Summertime Sadness

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"Summertime Sadness"
Single by Lana Del Rey
from the album Born to Die
Released June 22, 2012 (2012-06-22)
Format CD single, digital download, 12"
Genre Trip hop
Length 4:25
Label Interscope
Writer(s) Lana Del Rey, Rick Nowels
  • Emile Haynie, Rick Nowels (album version)
  • Rick Nowels, Devrim Karaoglu (radio mix)
Lana Del Rey singles chronology
"Blue Jeans"
"Summertime Sadness"
"National Anthem"

"Summertime Sadness" is a song by American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey from her second studio album, Born to Die. It was released on June 22, 2012 by Interscope Records as the fourth single of the album. Charting across Europe, the single reached the top ten in Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. In the spring of 2013, "Summertime Sadness" became a number-one hit in Poland and Ukraine. Trap and house remixes of "Summertime Sadness" helped Del Rey break into the US Hot Dance Club Songs chart. That chart is where Del Rey's song became a modest hit and marked her first foray into the chart. On the accompanied Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart, the single gave Del Rey her first US number-one single in August 2013.[1] Earlier in 2012, the song also managed to become a rock hit in the US.

In the summer of 2013, a remixed version of the track by Cedric Gervais was released to American contemporary hit radio and helped the single become a sleeper hit,[2] debuting it at 72 on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming the highest charting single of her career in that country with a peak of 6. Switzerland and Austria gave "Summertime Sadness" a gold certification; it reached platinum status in Germany and became a top forty year-end hit. The record also reached number 4 in the UK Singles Chart. It joined BBC Radio 1's and BBC Radio 2's playlists. Gervais' remixed version won a 2014 Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical.

A music video for the trip hop[3] song features two lovers, one played by Jaime King and the other played by Del Rey. As the storyline progresses, both characters commit suicide by jumping from perilous heights. Cinematography was handled primarily by King's husband, Kyle Newman. The video gained success on video-hosting website, YouTube, and circulated through social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. In general, critics lauded the artistry of the single's music video, comparing it to Instagram. The musical arrangement was composed by Del Rey's long-time collaborators Emile Haynie and Rick Nowels, with Nowels and Del Rey writing the lyrics.

In April 2013, the Dutch symphonic metal band Within Temptation released a cover version of the song on their album, The Q-Music Sessions.[4] In December of that year, Miley Cyrus covered the song on her Jingle Ball sets.[5]

Background and composition[edit]

A 26 second sample of the song's final chorus, in which Del Rey states, "Kiss me hard before you go/That baby you're the best"[6]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Summertime Sadness" was released as a digital download on June 22, 2012 in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.[7][8][9] Written by Lana Del Rey and her long-time collaborator, Rick Nowels, the record was produced by Nowels and Emile Haynie. "Summertime Sadness" is a trip hop ballad[10] with the lyrics, "Baby you da best…kiss me hard before you go."[11] Music journalist Amy Sciarretto pinned "Summertime Sadness" as a song among an album of shoegazing moments.[12] Various club remixes of the song were created, including one by Mikky Ekko. Spin said Ekko's trap remix, "teases us with a little stoney dubwise bubble, and then dunks the entire thing into a glistening pool of purple promethazine goo. The only sharp sounds come from the barrage of skittering beats, plus some space lasers and the like."[13] "Summertime Sadness"'s Adam Freeland remix employed house beats and strong synthesizers that creates a "dazzling dance floor production."[14]

Critical reception[edit]

In his track-by-track review for Billboard magazine Andrew Hampp wrote about "Summertime Sadness" that "the pouty title alone drew giggles at Del Rey's Bowery gig, but the song itself proves to be one of the more durable tracks here even if its lyrics start to get redundant ('Kiss me hard before you go... That baby you're the best')".[11] Amy Sciarretto of PopCrush noted that "on an album marked by shoe gazing moments, [the song] is Lana Del Rey at her most head down. But even though there is a palpable damaged girl in her voice, she commands attention with her lazy delivery."[12] Los Angeles Times named it among the best tracks on the album along with "Video Games" and "Dark Paradise".[15]

Music video[edit]

The role of Lana Del Rey's girlfriend in the music video is played by Jaime King, whose husband, Kyle Newman directed the video.

The music video for "Summertime Sadness" was filmed in April and May 2012. It was directed by Kyle Newman and Spencer Susser.[16] Newman's wife, actress Jaime King, stars along with Del Rey in the video,[17] which tells the sad love story of two women, one of whom ends her life.[18] King said about the video that, "It's about not being able to live without the one you love, friend or lover it doesn't matter, that's whatever you want it to be."[19] Actor Alex Pettyfer reportedly also helped out on set as a production assistant.[18]


The music video opens with a phone call from a woman telling her lover, "Remember, i'll always love you, bye". After the phone call ends, Lana sings the opening lyrics, "kiss me hard before you go/SummertimeSadness/I just wanted you to know/That baby you the best", before commiting suicide by jumping off a cliff near a waterfall. As she does so, flashbacks are seen.

