By James Mercadante
The witty, female-empowered, Aaron Spelling franchise of the ’70s that transpired into the 2000 motion picture “Charlie’s Angels” has now given birth to a 2019 revision directed by Elizabeth Banks. Alongside her, Ariana Grande employs her role as executive producer and curator to a soundtrack that sonically echoes the powerhouse blockbuster.
On Friday, Nov. 1, “Charlie’s Angels (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” was released two weeks prior to the film. Grande inserted herself in five out of the 11 songs, including the movie’s lead single, “Don’t Call Me Angel.”
The soundtrack welcomes in a plethora of acclaimed female artists such as Miley Cyrus, Lana Del Rey, Normani and Nicki Minaj, all of whom render a musical space that uplifts the women’s voices and their narratives.
Although it is evident that good intentions were behind the album’s production, it’s unfortunately chaotic and, quite frankly, disappointing.
Commencing the film’s promotion with “Don’t Call Me Angel” hinted at the quality of the rest of its soundtrack — a mess.
The lead single incorporates Cyrus, Del Rey and Grande, who all possess various styles of singing that don’t complement each other in the slightest.
Grande hogs up two-thirds of the song, leaving Cyrus with a decent first verse and Del Rey with a melancholic bridge that pervades the song with her strange moans and whispered singing.
Through the combination of the three voices on the track, you would assume they would at least come together and harmonize, but it was to no avail. In reality, you receive a lazy riff by Grande toward the end.
But then again, nothing compares to Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Women” as the lead single for the 2000 version.
The new soundtrack contains basic vocals, recycled beats and lyrics that lack any depth. However, there are some redeeming factors that are present in some of Grande’s other songs like “Nobody,” featuring Chaka Khan, and “How I Look on You.”
“Nobody” encompasses a buoyant, jazzy sound where Khan and Grande showcase their strong vocals. Grande’s solo track, “How I Look On You” fuses rock with trap-inspired beats. These two tracks definitely surpass the rest. However they still don’t attest to Grande’s ultimate excellence.
Another redemptive quality is the absence of male artists on this album, which accentuates female power and communal uplift. Nevertheless, these songs still address men and it is extremely frustrating.
Throughout Grande’s discography, she has routinely sung about her romantic experiences with men, which is perfectly acceptable. However, she was presented an opportunity to sing about other ideas with this project, but failed to do so.
“She Got Her Own” is a deceiving track, as it promotes the idea of financially independent women, yet they are still talking to a man rather than directing the conversation toward other girls.
Grande lightly sings, “He might got money, but I bet she got her own…/ But you could still get it though,” which is a letdown.
The soundtrack also includes remixes of songs, like Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls” and the original theme song for “Charlie’s Angels,” which were unnecessary — like another “Charlie’s Angels” reboot. But that’s a different conversation.
The overall soundtrack needed more time for the artists to perfect it, but Grande has loosely wrapped a bow around a collection of songs that spills over and makes a mess.