"California" (previously referred to as "You Don't Ever Have To") is a song by Lana Del Rey from her sixth studio album Norman Fucking Rockwell!. It was co-written with Zach Dawes and produced by Del Rey herself, Dawes and Jack Antonoff.
Del Rey posted a snippet of the song on Instagram on April 3, 2019. On July 30, 2019, fans discovered the official title was "California" after using Shazam to identify the snippet from Instagram.
It has been confirmed that the track belonged to a scrapped album with The Last Shadow Puppets along with the songs "Thunder" and "Dope." A snippet of the demo version leaked on August 27, 2020. A second snippet leaked on September 9, 2020.
- California is directly referred in a lot of her songs including "Fuck It I Love You", "Freak", "How to Disappear", "Angels Forever, Forever Angels", "Shades of Cool", and "On & On & On".
- Trying to be stronger is also a topic in "Venice Bitch".
- The phrase "I'll catch you on the flipside" is a direct reference to "Flipside".
- The lyric "Your favorite liquor off the top-shelf" is similar to "'Cause her liquor's top shelf" in "Carmen".
- Del Rey also counts "One, two, three, four" in "Summertime Sadness" and "Push Me Down".
- The phrase "I'll pick you up" also appears in "Happiness Is a Butterfly".
- Fast cars are also mentioned in "Video Games" and "Children of the Bad Revolution".
- War is also mentioned in "Ride", "Get Free" and "When The World Was At War Before We Kept Dancing".
- Dancing 'till dawn is also mentioned in "Prom Song (Gone Wrong)".
- Weather is also mentioned in "Shades Of Cool", "The Blackest Day" and "Heroin".
- Del Rey describing her partner as who is scared to lose alludes in "Honeymoon".
- A party is also mentioned in "Party Girl", "Art Deco", "Motel 6", "Thunder" and "Violet Bent Backwards Over The Grass".
- Blues are mentioned in "Terrence Loves You", "Love" and "Tired Of Singing The Blues".
- Being strong and going fast are mentioned in "Never Let Me Go".
- A letter is also mention in "Lust for Life".
- Album version — 5:06
- Instrumental version — 5:02
- Lana Del Rey — songwriting, additional production, vocals, programming, synthesizer, horns
- Zachary Dawes — songwriting, production, piano
- Jack Antonoff — production, engineering, mixing
- Laura Sisk — engineering, mixing
- Jonathan Sher — assistant engineering
- John Rooney — assistant engineering
- John Congleton — engineering
- Dean Reid — engineering, mixing, bass guitar
- Kieron Menzies — engineering, mixing, synthesizer, mellotron
- Nicolas Jodoin — assistant engineering
- Travis Pavur — assistant engineering
- Loren Humphrey — drums
- Darren Weiss — drums
- Mike Riddleberger — drums
- Sean Hutchinson — drums
- Evan Weiss — guitar
- Benji Lysaght — guitar
- Tyler Parkford — hammond B3
- Woozy Biff — harp
- Mikey Freedom Hart — mellotron, piano
- Adam Ayan — mastering
- Chris Gehringer — mastering
- Will Quinnell — assistant mastering
- Mastered at Sterling Sound
- Recorded at Valentine Recording Studios, Los Angeles, United States / Hampstead Studios, London, United Kingdom / Conway Recording Studios, Los Angeles, United States / Electric Lady Studios, New York, United States
- Mixed at Conway Recording Studios, Los Angeles, United States