There’s nothing I enjoy more than pop queens coming together to release an unarguable bop. So a few weeks ago when Lady Gaga first revealed the song list for her sixth studio album, Chromatica, myself and millions of other pop loving fans screeched with joy as we realised that Gaga was collaborating in a song with none other than Ariana Grande.
The song, titled Rain on Me, was released yesterday, the 22nd May. Which, of course, was also the third anniversary of the tragic Manchester Arena bombing, as one of Ariana Grande’s concerts ended. This didn’t escape me, as I was inside Manchester Arena when the bombing occurred, and it is still something that I, and many others that were at Ariana’s concert that night, still deal with today. The anniversary is a strange and sad day, and it seemed particularly poignant this year as the UK is still in lockdown, and learning to cope with a new way of life. So, I was particularly eager to hear the song, and I knew this wasn’t something that Ariana Grande wouldn’t take lightly.
I played the song on Tidal yesterday as soon as I woke up, and was really relieved by what I heard. For Gaga, the song very much takes me back to her Just Dance days, enjoying pop music for what it is and her debut elaborate fashion and makeup that first introduced us to her. It was also really nice to see Lady Gaga just being Gaga.
She hasn’t hidden her struggle with a medical condition called Fibromyalgia, which causes chronic pain, over the last few years. She also spoke to Zane Lowe in a recent interview and said “… this song ‘Rain On Me,’ the lyrics that I wrote right here in this studio, ‘I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive. Rain on me.’ This is about an analog of tears being the rain. And you know what it’s also a metaphor for, is the amount of drinking that I was doing to numb myself. I’d rather be dry. I’d rather not be drinking, but I haven’t died yet. I’m still alive. Rain on me. Okay, I’m going to keep on drinking. This song has many layers”. It’s safe to say that Lady G has had her fair share of struggles that she’s been dealing with. So, it’s cathartic to see her doing what she does best and killing it.
As for Ariana, it felt a little bit more personal for me as I feel like I also share a little bit of my own trauma with her after the Manchester attack. Since then, Ariana has also had to deal with a number of personal upheavals, including the tragic passing of her late partner, Mac Miller. She’s been very open in her struggles with anxiety and her journey with mental health and healing since what happened in Manchester. So, to me, Rain on Me very much reminded me of Ari’s single No Tears Left to Cry, which was the first single she released after the attack and was notably upbeat and inspiring, rather than sad. Ariana has monumentally used music as healing tool for both herself and her fans. This was shown when she organised the One Love Manchester concert to raise money for victims and bring the people of Manchester together, through her whole Sweetener album, and then again on her following album, thank U, next.
Ariana wrote on her Instagram page of her collaboration with Lady Gaga; “…i met a woman who knew pain the way i did… who cried the same way i did, drank as much wine as i did, ate as much pasta as i did and who’s heart was bigger than her whole body. she immediately felt like a sister to me. she then held my hand and invited me into the beautiful world of chromatica and together, we got to express how beautiful and healing it feels to mothafuckinnnn cry ! I hope this makes you all feel as uplifted as it does for us both”.
Rain on Me includes lyrics such as “I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive”, and “I only asked you to show me a real good time, I never asked for the rainfall”. It’s a dance fuelled, pop music celebration of healing after tragedy and heartbreak. It invites Gaga and Grande fans to feel liberated in forgetting their troubles, even if it’s just for three minutes and two seconds, and just enjoy the music and have a good time in the face of adversity.
In terms of the music itself, it’s just what the world needs right now. Two of the planets biggest female stars teaming up for a girl power inspired, high energy, feel good tune. With an incredible music video and learnable dance moves that are also absolutely iconic. Who doesn’t need a little bit of that in their lives right now?
Lady Gaga’s sixth album, Chromatica, will be released on 29th May 2020.