Cola (Lana Del Rey song)

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Song by Lana Del Rey
from the album Paradise
  • Rick Nowels
  • DK

"Cola" is a song by American singer and songwriter Lana Del Rey, taken from her third extended play, Paradise (2012), and the reissue of her debut studio album, Born to Die: The Paradise Edition (2012). "Cola" first appeared in a teaser trailer posted to her official YouTube account as a snippet. The lyrics were considered controversial, causing major media outlets to respond.


"Cola" was written by Elizabeth Grant and Rick Nowels, with Grant writing lyrics for the song. When Del Rey was asked about the origin of the lyrics, she explained: "My boyfriend [Barrie-James O'Neill] is Scottish, he deems American girls very exotic. He once told me: "You American girls walk around as if your pussies tasted like Pepsi-Cola, as if you'd wrap yourself into an American flag to sleep." He deems us all very patriotic."[1][2] It was produced by Nowels, with co-production handled by the production group DK. The arrangement consists of drum machines programmed by Kieron Menzies, who was also recording engineer, real drums performed by Devrim Karaoglu and Nowels, keyboards, Juno bass and acoustic guitar also played by Nowels, slide guitar performed by Tim Pierce, and strings, glockenspiel, brass, organ, electric guitar, piano and synthesizers played by Patrick Warren. The song was recorded at The Green Building in Santa Monica, with Chris Garcia and Jordan Stilwell doing additional recording. John Davis finally mastering the track at Metropolis Mastering in London.[3] The song was at one stage referred to under the title of "Pussy" according to registrations at the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Harry Fox Agency.[4][5]

Following the release of "Ride" on September 25, 2012, Del Rey uploaded a trailer containing snippets of the songs from the new Paradise EP and Paradise Edition of Born to Die.[6] In the clip, she sings, "My pussy tastes like Pepsi-Cola/My eyes are wide like cherry pies."[7][8][9] In the trailer and first edition of the new track listing, "Cola" is referred to under its alternative title of "Pussy".[10] Yet on the final versions of the Paradise EP and Born to Die - Paradise Edition it is listed as only "Cola".[6][7] On November 14, 2012, Digital Spy announced that Del Rey would be releasing the song as the EP's second single.[11] Defending the track, she said that her record label had reservations about releasing it.[12]

After Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment and assault allegations gained widespread public notoriety in 2017, there was some speculation that the lyric "Harvey's in the sky with diamonds" was a reference to Weinstein's alleged illicit sexual activities involving female stars. In response, Del Rey cut the song from her setlist on her LA to the Moon Tour, stating she did have "a Harvey Weinstein/Harry Winston-type of character in mind" when she wrote the song.[13][14]

Critical reception[edit]

"Cola" received polarized reviews. "Fresh" and "is-she-serious?" have been some of the reactions to the lyrics included on "Cola".[15] Hindustan Times criticized the song snippet, saying it proved she was running out of ideas and that the song sounded strangely similar to the other album tracks.[16] Robert Copsey of Digital Spy noted that the hooks on "Cola" were polished, but did not compromise Del Rey's bold image.[17] Noticing how the other tracks on Paradise sound rhythmically similar, Slant Magazine said: "Cola" is the opposite, pushing Del Rey's pop-art take on signifier-addled femme fatality too far into the realm of cheekiness, but also shattering a persona that already exists inside a hall of mirrors."[18]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song first charted in Ireland, landing at number 99 before the single's official release date was even announced.[19] The song debuted on the United Kingdom singles chart at number 120 in the week ending on 18 November 2012.[20] With the debut of Paradise, various tracks on the EP charted on Billboard's Top Rock Songs chart, among them was "Cola", ranking at 22—her highest performance on that chart at the time. Just below "Cola" was "American" at 29 and "Ride" at 30.[21]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak
France (SNEP)[22] 71
Ireland (Irish Singles Chart)[23] 99
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[20] 120
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)[21] 22


  1. ^ Del Rey, Lana (January 4, 2013). ""Ich spiele keine Lolita-Rolle"" (Interview). Interviewed by Jurgen Ziemer. Die Zeit. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  2. ^ Del Rey, Lana (July 24, 2014). "18 Things You Learn After Two Long Days With Lana Del Rey" (Interview). Interviewed by Brian Hiatt. Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 3, 2014. ... He was talking about American girls, his vision of American girls was that all their pussies tasted like Pepsi-Cola, and that they were such a dream. ...'
  3. ^ "Paradise, Lana Del Rey, Music CD". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
  4. ^ "Work ID: 884495151/ISWC: T9128180687". ASCAP. 2012. Archived from the original on March 6, 2013. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  5. ^ "HFA Song Code: P72741". Harry Fox Agency. 2012. Archived from the original on October 3, 2012. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Kaufman, Gil. "Lana Del Rey's Paradise Edition Of Debut Features Eight New Songs". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Lipshutz, Jason. "Lana Del Rey Releases 'Ride' Single From 'Born To Die' Deluxe Edition". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  8. ^ "Lana Del Rey 'The Paradise Edition' Sampler: 6 Lyrics From Singer's New Disc". The Huffington Post. AOL. 24 September 2012. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  9. ^ Battan, Carrie. "Listen to a New Lana Del Rey Song, "Ride"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  10. ^ "Lana Del Rey debuts new single 'Ride'". NME. IPC Media. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  11. ^ Corner, Lewis. "Lana Del Rey confirms new single 'Cola' - listen". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  12. ^ Copsey, Robert. "Lana Del Rey defends controversial 'p**sy Cola' lyric". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  13. ^ "Lana Del Rey says Harvey Weinstein-inspired track 'Cola' to be retired". Fox News. 2017-11-02. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  14. ^ "Today in Entertainment: Dustin Hoffman accused of inappropriate behavior by a second woman; Tyrese Gibson says he's OK after emotional video". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  15. ^ Rosen, Genevieve. "Lana Del Rey releases afterthought". Stuff. Haymarket Publishing. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  16. ^ "Lana Del Rey floats latest album sampler". Hindustan Times. HT Media. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  17. ^ Copsey, Robert. "Lana Del Rey: 'Paradise' - EP review". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  18. ^ Cataldo, Jesse. "Lana Del Rey Paradise". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  19. ^ "Top 100 Singles - Week Ending 15th November 2012". IRMA. Archived from the original on 16 November 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  20. ^ a b " CLUK Update 24.11.2012 (wk46)". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  21. ^ a b "Lana Del Rey - Chart History - Rock Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  22. ^ " – Lana Del Rey – Cola" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  23. ^ ">> IRMA << Irish Chart – Top 100 Singles – Week Ending 15th November 2012". Irish Singles Chart. Irish Recording Music Association. Archived from the original on November 22, 2012.

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