‘Don’t Call Me Angel’: A video from heaven

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Over the past 20 years, there have been few soundtrack songs that accurately fit the movie they represent. Outside of Destiny’s Child’s mega-hit “Independent Women Pt. 1” for the “Charlie’s Angels” movie in 2000, I have not found a soundtrack song that got me excited to see a particular movie until now. 

With the remake of “Charlie’s Angels” set to release in two months, there was a new song made for the soundtrack featuring Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey. This song is amazing. Everything from Cyrus’ aggressive attacks on leech-like men to Grande’s hypnotic chorus to Del Rey’s seductive verse (which many call the best part of the song) had me in awe. The harmonies made it sound as if three different angels came together and not only sang beautifully, but were also ready to fight some bad guys.  

The true charm of the song, however, comes from the music video, directed by Hannah Lux Davis. The video is set up as Grande, Cyrus and Del Rey get ready to take on a mission in the style of Charlie’s Angels. Cyrus is beating up a guy in a boxing gym, Grande is on decoy singing and dancing around a hallway while Lana is testing out weapons to take out an unknown enemy. 

 While I would have liked Del Rey and Cyrus to have bigger roles in both the song and video, I like how their styles and personalities are displayed in contrast to the sugary presence of Grande. This is not to say that Grande was unnecessary to the song and video. She adds a dreamlike quality to a song that has a punchy beat from mega-producer Max Martin.  

When looking at the technical side of the video, the cinematography was clever as the lighting matched the styles of each of the singers. Sunlight shone through curtains as Grande sang.  It was bright and cheerful, but never overwhelming. Cyrus’ lighting was both bleak and harsh, which was fitting given her role within the song. As for Del Rey’s lighting, it was low and warm, just like her vocal performances. As for production design, the mansion seems to represent the grand nature of the song and movie. It was no Versailles, but it was serviceable for the three queens of pop music.  

I could nitpick on how the angel wings the singers wear look a little off, or how Elizabeth Banks’ cameo at the end of the video feels out of place, but that would make me a cynic. Kudos to Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey for making the catchiest soundtrack song in decades and being in a well-produced and interesting music video. The 45 million YouTube views (as of the time of publication) suggest I’m not alone in thinking that “Don’t Call Me Angel” is a great song. 

Final Score: 4.5/5 

Thumbnail photo from billboard.com


Ian Ward is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at ian.ward@uconn.edu

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