2020, the year two major pop stars, joined forces to rejuvenate the pop music universe. May 22, 2020 specifically is when female powerhouses Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande united to release ‘Rain on Me,’ the second hit single from Gaga’s recently released, sixth studio album Chromatica.
When you press play on this track, you are immediately taken back to Lady Gaga’s electronic dance roots like her previous chart toppers, ‘Poker Face’ and ‘Just Dance.’ This upbeat dance vibe is something that is present throughout the entire album, which she discusses in her Apple Music’s Beats 1 interview* with Zane Lowe, and compares it to her previous album Joanne. For Lady Gaga, Joanne, titled after her father’s sister who passed away young, was an attempt to heal her father. But after she completed the album, she realized that was not possible which resulted in a deep depression for Gaga. Chromatica is a response to that, and the way Gaga explains that she views the world.
‘Rain on Me’ is a fun techno explosion that is easily a track that everyone will be bobbing along to in bars and clubs (once those are open again), but it’s even better once you listen to the depth of the lyrics. While Gaga and Grande participate in a call and response, they come together to sing the chorus “I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive/rain on me,” which is a beautiful sentiment about pain and healing. While we all have our own chains that hold us back, there’s always something that forces us to keep moving forward. In Gaga’s interview with Zane she also explains that this track is embedded with layers, such as the message about her “rather be dry” is her actually flirting with the idea of alcohol sobriety which she was struggling with while writing Chromatica.
But perhaps the most shocking part of the whole song is the sudden collaboration and friendship of Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande. Lady Gaga explicitly mentioned how ashamed she was to befriend Grande. Ariana Grande has overcome many emotional hurdles; the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller, and the 2017 bombing at her Manchester concert, that Gaga felt embarrassed to still be chained by her own emotional battles. But after Grande called her out for “hiding,”* their friendship blossomed. Meanwhile, in the studio Gaga was releasing the chains on Grande’s comfort zone, allowing Ariana to sing without worrying about judgement. With their newfound friendship and musical collaboration, they were able to bring electro dance pop music back to the charts, where they just reached No.1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
LONG STORY SHORT: This song is about dancing through the rain and dancing through the pain, and sometimes dancing is the best medicine.
*Lady Gaga - The Chromatica Interview with Zane Lowe, 23 May 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZXBF9t32zA&t=2275s.