In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.
And, if you translate the text of the Bible from the original Hebrew, you’ll know that God then immediately created the disco stick, the meat dress, the Born This Way motorcycle, Jeff Koons and his blue balls, the Volantis flying dress, the “Electric Chapel” FarmVille premiere, 100 people in a room (whilst needing just one), an Academy Award, and a far-off land called Chromatica right after that – but it’s just gotten lost in the translation of the text over the years.
Anyway, I digress.
Down here on Earth, in the midst of *vaguely gestures outward* this, we’re suiting up for an escape mission on May 29, rocketing past the planet Venus to Chromatica – which might also be that newly discovered parallel universe that goes backwards in time or whatever – a magical, colorful world filled with still mostly unexplained Pokémon metallic symbols, H.R. Giger-meets-Ridley Scott Alien imagery and PlayStation-style packaging.
On Chromatica, no one thing makes more sense than another. Or something like that.
If “Stupid Love” was not enough of an early warning sign, Stefani Germanotta, an Italian Girl from New York City, our Stefani Gerrmato, known in some circles as Lady Gaga, is returning to her roots – not hair-wise so much, but sonically speaking. Yes, the girl is back to (just) dance, because pop music will what? Never be low brow. That’s right.
In her second official serving from her sixth studio album, Gaga’s joined forces with pop’s premiere ponytailed princess and fellow Italian-American, Ariana Grande – a longtime admirer and first time caller – for a song called “Rain On Me,” out on Friday (May 22), which has long been heralded by the Gays of Twitter as the song that will Save Pop™.
Did it? Well, hype is one hell of a drug! Let’s maybe give it some time to marinate before we make any grand declarations.
“Rain on Me” was produced and written by longtime collaborators BloodPop and Tchami, as well as BURNS (he of Britney‘s “Make Me…” fame), and also co-written with Nija Charles (Cardi B) and Rami Yacoub, the same legend who co-produced under-the-radar bubblegum teen pop hit, “…Baby One More Time.”
And the concept for the “Rain on Me” song is basically, you know, raining…on…me.
“I never asked for the rainfall / At least I showed up, you showed me nothing at all,” Gaga declares in the opening of empowering, live-through-this anthem dedicated to moving through the sadness, holding onto sanity, and taking flight through all the tears, like a 2020 Reverse Warholian take on Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer‘s “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” – a fellow tag-team of two titans which, funnily enough, kicks off a certain line: “It’s raining, it’s pouring…”
The songs aren’t actually similar, although “Rain on Me” isn’t completely far off from “No More Tears” co-producer Giorgio Moroder‘s more recent dance-pop outing, Déjà Vu. So…maybe some parallels, after all.
All the trappings of solid, gay ol’ dance-pop catharsis are at hand: pounding beats, flourishes of strings and fierce declarations.
“Livin’ in a world where no one’s innocent / Oh, but at least we try / Gotta live my truth, not keep it bottled in / So I don’t lose my mind, baby,” Ari croons.
There are plenty of little details that appeal, including that Gaga rawr of “RRRAIN on me” peppered throughout the second half. It’s also fun to hear her turn on that serious-faced “Dance In The Dark” speak-singing voice again in the bridge: “Hands up to the sky, I’ll be your galaxy, I’m about to fly,” all while Ari does her Ari thing in contrast – the sweetener (eh heh) to Gaga’s militant delivery.
But the best part, of course, is the simple utterance of: “Rain…on…me,” followed by a swift drop into pulsating bliss.
Between this and “Stupid Love,” Gaga’s clearly letting go and giving the people – well, the gays – what they need to get through this horrible period of time. It’s arguably more fun and way more surprising to hear Ari, who has since settled comfortably into a more “yuh, yuh” downtempo musical realm in recent years, along for this sort of ride. This feels like a nod to her uptempo “Break Free” and “Into You” pop days, adding a little pep in her thigh-high booted step.
Do I wish this production was about two to three minutes longer for these pop superstars to come together and reign in the rain even longer? Certainly, yes. But time is of the essence, I suppose – or, at least, streaming replay value is. And in these Uncertain Times™, there’s never been more of a need for a double pop diva-sized distraction to dance those socially distanced tears away.
Next stop, Chromatica.
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Photo Credit: Interscope Records