Lady Gaga featuring Ariana Grande – Rain on Me

TRACK REVIEW: Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s new collaboration is buckets of fun – but could have been more.

TRACK REVIEW: Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande's new collaboration is lots of fun - but could have been more.

All the way back in February (which feels like literal years ago), Lady Gaga released the lead single for her upcoming album Chromatica.  That song, ‘Stupid Love’, received mixed reactions upon its release – reactions that were further complicated by the sudden COVID-19 lockdown resulting in a delay in the release of the rest of the album.  Indeed, Chromatica was originally slated for release back in April, before being pushed back to next Friday, the 29th of May.

'Rain on Me' single cover. Via Interscope Records.
'Chromatica' cover art. Via Interscope Records.

In anticipation of that release, Gaga has dropped a new, second promotional single – ‘Rain on Me’, a collaboration with Ariana Grande.  As soon as the collaboration was announced, many fans started speculating about the stylistic direction of the track.  Gaga’s industrial dance pop style seemed like an odd match for Ariana’s much more R&B-influenced take on pop music.  Interestingly, the song is a significant stylistic departure for both artists, eschewing the previously mentioned styles in favor of a disco-inspired house beat.

'Rain on Me' single cover. Via Interscope Records.

While the song doesn’t reach the heights of what either of these artists have achieved in the past, the song is just so much fucking fun.  There is nothing particularly edgy or interesting going on here, but Gaga and Ariana take this genre and run with it, creating a song that is more upbeat and toe-tappingly bubbly than pretty much anything else released this year.  It is easy to imagine it being a big success in gay bars and pride festivals once we’re allowed to have those things again.

Lady Gaga. Via Chuff Media.

Where the song really falters, though, is with its lyrics.  Thematically, the track has an interesting overall premise of giving in to one’s negative emotions in order to stay alive.  To have an upbeat dance song that deals with a heavy theme like that is a fascinating proposition – and one that would have a unique poignancy in the LGBTQIA+ community, which often finds solace for loneliness, fear and loss in the accepting comfort of gay bars and dance clubs.

Unfortunately, the actual execution of these lyrics leaves a lot to be desired.  Lines like ‘Hands up to the sky / I’ll be your galaxy / I’m about to fly / rain on me / tsunami’ are… unfortunate.  Such deep and emotional ideas deserve a more artful expression than this song gives them.  Certainly, a higher level of commitment to the ideals of the track would have gone a long way in giving the entire thing a sense of importance that it currently lacks.

Still, it would be unfair to just write off ‘Rain on Me’ as a catchy but empty dance pop song.  There is little doubt that these lyrics – slight as they may be – will resonate with many of Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s queer fans.  And it’s a rare thing to find catharsis that is this supremely catchy.

‘Rain on Me’ and ‘Stupid Love’ are out now, Chromatica arrives 5/29/2020.

50 Bops

PLAYLIST: What 50 songs best define the idea of ‘The Bop’?​

PLAYLIST: What 50 songs best define the idea of 'The Bop'?​

For 50 Bops, I wanted to create a playlist that really encapsulated the idea and the aesthetic of The Bop.  Yes, I wanted songs that are timeless and iconic, but I was more interested in the sound and the feeling of each song rather than how popular or famous it is.  I wanted songs that were catchy, bouncy, danceable, and infectious.  I also knew I wanted a list of 50 tracks without any repeated artists.

In order to do this, I started with artists I felt had to be included.  The greats of modern pop music – Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Madonna etc., and then supplemented the list with lesser-known, but still deserving entries.  For each artist, I picked the song I felt was their truest Bop.  Not necessarily my favorite song by them, but the one that encapsulated that distinct Bop feeling better than any other.

So what's in it?

In some cases, that song was a career defining hit (like ‘TiK ToK’ by Kesha or ‘California Gurls’ by Katy Perry).  For some other artists, I picked something of a b-side.  For example, I chose ‘I Hate Boys’ by Christina Aguilera, from her criminally underrated Bionic album.  I’m sure some of my choices will be controversial, and I will probably regret some of them tomorrow.  But, overall, I am pleased with this list.

The track list is ordered in a way that I thought created a pleasant flow throughout the three-hour runtime.  It is not in any way ranked by quality (or boppiness).

Ultimately, I created this list to hopefully bring a smile to your face and to get you dancing around your apartment.  I know I’ve been dancing around mine.

Stream at the links below.

50 Bops TrackList

  1. G.U.Y. – Lady Gaga ARTPOP

  2. Can’t Be Tamed – Miley Cyrus Can’t Be Tamed

  3. Stronger – Britney Spears Oops… I Did It Again

  4. Girls Night Out – Charli XCX Non-album single

  5. I Don’t Want It At All – Kim Petras Non-album single

  6. Greedy – Ariana Grande Dangerous Woman

  7. TiK ToK – Kesha Animal

  8. Boy Problems – Carly Rae Jepsen Emotion

  9. Tearin’ Up My Heart – *NSYNC *NSYNC

  10. Get Outta My Way – Kylie Minogue Aphrodite

  11. Irresistable – Jessica Simpson Irresistable

  12. Ba$$in – Yelle Complètement Fou

  13. Intuition – Jewel 0304

  14. Hi High – LOONA [+ +]

  15. American Boy – Estelle featuring Kanye West Shine

  16. Hung Up – Madonna Confessions on a Dance Floor

  17. Juice – Lizzo Cuz I Love You

  18. Waiting for Tonight – Jennifer Lopez On the 6

  19. Fembot – Robyn Body Talk

  20. We Run the Night – Havana Brown featuring Pitbull Flashing Lights

  21. Sparks – Hilary Duff Breathe In. Breathe Out.

  22. Demons – Hayley Kiyoko I’m Too Sensitive for this Shit

  23. Are We Good – G.R.L. Non-album single

  24. Larger Than Life – Backstreet Boys Millennium

  25. California Gurls – Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg Teenage Dream

  26. There You Go – P!nk Can’t Take Me Home

  27. That’s My Girl – Fifth Harmony 7/27

  28. Casanova – Allie X CollXtion II

  29. I Hate Boys – Christina Aguilera Bionic

  30. Physical – Dua Lipa Future Nostalgia

  31. Play – Betta Lemme Non-album single

  32. Rich Girl – Gwen Stefani featuring Eve Angel. Music. Baby.

  33. Fluids – Michael Medrano Non-album single

  34. Pandemonium – LIZ Non-album single

  35. Turn Me On – David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj Nothing But the Beat

  36. What Do I Tell My Friends? – Bree Runway Non-album single

  37. Anna Wintour – Azealia Banks Non-album single

  38. One, Two Step – Ciara featuring Missy Elliott Goodies

  39. Crazy in Love – Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z Dangerously in Love

  40. Primadonna – MARINA Electra Heart

  41. Rumors – Lindsay Lohan Speak

  42. Boss Bitch – Doja Cat Birds of Prey: The Album

  43. Mine – Slayyyter Slayyyter

  44. SOS – Rihanna A Girl Like Me

  45. Damaged – Danity Kane Welcome to the Dollhouse

  46. Gimme – Ralph A Good Girl

  47. Blinding Lights – The Weeknd After Hours

  48. Saxobeat – Alexandra Stan Saxobeats

  49. Be Good to Me – Ashley Tisdale Headstrong

  50. Comme Des Garçons (Like the Boys) – Rina Sawayama SAWAYAMA

After you listen to my list (enjoy!), head on down to the comment section and let me know what your all-time favorite bops are.