Background and Recording
"Lacrymosa" was written by Amy Lee and Terry Balsamo and produced by Dave Fortman. David Campbell, who has previously arranged music for the band and worked with them at the Billboard Music Awards, led a 22-piece orchestra for the song. The Millennium Choir performed the Lacrimosa sequence ("Lacrimosa dies illa Qua resurget ex favilla Judicandus homo reus. Huic ergo parce, Deus: Pie Jesu Domine, Dona eis requiem. Amen.") and backing vocals throughout the song. It was recorded in a chapel near Seattle, Washington. In a number of interviews, Lee revealed that everyone asked about a collaboration between her and Mozart.She further stated that she always wanted to make Lacrimosa from Mozart's Requiem a metal song, later adding that The Open Door was "the time for that, for trying things I hadn't been brave enough to try before." In an interview with VH1 News, Lee further explained the inspiration behind the song "I saw Amadeus when I was nine years old and fell in love with Mozart. The part of Mozart's Requiem called "Lacyrmosa" [sic] is my favorite piece of music ever. I always wished we could cover it, but with programming and guitars and make it cool. It's our moment to try all the things I wanted to and couldn't, so I started messing with it in Protools. Terry wrote some riffs and turned it into this awesome metal epic."
Compostion, Music and Lyrics
According to the sheet music published by Alfred Publishing on musicnotes.com, "Lacrymosa" is an alternative metal, gothic rock and post-grunge song set in a common time and performed in slow tempo of 48 beats per minute. Although the original Lacrimosa sequence was performed in D-minor, it was transposed into E-minor by Lee and Terry Balsamo. The instruments in the song are piano, guitar, violins and drums. Lee's vocal range from the note of B3 and E5; the SATB choir ranges from the note of B2 to E4. "Lacrymosa" has a "violin intro, synth worth of a Nine Inch Nails album, and Omen-esque choral sections that are very haunting."
According to Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone, in "Lacrymosa" Lee is "sobbing hysterically over a grand piano." According to the IGN reviewer, Ed Thompson, the song "takes the trademark Evanescence sound - Lee's celestial voice, and adds her brooding lyrics 'I can't change who I am, not this time, I won't lie to keep you near me and in this short life, there's no time to waste on giving up. My love wasn't enough'.". Danielle Baudhuin from The Oshkosh West Index stated that "Lee's astounding classical vocals are displayed with songs as the eerie 'Like You,' and 'Lacrymosa'." She said that these two songs feature slower beats, and are more "piano-themed melodies, followed shortly by the power guitar section of the song." But she said that the song was very similar to "Haunted" from Fallen adding, "creepy background choir vocals and violins send listeners into a gothic Cathedral-like setting." Jim Farber from nydailynews.com said that "Lacrymosa" will remind older listeners the '70s art-rock horror Renaissance. Andree Farias from Christianity Today said "[But] the song has nothing to do with Lucy and her escapades into the land of Aslan. Rather, it's just another bitter break-up anthem: 'And you can blame it on me / Just set your guilt free, honey / I don't want to hold you back now love.'"
"Lacrymosa" received positive to mixed reviews from music critics. Bill Lamb from About.com put the song in the list of Top Tracks on The Open Door alongside with "Sweet Sacrifice", "Call Me When You're Sober", "Your Star" and "Good Enough". He added "Elements such as the connection of the song 'Lacrymosa' to the Mozart 'Requiem' movement of the same name, or intense exploration of the benefits and costs of 'Lithium' give hints that Evanescence could add intellectual heft to their obvious command of emotion." Ed Thompson from IGN called "Lacrymosa" the "most memorable track" in the whole album. Don Kaye of the website Blabbermouth.net said that while the song was an "interesting experiment" it came "across as more of a stab at artsiness with its strings and choirs than a real song."
An editor from The New York Times said that "Lacrymosa" is grandiose even by the album’s standards. Sputnikmusic said that the song is the best on the album and gave the song a grade of 4.5 along with "Good Enough", adding that on the last two songs the album stops to be boring because of the variations. Simon Cosyns from The Sun concluded that "song titles such as 'Weight of the World', 'Lose Control' and 'Lacrymosa' tell you it’s not a bed of roses, but there is a positive streak running through The Open Door". On Postmedia News it was stated that Lee "achieves stunning notes on 'Lacrymosa', which employs a haunting choir". Jordan Reimer from The Daily Princetonian praised Lee's melodies and said that "Cloud Nine" and "Lacrymosa" were her best two arrangements. John Hood from Miami New Times made a story, "'Call Me When You're Sober' sent a man away, 'Lacrymosa' kept him there, and 'Cloud Nine' told the clueless dolt why he would no longer ever be welcomed back. Joost Melis from the Dutch website FOK! compared "Lacrymosa" with song of the bands Within Temptation and Nightwish. A writer of The Independent put the song on his list of "Download This" from The Open Door.
Brendan Butler from Cinema Blend was critical saying that "the worst song on The Open Door, i[t’]s a toss up between 'Lacrymosa' with its abominable choir and the obnoxious 'Lose Control,' which features Amy crying for about five minutes." A reviewer from Altsounds noted that the weakest tracks on the album are "Snow White Queen", "Lacrymosa", "Like You", and "Lose Control" because "the vocal arraignments on those tracks just do not flow with the lyrics and music combined therefore making them annoying because [Lee's] voice gets a bit unsettling and can only be tolerable to a certain extent." Glenn Gamboa from The Providence Journal concluded that "maybe the over-the-top dramatics of 'Lacrymosa' and piano ballad 'Your Star' will be seen as so-bad-they’re-good."
Controversy and usage in media
In a 2004 interview with MTV News, Amy Lee revealed that she was composing music for the film, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. She also revealed that the producers of the movie offered her a small role, "They were like, 'Do you want to do a cameo?' And I was like, 'Hell yeah! Let me die. I want to be somebody who gets murdered.' So I don't think that's going to happen." She later revealed that "Lacrymosa" was originally written for the film, but was mysteriously not included. However, according to producers, neither Lee or the band were approached to compose music for the film. Another song was also written for the movie, but it was rejected because of its dark sound. Lee went on to state that it was just "more great stuff [for The Open Door]".
The word lacrymosa means "related to sadness". The track title is also the scientific name for a species of moth known as Catocala lacrymosa, also known as the 'Tearful Underwing'. The species of moth are featured throughout The Open Door's cover booklet and on the cover of the "Sweet Sacrifice" radio promo CD. A clip of "Lacrymosa" was used in the video teaser for The Open Door.
Out on your own
Cold and alone again
Can this be what you really wanted, baby?
Blame it on me
Set your guilt free
Nothing can hold you back now
Now that you're gone
I feel like myself again
Grieving the things I can't repair and willing
To let you blame it on me
And set your guilt free
I don't want to hold you back now, love
I can't change who I am
Not this time, I won't lie to keep you near me
And in this short life
There's no time to waste on giving up
My love wasn't enough
And you can blame it on me
Just set your guilt free, honey
I don't want to hold you back now, love