The song tells the love story about two women (played by Lana Del Rey and Jamie King). The two women, once so in love in their cherished relationship, have emotionally drifted apart from each other by the end of that summer, the days of their romance long gone. As Jamie drives her lover back to her home, while the verse sings, "Telephone lines above/Sizzling like a snare/Honey, I'm on fire/I feel it everywhere/Nothing scares me anymore", Lana in the passenger seat, notices Jamie in tears, and expresses concerned for her lover's sadness throughout the ride back to their home.

In the next scene, as the verse sings, "I got my red dress on tonight/Dancing in the dark in the pale moonlight/Got my bad baby by my heavenly side/High heels off/I'm feeling alive", Jamie, wearing her red dress, finds the nearest bridge in the city, climbs over the railing and stands on the edge of the bridge in tears. As she prepares to take her life, she has flashbacks of her and Del Rey in happier times, before their breakup. Unable move on in her life without her lover, Jamie takes one step off the bridge and falls to her death below. The next scenes depict a statue of Jesus Christ, Del Rey looking onto the distance after the suicidal phone call and Jamie's perilous fall from the bridge, culminating with what appears to be a phone smashing into pieces as it hits the floor, hinting at Del Rey realizing that her lover has committed suicide before she could ever apologize.

During the lyrics, "I think i'll miss you forever/like the stars miss the sun in the morning sky", Lana, mourning her relationship and the death of her lover, walks pass the hedges on a hill and toward the edge of a cliff overlooking a waterfall, as she reminisces of her and her lover's lives once together before her sudden death. Feeling responsible for her lover's suicide and being unable to go on in life without her lover too, Lana spreads her arms wide mimicing the statue of Jesus Christ seen earlier in the video, and jumps from the cliff, falling perilously onto the abyss below.

During the lyrics, "I got that summertime/Summertime sadness/Su-su summertime/Summertime sadness", the scenes depict both Lana falling from the cliff onto the abyss below to her death and her previous lover, Jamie falling from the bridge onto the abyss below to her death. During the end of the music video, the smoke gathers as flashbacks show both women before their deaths, Lana turns to see Jamie and smiles, as both lovers are seen pouting and glancing seductively over their shoulders towards one another. As both women embrace one last time, the smoke in the air gathers throughout and the song fade outs, with flashbacks of the women's lives together are depicted once more before. It's shown after both suicide's and the women bidding goodbye one last time, an image of Lana (presumably her ghost) is seen walking down a long road towards the camera in the present time, the same road where her and her lover walked together prior to their breakup and their lives ending.

The radio edit of the video was released on July 20, 2012, in Germany on ClipFish.[20][dead link] The same day, the video with the album version of the song was released worldwide on Del Rey's official YouTube channel.[21] As of January, 2014 the music video has gained more than 123 million views on video-hosting website, YouTube.[21] It garnered 4 times more of the views "National Anthem" managed to gain in its first full month of release. For that week, Lana Del Rey gained 69,000 new followers on both Facebook and Twitter after "Summertime Sadness" caused a 32% increase in weekly video views for her official YouTube channel. Combined with the views "Born to Die" netted, Del Rey reemerged on Billboard's Social 50 chart at number 42.[22]

The video received generally favourable reviews from critics. Crystal Bell, a blogger for Huffington Post, called the video an "ode to Instagram," and compared it to Del Rey's previous videos.[18] Carrie Battan of Pitchfork Media wrote, that "it's certainly no seven-minute re-enactment of the life of the Kennedy family, but it still offers the trademark LDR touch. Instagram-like footage, very forlorn faces, possible suicide attempts, and a very special guest."[23] Jenna Hally Rubenstein, of MTV's Buzzworthy blog, considers that the coral-smoked scenes are Del Rey in the afterlife, post-suicide, saying it may be unlikely as, "the clip closes with an image of Lana and her ghost walking alone down an empty road." Further, she said, "Sad, sad times, y'all. But then again what else did you expect from a Lana video? Sunshine, glitter and ice cream cones? Probably not."[24] Brennan Carley of Billboard noted that "keeping the buzz alive while sticking with sepia-tones and a healthy dose of melodramatics, Lana Del Rey probes a crumbling relationship in the music video [...] the video traces the women's relationship with spliced together film bits - much like the effects used in her earlier efforts - and foggy scenes of the stars pouting and glancing seductively over their shoulders."[25] Spin magazine writer Marc Hogan found that the video recalled Del Rey's breakout video for "Video Games". He added, that "more provocative, though, is the hint of romance-gone-sour between Del Rey and the character played by actress Jaime King. Because this is a Lana Del Rey video, it's not spoiling anything to say there's a Thelma and Louise-like twist."[26] Entertainment website Spinner called the visual "weird. It's beautifully shot, sepia-soaked and melodramatic. The singer's bestie, played by the very lovely actress Jamie King, is also pretty sad about summer ending."[27] Tyler Monroe, writing for AUX, called the video "indistinguishable nothingness", adding "I don’t think Lana Del Rey is even trying anymore."[28]

Live performances[edit]

