"The Blackest Day" is a song written by Lana Del Rey and Rick Nowels that is featured as the eleventh track on Del Rey's third major-label full-length album Honeymoon, which was officially released worldwide on September 18, 2015.
Background and composition[edit | edit source]
The song is a ballad influenced by jazz, rock and trap genres with references to American jazz singer Billie Holiday, electric guitars and rolling snares from a drum machine. The verses are stripped back, featuring guitar playing over a bass synth as drums slowly build towards a more heavily produced chorus. The chorus includes layered background vocals to add to the instrumentation as well as synth strings and a harp. After the final chorus, the song crescendos into an outro that ends with Del Rey repeating "I'm on my own again". The bridge of the song subtly samples the melody of "I Will Follow Him" by Peggy March.
The first demo of the song produced by STINT was leaked on October 14, 2020. It features a different instrumental. A second demo is rumored to exist, but, as the full version hasn't leaked, this remains speculation.
Lyrically, the song is about the heartbreak of a lover leaving. The track runs at 6 minutes and 5 seconds, making it the longest track on Honeymoon, with approximately 108 beats per minute in the key of F♯ minor.
Critical reception[edit | edit source]
Chelsea Smile of PopMatters called "The Blackest Day" the most powerful song on the record, saying that it "recounts the excruciating break up of a relationship, and the tone to Del Rey's voice is so emotive, it's as if she's nearly crying at points."
Live performance[edit | edit source]
"The Blackest Day" has never been performed live in its entirety. On August 10, 2018 in Budapest, Hungary, Del Rey performed a snippet of the song a cappella per audience request during the LA to the Moon Tour.
Cross-references[edit | edit source]
- Del Rey sings about her "[blue] nail polish" in "1949", "Off to the Races" and alludes to it in "Your Girl".
- "Wind in my hair" is a lyric in "National Anthem" and "Burning Desire".
- Reference to "Put the Radio On".
- The line "I need your love" can also be found in the first demo of "Maha Maha".
- The central theme, missing a lover, also appears in "Blue Jeans".
- Del Rey has a tattoo of Billie Holiday's first name on her chest.
- Del Rey remarks "oh my God" in "Heroin", "Summertime Sadness", "Paradise" and "When the World Was at War We Kept Dancing".
- The "carry me" theme also appears in "1949", "Out with a Bang" and "Your Girl".
Official versions[edit | edit source]
- Album version — 6:05
- Instrumental version — 6:08
- Demo version — 6:19
Lyrics[edit | edit source]
Credits[edit | edit source]
- Lana Del Rey — vocals, songwriting, production
- Rick Nowels — songwriting, production, organ, pads
- Kieron Menzies — production, engineering, recording, mixing, drums, bass, synth, samples
- Trevor Yasuda & Chris Garcia — engineering
- Patrick Warren — strings
- Trevor Yasuda — additional effects
- David Levita — electric guitar
- Adam Ayan — mastering
- Mastered at Gateway Mastering, Portland, Maine