“Lucy Lui with my girl Drew, Cameron D, and Destiny…” oh wait that’s the wrong song. Let’s get this out of the way now – it’s 2019 and we shouldn’t be pitting women against each other. That said “Don’t Call Me Angel” by Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Ray is bound to suffer some form of comparison to the former Destiny’s Child hit “Independent Women” and suffer it most certainly will. The lyrical talents of three of pop’s biggest contemporary stars cannot compare with the iconic lyrics of female empowerment that Beyonce, Kelly, and Michelle belted out 18 years ago, so lets park any head to head sing off’s right there and move on.
Don’t Call Me Angel starts off well, and the melody was ingrained in my head from first listen (partly because it doesn’t stop throughout the entirety of the song at its own detriment). I must say my little gay heart started doing backflips at the thought of this trio of women collaborating on a song for a film that has all the hallmarks of being iconic in LGBT+ culture – the Charlie’s Angels reboot. However after Ari has told you not to call her angel for the 10th time you start to realise this song is low on originality, trading on the pulling power of its three stars and far inferior to anything on her Sweetener album. Her verse is completely forgettable and her usual trick of slurring words together makes it almost impossible to discern what it is she is actually saying.
The worst part of the song, however, belongs to Lana Del Ray who seemingly wasn’t present during the recording or writing of the rest of the hit. That’s the only reasonable explanation as to why her verse sounds like it belongs in a different song or indeed why her vocals can’t be heard anywhere else on the track.
Miley most certainly has the best verse but then her lyrics about writing her own checks and paying her own bills are almost lifted right from the aforementioned Destiny’s Child track which as I’ve already said is far better written and performed.
To give credit where it’s due, the song is still stuck in my head playing as I write this and I will most certainly be listening to it again and again. The music video, whilst borrowing heavily from Taylor swifts bad blood, is fierce and captures the fun of Charlie’s Angels. However, it’s also obvious this song has been written with the film in mind in which the background melody is far more likely to feature prominently than the rest of the song. I also cannot deny that in the trailer seeing the three Charlie’s angles strike their iconic pose as this song plays filled me with joy, but that was before hearing the whole song.
I love all three of these women and really wanted to love this song but I can’t escape the feeling of being unfulfilled and disappointed that a song that had so much potential ended up being another cookie-cutter track with clunky changes in tone and dull lyrics.The real problem with the song isn’t that it’s bad (Lana’s part aside), it’s just so basic when it could and should have been so much more. Inevitably in 12 months, I’ll be watching a drag race lip-sync to this song and wonder why I never showed it more love in this review but that time isn’t now and if that day never comes this song will leave our collective memories with little fanfare.