After an incredibly horrific incident forever changed Ariana Grande and those in attendance at her concert in Manchester, the world was left wondering how the pop star would recover.
Soon after the show, Grande announced a benefit concert packed to the brim with the biggest names in music. One Love Manchester was a success, assembling thousands in a shared experience of music. After that, though, Grande vanished.
The singer finally returned in the spring with “No Tears Left to Cry,” the lead single off her fourth studio album Sweetener.
The dance-pop track’s jarring beat changes took many fans off guard, while others immediately praised the singer’s new direction. Mixed reaction continued with the album’s first promotional single, the Nicki Minaj-assisted “The Light Is Coming.” The overly repetitive track sounded like a recycled N.E.R.D. B-side. While both singles were well-intended in their positivity, neither has reached the bar Grande has set for herself.
Finally, in late July, Grande released the second official Sweetener single, “God is a woman.” The sultry pop banger may be the singer’s best effort yet. It has everything needed for a successful hit pop song: controversial lyrics, air-tight production, and a great vocal performance. Grande nails each, delivering the inarguable message that sex with her is so good it’ll make you think she’s God.
The accompanying music video was equally, controversially provocative. In the clip, Grande is seen laying in a pool of water that resembles a vagina, fingering the Earth, and literally shattering a glass ceiling after a Madonna-recorded speech on female empowerment.
Regardless of the controversy and heavily sexualized themes, the song is simply great. Grande’s vocals are as sharp as ever, and she finally returns to the trap-influenced world she inhabits so well.
It will be interesting to see what shape Sweetener takes sonically, but until then, “God is a woman” will be on repeat.