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"Cola" (also known as "My Pussy Tastes Like Pepsi Cola" and registered as "Pussy") is a song by Lana Del Rey off her third studio EP and third major-label release, Paradise. The track was co-written with Rick Nowels, who also produced the track.
Del Rey revealed in an interview on November 13, 2012 with KIIS FM Radio that the song would be released as the second single off Paradise, but no further details or release dates were announced since and the release was scrapped. The single's scrapped artwork leaked on November 10, 2020. The song's official instrumental leaked on November 17, 2018.
A demo of the song has been confirmed by Del Rey herself. It has also been rumored that the track has a laptop demo. Both versions remains unleaked in full.
"Cola" received polarized reviews. The track was described as containing "fresh, is-she-serious? lyrics" in response to the controversial opening line - "my pussy tastes like Pepsi-Cola". Hindustan Times criticized the song snippet, saying it proved she was running out of ideas and that the song sounded similar to the other album tracks. Robert Copsey of Digital Spy noted that the hooks on "Cola" were polished, but did not compromise Del Rey's bold image. 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."
Del Rey performed the song live for the first time on the first date of the Paradise Tour on April 3, 2013, in Amnéville, France, as the first song in the setlist. "Cola" served as the opening song for the duration of the tour through 2013 to 2014, with the exception of the last six shows from October 6 to 18, 2014, where she performed "Cruel World" as the opening song instead. The song has since been included as part of the setlist for the 2015 Endless Summer Tour and the 2016 Festival Tour. When Del Rey performed the song live, she often alters the original lyrics by singing a repetition of: "We can work it out, work it real fine", or a close variation of that, to end the performance.
Controversy and retirement
During October 2017, film executive Harvey Weinstein was fired from his production company, The Weinstein Company, following numerous reports of sexual abuse from women in the film industry. Media brought Del Rey into the controversy through speculation that Weinstein was subject of the song "Cola", citing the line "Harvey’s in the sky with diamonds and he’s making me crazy". In an interview for MTV which was published on October 31, 2017, Del Rey stated that she would retire from performing the song live in response to the controversy. Regarding the track, Del Rey explained that the song was not directly written about Weinstein, but was written about a character based on both him and Harry Winston, whom she envisioned as a "benevolent diamond bestowing upon starlets visual". She further commented that, since learning about Weinstein's crimes, she finds the song sad and uncomfortable, and would no longer include it in any of her performances.
- Cola is also mentioned in "Us Against the World", "Serial Killer" and "Florida Kilos".
- Cherry pies are mentioned in "Betty Boop Boop", among other songs.
- "Harvey's in the sky with diamonds" is a similar lyric to "Lucy's in the sky with ice" from "Television Heaven". Both referenced from "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" which is a song by The Beatles.
- A "pretty baby" is mentioned in "Florida Kilos", "For K, Pt. 2" and the song of the same name.
- Vanilla ice cream is also mentioned in both "Dynamite" and "Paradise".
- Del Rey sings about decorating her neck with jewelry in "Raise Me Up (Mississippi South)".
- Del Rey also references her dad in "Is This Happiness", "Ride" and "Hope Is A Dangerous Thing For A Woman Like Me to Have — But I Have It".
- The phrase "come on" is also used in "Wolf T-Shirt", "Be My Daddy", "Put Me in a Movie" and "Heroin".
- Reference to "Ride" and "Pretty Baby".
- Skid Row is a neighborhood in L.A. known for being dangerous. Her wearing diamonds while being there might be used either ironically or metaphorically.
- Album version — 4:20
- Instrumental version — 4:19
- Clean version — 4:20
- Paradise Tour version — 6:42
Similar to the style of the monologue used in the introduction of the "Ride" music video, a monologue was recorded using the introduction of the "Cola" instrumental. The recording was later used in a promotional video used to accompany the April, 2013 edition of L'Officiel Paris, a French fashion magazine which features Del Rey as "Rosalita", Mexico's movie star queen. The monologue is a reading of Walt Whitman's poem "Song of Myself".
In addition to being used in the video for L'Officiel, it was also believed by fans that the monologue would be featured in a music video for "Cola", but no official video was ever announced or released.
At many of Del Rey's 2014 performances, an intro would be played before Del Rey performed "Cola". Since "Cola" was the first song to be played at most of her 2014 concerts, the piece served as an introduction to the concert and played before Del Rey walked on stage. It features a similar instrumental to "Cola" and different lyrics. Some fans refer to it as "Cruel World Intro" (not to be confused with "Cruel World").
- Note: these lyrics refer to the version that was played on June 28, 2014, at Glastonbury.
- Lana Del Rey — vocals, songwriting
- Rick Nowels — songwriting, production, keyboards, Juno bass, acoustic guitar, drums
- DK — co-production
- Kieron Menzies — recording, drum programming, mixing
- Chris Garcia & Jordan Stilwell — additional recording
- Patrick Warren — strings, glockenspiel, brass, organ, piano, synthesizer
- Tim Pierce — slide guitar
- Devrim Karaoglu — drums
- John Davis — mastering
- Published by EMI / R-Rated Music
- Administered by EMI April Music Inc. (ASCAP)
- Recorded at The Green Building, Santa Monica, United States
- Mastered at Metropolis Mastering, London, United Kingdom
|Ireland (Irish Singles Chart)||99|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||120|
|US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)||22|
- APRA|AMCOS title search lists "My Pussy Tastes Like Pepsi Cola" as an alias of "Cola" (APRA ID: GW43398940)
- MTV News (October 31, 2017). "Lana Del Rey Talks Next Music Video & Tour w/ Kali Uchis & Jhené Aiko". YouTube.