Follow TV Tropes


Music / Paula Cole

Go To
Where do I put this fire?
This bright red feeling...
This tigerlily down my throat?
It wants to grow 20-feet-tall...

One of the more prominent female singer-song writers who gained popularity during the 90s, Paula Cole (born April 5, 1968) is probably best-known for the songs "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?" and "I Don't Want to Wait", the latter song which would become the theme to Dawson's Creek. Her songs are musically lush, but tend towards lyrically bleakness with a dark bent.

Born in Rockport, Massachusetts to Stephanie, a visual artist, and Jim Cole, a polka-playing entomologist. She has a sister named Irene. She lived in Rockport with her parents, where she attended elementary school. She was an active and popular student in middle school and high school, holding offices as class president and student council member. This would become important later.

Political with an overtly leftist bent (except on her Grammy winning second album, which largely avoids political tropes), many of Cole's songs deal explicitly with such topics as feminism, racism and discrimination, and more general themes of social justice.



  • Harbinger (1994)
  • This Fire (1996)
  • Amen (1999)
  • Greatest Hits: Postcards from East Oceanside (2006)
  • Courage (2007)
  • Ithaca (2010)

I don't want to wait/For our tropes to be over:

  • Album Title Drop: "Tiger":
    "Where do I put this fire?"
  • All Men Are Perverts: Maybe not all, but certainly all sex-starved high school teachers.
  • Bookends: "Tiger" closes with the opening verse backmasked.
  • Chained to a Railway: Played deadly and heartbreakingly straight.
  • Class Representative: The (probably auto-biographical) protagonist of Bethlehem struggles with her identity as one of these.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: "Amen for NASA, The NSA/It's all a front anyway"
  • High School: "Bethlehem".
  • Inner City School: "Latonya"
  • Intercourse with You: "Carmen", "Feelin' Love" (which even has the word "tits"), and most explicitly "Chiaroscuro". "Oh John" is slightly less direct, but it is basically just a song listing off the places she and the titular man got it on.
  • Advertisement:
  • Mayfly–December Romance: The theme of the video for "I Don't Wanna Wait", as she portrays an immortal who takes and loses a series of lovers as the centuries roll on.
  • The '90s: Aside from being most closely associated with this decade (and not having done much of note in the decade since), Cole's song "Amen" invokes many of the cultural tropes and public figures of the decade.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Throwing Stones", "Tiger" and "Feelin' Love", for a few example.
  • Protest Song: "Watch the Woman's Hands" sounds like a 60s feminist protest song, but the snaky "My Hero, Mr. President!" plays this trope far straighter.
  • Rape as Drama: "She Can't Feel Anything Anymore", probably.
  • Small Town Boredom: "Bethlehem".
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid
    • Danny in "She Can't Feel Anything Anymore".
    • The singer on "Tiger" invokes this.