvia Plath" and Norman Fucking Rockwell."[17]


Chart (2019) Peak
Australia Digital Tracks (ARIA)[18] 39
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[19] 14
Canadian Hot Digital Songs (Billboard)[20] 33
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[21] 91
France Downloads (SNEP)[22] 19
Greece International Digital Singles (IFPI)[23] 24
Hungary (Single Top 40)[24] 7
Ireland (IRMA)[25] 62
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)[26] 15
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[27] 48
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[28] 48
Sweden Heatseeker (Sverigetopplistan)[29] 5
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[30] 74
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[31] 75
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[32] 4
US Rock Airplay (Billboard)[33] 22


  1. ^ "Sublime Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-05-28.
  2. ^ Sublime - Stories, Tales, Lies and Exaggerations (1998) DVD
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Garvey, Meaghan (May 20, 2019). "The Sublime joy of Lana Del Rey covering 'Doin' Time'". The Fader. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  6. ^ Scott, Shaun (July 28, 2017). "The Political Economy of Lana Del Rey". CityArts. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  7. ^ Brandon, Jack (August 9, 2017). "Lana Del Rey's Determined, Methodical Evolution". Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  8. ^ a b D'Souza, Shaad (May 16, 2019). "Listen to Lana Del Rey's gorgeous Sublime cover". The Fader. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Zemler, Emily (May 17, 2019). "Hear Lana Del Rey's Shimmering Cover of Sublime's 'Doin' Time'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Zaragoza, Alex (May 17, 2019). "Lana Del Rey's Sublime Cover Is SoCal Perfection". Vice. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Nattress, Katrina (May 18, 2019). "Lana Del Rey Releases Cover Of Sublime's 'Doin' Time'". iHeartRadio. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  12. ^ Kaufman, Gil (May 17, 2019). "Lana Del Rey Maxes, Relaxes on Chill 'Doin' Time' Cover: Stream it Now". Billboard. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  13. ^ Garvey, Meaghan (May 20, 2019). "The Sublime joy of Lana Del Rey covering 'Doin' Time'". The Fader. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  14. ^ Quinlan, Keely (May 17, 2019). "Lana Del Rey – 'Doin' Time' (Sublime Cover)". Stereogum. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  15. ^ Torres, Eric (May 18, 2019). "'Doin' Time' by Lana Del Rey Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  16. ^ Timmerberg, Tiana (May 17, 2019). "Lana Del Rey Delivers Soaring Cover of Sublime's 'Doin' Time'". Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  17. ^ Arcand, Rob (May 17, 2019). "Lana Del Rey – 'Doin' Time' (Sublime Cover)". Spin. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  18. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 40 Digital Tracks" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. May 27, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  19. ^ " – Lana Del Rey – Doin' Time" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  20. ^ "Iggy Azalea – Chart history (Hot Canadian Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  21. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Change the chart to CZ – SINGLES DIGITAL – TOP 100 and insert 201921 into search. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  22. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Singles Téléchargés – SNEP (Week 21, 2019)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  23. ^ "Official IFPI Charts – Digital Singles Chart (International) – Week: 20/2019". IFPI Greece. Archived from the original on May 30, 2019. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  24. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  25. ^ "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  26. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. May 27, 2019. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  27. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  28. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Select SINGLES DIGITAL - TOP 100 and insert 201921 into search. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  29. ^ "Veckolista Heatseeker, vecka 21". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  30. ^ " – Lana Del Rey – Doin' Time". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  31. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  32. ^ "Lana Del Rey Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  33. ^ "Lana Del Rey Chart History (Rock Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved June 11, 2019.

External links[edit]