What do you get when you combine the talent of three of the world’s biggest female pop stars? You get “Don’t Call Me Angel,” a dynamic, girl power anthem for the ages. The song, which is technically titled “Don’t Call Me Angel (Charlie’s Angels),” is led by pop powerhouse Ariana Grande and features the equally talented artists Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey. The three working together is a match made in heaven, or, maybe more accurately, in hell.
The song is already on track to place No. 1 on the UK Official Charts and is currently No. 1 on The Official Chart: First Look Top 20. If the all-female, multi-star single reaches the Top 40 on the tally, it will be one of just a few songs by an all-female act to acquire that title. But what makes this song a certified bop? Let’s explore the components.
“Don’t Call Me Angel” was a special project for the upcoming “Charlie’s Angels” movie which will be released in theaters Nov. 15, 2019. The reboot of the original 1970s TV show appropriately features an array of strong women, both in front of and behind the camera.
Elizabeth Banks directs, produces and stars in the movie as the character Suzanne Bosley. Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska play the iconic Charlie’s Angels, a trio of badass, crime fighting, intelligent women.
Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Women” was featured in the 2000 version of the “Charlie’s Angels” soundtrack. Therefore, it would be appropriate for the new movie’s theme song, and lead single off the soundtrack, to be led by another trio of powerful women.
Let’s Go Girls
Grande, Cyrus and Del Rey each bring their own unique voices and personas to “Don’t Call Me Angel.” Grande is the reigning queen of pop and she certainly isn’t a stranger to producing chart-smashing collaborations. Let’s not forget her 2014 pop anthem, “Bang Bang,” featuring Jessie J and Nicki Minaj or her recent success with Social House on her single “boyfriend.” Cyrus has worked hard to distance herself from her early days as Hannah Montana and she has now found considerable success in belting out gritty pop ballads. Del Rey is in a league of her own. With her dreamy voice and melancholy vintage vibes, she’s the unofficial leader of sad girls everywhere.
Before even listening to the song, one might be skeptical of how three women with such different musical styles could produce a song worth listening to. Yet, it is precisely the differences and nuances between Grande, Cyrus and Del Rey that make the song so intriguing and catchy.
Here’s where the female-positive, girl power lyrics come in. In the first verse Grande come out the gate swinging, flaunting her powerful vocals as she sings, “Boy, don’t call me angel / You ain’t got me right / Don’t call me angel / You can’t pay my price.” She knows what she’s worth and she’s not afraid to let anyone else know it.
Up next is Cyrus with her fiery, gravelly vocals. She belts out, “Uh, don’t call me angel when I’m a mess / Don’t call me angel when I get undressed / You know I, I don’t like that, boy /Uh, I make my money, and I write the checks / So say my name with a little respect / All my girls successful, and you’re just our guest.” Cyrus shuts down any notion that she, or any of her “girls” need a man. After all, what’s more empowering than being a successful, self-sufficient woman?
Del Rey makes sure to add her two cents during the bridge. With her airy, ethereal voice it would be easy to mistake her for an angel. Yet, Del Rey reminds the audience of her real identity when she sings, “I fell from Heaven, now I’m living like a devil / You can’t get me off your mind.”
A Bop or a Flop?
“Don’t Call Me Angel” is definitely a bopping girl anthem. Yet, the song isn’t perfect. There is the occasional awkward pause between verses, which drags down the upbeat rhythm and slows the progression of the song. Grande’s vocals and lyrics aren’t quite as dynamic as some of her solo work, while Del Rey’s solo seems slightly out of place in between Cyrus and Grande’s sassy, strong voices.
Despite these small flaws, the song’s catchy beat and insatiable energy are impossible to ignore. Grande shines in the song and her insanely high-pitched whistle tones are the focal point of the track. The music is extremely sensual and magnetic, which is fitting considering how the women own their sexuality without a hint of shame.
The music video for “Don’t Call Me Angel” is equally intoxicating and drips with femme fatale vibes. Although the intro initially sounds childlike and innocent, when the beat drops, there’s no doubt that the girls are about to show some attitude. The trio struts through a hallway, wearing pairs of black, feathered angel wings. Grande sticks to her signature combination of high ponytail and thigh-high boots, while Cyrus rocks an S&M-inspired bra with matching black leather pants. Del Rey completes the look by playing the demure seductress in a lace-edged bodice. The video completes the edgy vibe of the song in an extremely satisfying way.
“Don’t Call Me Angel” gives a sense of what the highly anticipated “Charlie’s Angels” movie is going to look like, but more importantly, it gives fans an anthem of independence that every girl needs to hear. The three talented and extremely confident female artists bring their own singing style to the song without compromising their individuality, lending true meaning to the lyric, “all my girls successful.” So, whether you’ve recently gone through a breakup or you’re just feeling knocked down by life, “Don’t Call Me Angel” is there to provide a healthy dose of girl power.