This past Friday, girl power anthem “Don’t Call Me Angel,”officially dropped. The track, written for the upcoming “Charlie’s Angels” reboot, is dominated mainly by the vocals of Ariana Grande with features from pop icons Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey. Reviews thus far have been mixed; however, the pop song has been performing extraordinarily well on the charts and is reportedly “heading straight for number one.” The song’s success is most likely due to its big name singers and recently released music video, which transform what could be a brief radio-friendly bop into a legendary collaboration.
In trendy, Billie Eilish fashion, the track begins with an off-kilter beat reminiscent of sixties horror. Its resounding spookiness is offset with the universally recognized voices of Ariana Grande in the opening and later Miley Cyrus, who seem, in brief, pissed. One of the main joys of listening to the song is the digestion of its cryptic lyrics, topical given the latest news of Cyrus’s divorce. Many fans have found success connecting ties from the song’s content to the Instagram comments of the singer’s ex-husband, Liam Hemsworth. In all, Cyrus’s verse is the best and most authentically performed — if a bit awkward paired with Grande’s wannabe R&B stylings.
The lead singer of the makeshift girl group, Ariana Grande resorts to her usual habit of appropriation with lyrics such as “you know we fly” and “keep my name out ya mouth.” If cancel culture has not ended her career yet, however, we should expect to hear more tracks from the singer in the future. Aside from the more uncomfortable lyrics, Grande hits the notes she needs to — with gusto. The song is most suited for her style, and as such her vocals are the most fitting.
Lana Del Rey’s bridge hits the most heavenly but comes across as incompatible to the listener. A jolting indie departure from the rest of the song’s hard-hitting beat, Lana’s addition seems solely added for celebrity. Many fans of her latest album, Norman Fucking Rockwell, complain she was not given enough space or time to perform her best.
The music video is Reputation-era Taylor Swift at best, and predictable at worst. In a tough-girl cross between S&M and Victoria’s Secret, the video attempts to be daring in the most already-done ways. The video does, however, provide some context the song alone fails to provide.
Rather than connecting the musical stylings of the three distinctive artists, “Don’t Call Me Angel” maintains Grande’s overarching signature style. This is both a plus and a loss, as the two featured artists seem messily thrown into what is a stereotypically Grande track — but the tune is catchy, and if it were on the radio I wouldn’t change the station. While the song and its singers have their respective issues, and the creation itself is less badass than boring, there is an undeniable coolness in the collaboration between three powerful women.