On July 13, Ariana Grande released “God Is a Woman,” the third single from her upcoming album “Sweetener.” The song features a mildly sparse pop backing that utilizes an Atlanta trap-style beat, simplistic pop synthesizer lines and reverb-soaked guitar. This instrumental gives Grande enough space to assert her dominance and vocal presence while ensuring the song does not sound empty. The simple R&B-pop melody in the verse is an ear worm that refuses to leave the listener after the song ends, and leads into the pre-chorus, where Grande uses a monotone triplet flow, much like a mumble rapper but without Auto-Tune. For the chorus, Grande sings sensual chill-worthy runs that complement the vaguely sexual lyrics. In the bridge, Grande shows off her vocal chops with sultry croons over a gospel-esque choir of her own voices.
Lyrically, Grande remains in her usual realm of sex and relationships, but explores that theme from a new perspective. She asserts her sexual prowess and praises her partner for his reverence to her. Grande recalls Madonna (who appears in the music video) in her use of religious worship as a metaphor for loyalty and sexuality. With the phrase “you’ll believe God is a woman,” Grande alleges that her partner worships her and understands women’s power as a result of her sexual abilities.
While “God Is a Woman” may not be the female empowerment anthem that its music video purports it to be, it is an enjoyable and refreshing take on the standard provocative pop song. The juxtaposition of mellow pop and trunk-rattling trap gives the song a musical depth that makes it more interesting and enjoyable, and ensures the song will find success both in the club and on the radio. Meanwhile, the lyrics, while nothing revolutionary, are a refreshing change from the one-dimensional material that typically fills the pop landscape. Grande plays to her strengths on “God Is a Woman,” and while she does not take any major risks, she does make it distinct enough to keep things fresh.
Photo courtesy of: consequencesofsound.net
The album art for Grande's new single "God is a Woman."