Song of the Day #2,743: ‘The Blackest Day’ – Lana Del Rey

lana_del_rey_honeymoonBest Songs of 2015 – #3
‘The Blackest Day’ – Lana Del Rey

I knew a Lana Del Rey song would show up somewhere in my top five. The problem was deciding which one.

Del Rey’s fourth full-length record, Honeymoon, sits atop my list of last year’s best albums because it is so remarkably consistent from start to finish. Every track complements the others. It’s an album in the old-fashioned sense, not just a collection of songs.

Honeymoon is lush, melancholy and theatrical — music for a long drive on a dark night. Preferably on a winding hilly road in Los Angeles.

‘The Blackest Day’ is a fine example of what I love about Del Rey’s songwriting. She eschews the verse-chorus-verse structure of so many pop songs… the great musical annotation site Genius.com has a field day displaying her lyrics, breaking out pre- and post-choruses, bridges and outros. Every track takes twists and turns, even if they’re in glorious slow motion.

[Verse 1]
Carry me home, got my blue nail polish on
It’s my favorite color and my favorite tone of song
I don’t really wanna break up, we got it going on
It’s what you gathered from my talk, but you were wrong

[Pre-Chorus]
It’s not easy for me to talk about
I have heavy heartstrings
I’m not simple, it’s trigonometry
It’s hard to express
I can’t explain

[Chorus]
Ever since my baby went away
It’s been the blackest day, it’s been the blackest day
All I hear is Billie Holiday
It’s all that I play
It’s all that I play

[Post-Chorus]
Because I’m going deeper and deeper
Harder and harder
Getting darker and darker
Looking for love
In all the wrong places
Oh my god
In all the wrong places
Oh my god

[Verse 2]
Carry me home, got my new car and my gun
Wind in my hair, holding your hand, listen to a song
Carry me home, don’t wanna talk about the things to come
Just put your hands up in the air, the radio on

[Pre-Chorus]
Cause there’s nothing for us to talk about
Like the future and those things
Cause there’s nothing for me to think about
Now that he’s gone, I can’t feel nothing

[Chorus]
Ever since my baby went away
It’s been the blackest day, it’s been the blackest day
All I hear is Billie Holiday
It’s all that I play
It’s all that I play

[Post-Chorus]
Because I’m going deeper and deeper
Harder and harder
Getting darker and darker
Looking for love
In all the wrong places
Oh my god
In all the wrong places
Oh my god

[Bridge]
You should’ve known better
Then to have, to let her
Get you under her spell of the weather
I got you where I want you
You’re deader than ever
And falling for forever
I’m playing head games with you
Got you where I want you
I got you, I got you
I got you where I want you now

[Chorus]
Ever since my baby went away
It’s been the blackest day, it’s been the blackest day
All I hear is Billie Holiday
It’s all that I play
It’s all that I play

[Outro]
It’s not one of those phases I’m going through
Or just a song, it’s not one of them
I’m on my own
On my own
On my own again
I’m on my own again
I’m on my own again
I’m on my own again

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4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,743: ‘The Blackest Day’ – Lana Del Rey

  1. Dana says:

    See, this is where I come back to my shoehorn theory. Today’s song makes your list because it appears on a favorite album that has a collection where all songs are good without one necessarily being a standout over others. This just doesn’t seem to be consistent with the stated premise of reflecting the best songs of the year.

    It’s a bit like trying to list the 20 best players in the NFL in a given year and looking at a team that had an outstanding year, perhaps even winning the Super Bowl, with a bunch of excellent players, but no stars and no one individual’s performance on the team rising head and shoulders above his teammates or even other players in the same position on other teams. Indeed, often such lists will recognize an outstanding player who had a great season on an otherwise mediocre or bad team, and that player will get more consideration for having done so well to be distinguishable on a team without great support.

    Anyway, I know that your frame of reference remains the album rather than the song, though I appreciate you making a greater effort to at least check out the billboard charts to find great songs that might not otherwise attach to favorite artists or great albums. How charmingly antiquated of you to cling to the album over the single in the era of iTunes.😄

  2. Clay says:

    My goal with the year-end song countdown is to reflect my year in music. So just like a film critic will list a summer blockbuster, an animated film and a foreign film in his top ten list in order to give a rounded view of the year in cinema, I want to represent the full view of the music I listened to in 2015..

    If I were strictly listing songs in order of greatness (not sure how that would be measured, but assume it can be), I’d end up with four or five songs from Lana Del Rey’s album on my top twenty. But that wouldn’t be very interesting… it would prevent me from showing appreciation for other songs and artists. So I pick a representative track from that album.

    Hamilton is another example. That whole soundtrack is wonderful. But I chose ‘My Shot’ as one of my songs of the year because it contains so many of the elements that make the musical great. Hamilton is that outstanding football team you mentioned, full of excellent players but no stars. No way I’m leaving Hamilton off of my year-end musical roundup, though. I vote for a team captain and give him a spot on the list.

  3. Peg says:

    She has a lovely voice, and is that winding hilly road in Los Angeles Mullholland Drive 🙂 ? Love the line “All I hear is Billie Holiday” It” all that I play “

  4. Dana says:

    I suppose the misnomer is in the name of the list–“Best Songs of 2015.” If it were, for example, Songs from Best Albums or Artists of 2015, then it would make more sense, with the further caveat being no repeat from the same artist or album.

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