If you’re struggling to remember what it feels like to be at an actual, honest-to-God party, allow us to point you in the direction of Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s newly released video for “Rain On Me”, the second dance-pop single from Gaga’s sixth studio album, Chromatica.
Shot just before lockdown hit, the video sees the quintessential Italian-American girls host a Y2K-themed “cyberpunk” rave, complete with bubblegum-pink hair, thigh-high metallic platform boots, and enough studded leather harnesses to fill Camden Market. Adding to the feeling of Noughties nostalgia: auteur Robert Rodriguez – best known for 2001’s Spy Kids – whose direction nods to early Britney Spears and N*Sync videos, down to the disorientating special effects. A particularly standout moment? When Gaga and Grande instantly switch clothes and hairstyles – with the former appearing in the latter’s signature pony tail.
This being Gaga, however, there’s a deeper meaning to the infectious hit – namely, the pain of heartbreak and her decision to numb it with alcohol. “I’ve flirted with the idea of sobriety,” she told Zane Lowe in an interview with Apple Music on 21 May. “It’s something that came up as a result of me trying to work through the pain that I was feeling – but part of my healing process was going, ‘Well, I can either lash the hell out of myself every day for continuing to drink, or I can just be happy that I’m still alive and keep going,’ and feel good enough.” In other words, it’s not a coincidence that the first line in the chorus sounds both like “I’d rather be drunk” and “I’d rather be dry”.
Clearly, it’s a sentiment that Grande can relate to as well. “One time, I met a woman who knew pain the same way I did, who cried as much as I did, drank as much wine as I did, [and] ate as much pasta as I did…” she wrote on Instagram ahead of the video’s release. “She immediately felt like a sister to me. She then held my hand and invited me into the beautiful world of Chromatica.” As for how she celebrated the video’s long-awaited release? By recreating its choreography (and make-up) with friends in her garden and digging into a “Rain On Me” cake.
Grande is by no means the only notable collaborator on #LG6. Chromatica, which will finally drop on 29 May, also includes tracks featuring Elton John and K-pop group Blackpink. And if “Stupid Love” and “Rain On Me” are anything to go by, the record will be nothing short of a dance-pop masterpiece. In the meantime, keep yourself busy ordering “Rain on Me”-inspired merch, including Wellington boots, via Lady Gaga’s website.
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