Review: Ariana Grande – ‘God is a Woman’

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Ariana's trademark vocals combine with suggestive lyrics and a sensuous beat for an empowering, feminine anthem.

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Ariana Grande has released the third single from her upcoming album, Sweetener, a week before it had been expected by her fans.

‘God is a Woman’ carries an unsurprising religious theme and some perhaps unexpected sexual undertones. With it, she presents the hypothesis that a sexual experience with her would make her lover ‘believe that God is a Woman’, subverting the sin of sex with a suggestion that hers carries redemptive properties – ‘take my hand, save your soul.’

The track is one of raw, feminine empowerment and sexual liberation. Ariana sings of her rebellion against expectation, ‘I can be all the things you tell me not to be’, and of her multifaceted nature, ‘he sees the universe… it’s all in me’, a lyric which the music video, directed by Dave Meyers, picks up on as she straddles the globe and dances within a galaxy.

This echoes the variation between the three singles released from the album, which switch from dance ballad to trap pop with ease. ‘God is a Woman’, for example, showcases Grande’s stratospheric vocals backed by a sultry bass riff and seductive trap beats.

She also sings of her endurance against the media and hate, ‘when you try to come for me I keep on flourishing’, highlighted in the video by the graphic of multiple, hydra-like wolf heads surrounding her own. Grande is clear in her message: she is a full, powerful, independent, and indestructible woman.

Ariana claims that the track had been foreshadowed with her Met Gala dress, a Vera Wang gown detailed with Michaelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgement’. The music video also references Michaelangelo, ending with a recreation of his regularly replicated ‘The Creation of Adam’. Ariana poses as God on one side, surrounded by a diverse crowd of women, reaching out to the black, near-naked, female Adam. At this point, choral voices have chimed in, crying out ‘God is a woman’, and suggesting that this track, and all of the video’s yonic imagery, is meant not only to represent and strive for her own, private empowerment in the bedroom, but the empowerment of all women everywhere.

This is further suggested by the section of the video in which the song pauses, and Ariana mimes to the Madonna-voiced Pulp Fiction monologue in which she claims “you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee” and throws a hammer through the glass ceiling above her. She later dedicated a tweet to her “fellow goddesses who work their asses off every day to “break the glass ceiling”:

Despite its explicit sexuality, the track has proved to be a Grande family favourite. Ariana revealed it was her 92 year old grandmother Nonna’s favourite and her mother, Joan Grande, tweeted soon after the track’s release, that: “Women rule the universe, we ensure mankind’s furtherance .. we have earned and deserve respect, gratitude, and equality… and YET we fight for it STILL everyday … this is song is an anthem, it should provide strength and power.”

Ariana has previously explained that she wanted this album to act as a sweetener after the events of the Manchester terror attack on her concert last year, and with this track she continues to fulfill her aim. Beside its multiple historical and religious references, ‘God is a Woman’ is the powerful anthem Grande obviously hoped it to be. Its lyrics show a maturity people perhaps don’t expect from the 26-year-old pop icon, and its hypnotic rhythms and addictive vocals ensure that this is a track that ‘lingers when it’s done’.

‘Sweetener’ is set for release 17th August with Republic Records. Watch the music video for the third single from the upcoming album below:

 

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12-year-old possessive lioness and shiny goddess of all things nerdy. I am usually great and sometimes Deputy Edit. I support everyone and like everything @faithfulpadfoot. If you speak ill of musicals I may or may not bite thee.

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