Ariana Grande and her collaborators fight the patriarchy with the ‘Charlie’s Angels’ soundtrack.


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The cover of ‘Charlie’s Angels (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)’.

American media franchise Charlie’s Angels has become an iconic pop culture phenomenon ever since it debuted in September 1976 with the crime drama television series of the same name, and when it was announced that American singer-songwriter and actress Ariana Grande would be executive producing the soundtrack for the new Charlie’s Angels movie, gays everywhere lost their minds — myself included. 

The lead single, “Don’t Call Me Angel (Charlie’s Angels)”, was also revealed to be a collaboration between Grande, American singer-songwriter and actress Miley Cyrus, and American singer-songwriter and poet Lana Del Rey; and while this was a rather unexpected trio, the resulting hype would outshine that of the film and set the bar very high for its soundtrack, which arrived in early November.

The Charlie’s Angels soundtrack, much like the parent film, is a reimagining of the world established by the original TV series and the legendary McG-directed films from the early 2000s and features songs from and inspired by the franchise; including five brand new tracks from Ariana Grande, four songs sung by other artists, and two remixes — American producer and DJ Gigamesh’s take on American singer-songwriter and Queen of Disco, Donna Summer’s 1979 hit “Bad Girls” and American producer and DJ duo Black Caviar’s reinvention of the original Charlie’s Angels theme song — that are all centered around the theme of female empowerment.

This is reflected by the opening track and second single, “How It’s Done” — a power pop and hip-hop-inspired feminist anthem about self-assurance and working hard that features vocals from American rapper Kash Doll, German singer-songwriter Kim Petras, Finnish singer-songwriter ALMA, and British rapper and singer-songwriter Stefflon Don.

As pointed out by Genius, these artists are all somewhat underrated within their respective fields, and this is a trend that can be found across all of the non-Ariana Grande tracks — “Eyes Off You” is a club-ready banger by British-German producer and DJ duo M-22, British singer-songwriter Arlissa, and American singer-songwriter and actress Kiana Ledé; the third single, “Pantera”, is a sexy Latin bop by Brazilian singer-songwriter and actress Anitta; and “Blackout” is an emotional ballad by American singer Danielle Bradbery. 

Grande’s decision to include these artists on the soundtrack was likely done to give them more exposure and to introduce them to a wider audience, something that Petras said she was “grateful” for.

Speaking of Ariana Grande, she contributed four songs aside from the infamous “Don’t Call Me Angel (Charlie’s Angels)” to the soundtrack: “Bad to You” with American singer-songwriter and rising pop star Normani and Trinidadian rapper and singer-songwriter Nicki Minaj; “Nobody” with American singer-songwriter and Queen of Funk, Chaka Khan; “How I Look on You”; and “Got Her Own” with American singer-songwriter Victoria Monét. 

All keep the same trap-inspired sound that first appeared on Grande’s record-breaking album, thank u, next, which was released earlier this year, with the exception of the more funk-inspired “Nobody”, likely due to the presence of Khan.

Although expected to be even bigger than thank u, next, the Charlie’s Angels soundtrack, as well as the movie, failed to live up to its hype and disappointed many fans. I believe that the mixed reaction came as a result of people too heavily associating the album with Grande, expecting it to sound like a solo project rather than a soundtrack for a film, thus making the Grande tracks seem lackluster in comparison to the non-Grande tracks, whose contributing artists shined bright, which was likely the original intention: To feature a diverse cast of underrated artists who deserve more attention with Grande throwing in a few tracks of her own here and there for added flavor.

Unfortunately, this concept did not land with the general public, but regardless of the disconnect between its intention and reaction, the Charlie’s Angels soundtrack is available now across all online and streaming platforms.

Stream Charlie’s Angels (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) on Spotify: 

Watch the music video for “Don’t Call Me Angel (Charlie’s Angels)”: 

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(From left to right): Grande, Del Rey, and Cyrus in the music video for “Don’t Call Me Angel (Charlie’s Angels)”.