Writing and inspiration
When talking about the song in a 2012 interview, Del Rey stated: "People always said 'oh well people will come out of the woodwork and change their mind about you, they'll start to like you because you're on the radio' and it is true, but I don't mind, cause I'd rather have people be nice to me, so I liked it. I don't really care why people are nice to me, I just like it when it's easier".
Del Rey went on to explain when she wrote "Radio" by stating that she wrote it when a guy she used to know came back into her life, "so I was like now my life is sweet like cinnamon, cause he came back".
Del Rey began performing the song live on the 2011 leg of the Born to Die Tour, to preview the song before the song was officially released. The song has since been included on the setlist for the 2012 leg of the Born to Die Tour and the 2014 leg of the Paradise Tour. Del Rey performed the song live for the first time in almost 4 years on January 26, 2018, in State College, Pennsylvania at the LA to the Moon Tour.
- The American dream is also referenced in "Damn You" and "Without You", among other songs.
- Cinnamon is also referenced in "Summer of Sam" and "Cinnamon Girl".
- The phrase "sing it to me" is used in "Beautiful Player".
- The lyric "how do you like me now?" is also used in "Get Drunk". This lyric might be a reference to the song "How Do You Like Me Now?" by Toby Keith, a song with a similar themes containing lyrics such as "I couldn't make you love me, but I always dreamed of living in your radio, how do you like me now?".
- Reference to "Paradise", a phrase commonly used in Del Rey's music.
- Having a "sweet" life is also a topic in "Without You" and "Dark but Just a Game".
- Mention of a radio can be found in "Put the Radio On", "Roll with Me (On the Radio), "Terrence Loves You", and "Tomorrow Never Came".
- Album version — 3:34
- Instrumental version — 3:33
- Demo version — 3:31
- Clean version — 3:34
- Paradise Tour version — 3:37
- Lana Del Rey — vocals, songwriting
- Justin Parker — songwriting, additional production
- Emile Haynie — production, keyboards, guitar, drums
- Larry Gold — strings arrangement and conduction
- Steve Tirpak — strings assistance
- Dan Grech-Marguerat — mixing
- Duncan Fuller — mixing assistance
- John Davis — mastering
- Published by EMI / Sony ATV (ASCAP)
- Mixed at Miloco's Engine Room, London, United Kingdom
- Mastered at Metropolis Mastering, London, United Kingdom