In 2013, Del Rey performed the trip hop version of "Summertime Sadness" at the Irving Plaza, along with "Million Dollar Man", while drenched in purple lights.[29] New York Times writer Bradley Sterns described Lana Del Rey's vocal style during the Irving Plaza performance as "lounge singer crooning".[29] Along with "Million Dollar Man" and "Summertime Sadness", Del Rey also sang "Video Games", "Born to Die", "Lolita", and "Without You".[29]

Cedric Gervais remix[edit]

"Summertime Sadness (Remix)"
Single by Lana Del Rey vs. Cedric Gervais
Released July 11, 2013 (2013-07-11)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2013
Genre House[30]
Length 3:34
Label Spinnin'
Ministry of Sound Australia
Producer(s) Cedric Gervais
Lana Del Rey singles chronology
  • "Summertime Sadness (Remix)"
  • (2013)
Cedric Gervais singles chronology
  • "Summertime Sadness (Remix)"
  • (2013)

In January 2013, a remix by Cedric Gervais was commissioned for the record label Universal Germany. However, the remix was initially turned down by Interscope and Polydor Records, Lana Del Rey's record labels in America and the UK.[31] In the spring of 2013, the remix quickly surged to number one on Beatport, resulting in several radio programmers and DJs, such as Pete Tong, working the song into their radio station's rotation. BBC Radio 1 added the remix to its playlist, helping it to gain popularity around the world. Several Sirius XM radio stations began playing it, and Interscope decided to push at Top 40 radio in the United States. After positive feedback, Interscope agreed to release the remix.[32]

Hesitant to accept requests for remixes from other artists, Gervais immediately consented to assisting Del Rey with remixing "Summertime Sadness".[2] "To me," he said, "it is not about the money, so I turned down a lot of people. But Lana Del Rey came in. I didn't even ask how much money I just said please send me the vocals right away and I did the track in one day. I wasn't thinking if it was going to be a hit or not, I just love and respect the artist that she is."[2] Satisfied with the finished product, Del Rey's team commissioned Gervais to produce a mix version of "Young and Beautiful".[2]

The decision to release the new version of "Summertime Sadness" on the DJ's primary label Spinnin' Records was made to expand the song's audience to Gervais' EDM fanbase, when the man responsible for the track, John Ehmann, heard 60,000 people singing along to the song at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. Months later, the house track was a sleeper hit, peaking at number 6 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.[30] "In every country I’m going to, I hear my remix on the radio," the DJ commented on the song's success. "I heard it on the MTV Awards while they're introducing Selena Gomez. It motivates me. I started a long time ago in the business with the passion of being a DJ and all of the sudden I make a track like this I get even more excited and motivated. It opens the door to so many things."[2] Becoming the most successful work of his career at the time, "Summertime Sadness" unlocked a plethora of opportunities for Gervais, including a contract for the release of a full-length album that features many high-profile dance singers, Rick Nowels (co-writer of "Summertime Sadness"'s lyrics) assisting him.[2]

Gervais' interpretation of "Summertime Sadness" received a video treatment.[30] The majority of the video includes the same footage of the original version produced by Kyle Newman.[30] Sam Lansky of Idolator described the remake as being "...stitched together with familiar glitchy footage of Lana in her conventional Tumblrwave style."[30] Expanding, he said: "the euphoric house production contrasts with the melancholy aesthetic in that way that feels quintessentially Lana and, well, if nothing else, the track is straight fire."[30] Further, Lansky remarked on the audio, stating: "The gloomy cut has received a proper single treatment" from Cedric Gervais who metamorphosed "Lana"s lachrymose original into a dancefloor stomper".[30]

In June 2014, a portion of the remix was used in a TV spot for Investigation Discovery's summer program line-up. The promo was seen during the season premiere of Swamp Murders.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits for "Summertime Sadness" taken directly from Born to Die album liner.[36]

  • Lead vocals – Lana Del Rey
  • Producers – Emile Haynie
  • Co-producers  – Rick Nowels
  • Lyrics – Lana Del Rey, Rick Nowels
  • Label – Interscope Records
  • Strings arranged and conduction – Larry Gold
  • Flute – Dan Heath
  • Additional strings, guitar, and keyboards – Patrick Warren
  • Additional strings – Rick Nowels
  • Additional pads – Devrim Karaoglu
  • Mixer – Dan Grech Marguerat
  • Assistant mixer – Duncan Fuller


Weekly charts[edit]

Year-end charts[edit]


Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Germany[8] June 22, 2012 Digital download Universal
Germany July 13, 2012 CD single[91]
12" – Remix EP[92]
United States[93] July 1, 2013 Mainstream radio (Cedric Gervais remix) Interscope
United Kingdom[94] July 10, 2013
United States[95][96] July 11, 2013 Digital download (Cedric Gervais remix)
July 22, 2013 Rhythmic radio
Finland[97] July 23, 2013 Digital download (Cedric Gervais remix) Polydor


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  101. ^ "Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey vs. Cedric Gervais) [Cedric Gervais Remix] [Radio Edit] - Single (iTunes Sweden)". Apple Inc. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  102. ^ "Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey vs. Cedric Gervais) [Cedric Gervais Remix] [Radio Edit] - Single (iTunes Denmark)". Apple Inc. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 

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