On April 18, 2014, during a show at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, Del Rey revealed the name of the song, calling it her favorite from the album. In an interview with radio station 96.5TIC, Del Rey revealed how she wrote the song with her guitarist Blake Stranathan.
Composition and writingEdit
"Cruel World" is a rock song in 4/4 performed at approximately 117 beats per minute in the key of F major. It runs at 6 minutes and 39 seconds long. Lyrically, the song describes a violent, drug-fueled relationship that is now over. On writing the song, Del Rey explained:
“I went down to the beach and I was thinking about everything, personally. The verse is thoughtful and laid back, but then the chorus falls into this world of chaotic and heavy sub-bass. The juxtaposition of those two worlds, the peaceful beginning and the chaotic chorus, it summed up my personal circumstances of everything going easily and then everything being fucked up. It felt like me.”
- Del Rey sings about a violent religious man in "Butterflies Pt. 2".
- A "red dress" is mentioned in "Summertime Sadness", "Off to the Races", "Carmen", "Yes to Heaven" and "Criminals Run the World".
- Being "young, wild, free and crazy" is mentioned in the "Ride" monologue.
- The titular "Cruel World" is referenced in "Hollywood's Dead"
- Vocals - Lana Del Rey
- Electric guitar and claps - Dan Auerbach
- Electric bass and claps - Nick Movshon
- Synthesizers, mellotron and claps - Leon Michaels
- Electric guitar - Kenny Vaughan
- Synthesizer and claps - Seth Kaufman
- Pedal steal - Russ pahl
- Drums and claps - Maximilian Weissenfeldt
- Engineering - Collin Dupuis
- Mixing - Robert Orton at Hot Rocks Studios
- Mastering - John Davis at Metropolis Studios (London)
- Recording - at Easy Eye Sound (Nashville, TN)