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, making it Del Rey's longest running track released to date. Lyrically, the song describes a violent and drug-fueled relationship that has ended. 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.”
Live performances Edit
Since late 2014, "Cruel World" is often the first song Del Rey sings at her concerts. She performed it live for the first time on October 6, 2014, in Mexico City, Mexico, as the opening song for that concert, and was performed as the opening song for the last six dates on the Paradise Tour (October 6 to 18, 2014), in favor of "Cola", which had been performed as the opening song for all of the previous dates on the tour. "Cruel World" has since been performed as the opening song for every show on Del Rey's 2015 Endless Summer Tour as well as her 2016 Festival Tour.
- 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".
- The song's title, "Cruel World" is also used in the live introduction for "Cola".
- Lana Del Rey — vocals, songwriting
- Blake Stranathan — songwriting, electric guitar, claps
- Dan Auerbach — production
- Collin Dupuis — engineering
- Robert Orton — mixing
- Nick Movshon — electric bass, claps
- Leon Michaels — synthesizers, mellotron, claps
- Kenny Vaughan — electric guitar
- Seth Kaufman — synthesizer, claps
- Russ Pahl — pedal steel
- Maximilian Weissenfeldt — drums, claps
- John Davis — mastering
- Published by Copyright Control/Sony/ATV Music Publishing
- Recorded at Easy Eye Sound, Nashville, United States
- Mastered at Metropolis Studios, London, United Kingdom
- Mixed at Hot Rocks Studios, Santa Monica, United States