Hey, Ariana Grande fans, happy birthday. I hope you have a truly fantastic day, eat double your body weight in cake, pop some corks, smooch some people you shouldn't. No? It's not your birthday? Then why exactly has everyone's favorite pint-sized pop starlet just dropped some new music overnight like an audio present wrapped up in gorgeous paper? Yeah, go figure. The new Ariana Grande song "Voodoo Love," which she dropped last night on Soundcloud, is the ultimate earworm — if far poppier and saccharine musically than what we've been hearing from her lately. Her second song "OG Honeymoon Avenue" is a speeded up reinterpretation of the same track off her first album, Yours Truly, and thus not worth revisiting unless you're already a fan of that song. So what does "Voodoo Love" mean?
I mean, you need to know what you're jamming to when this swiftly becomes your new jam. There are a whole bunch of mysterious lyrics in there, but I'd argue that they're all Grande explaining to us just how, despite us living in the age of OK Cupid 200 question quizzes and personality tests, love is basically totally immune to human interference and that you can't control Cupid's Bow via science. In short: that love is mysterious as all hell, and that's why it's so magical. You can't engineer chemistry, dude. You've just got to go with the flow.
I'm gonna mix a potion up, make a special drink for youMm hmJust a little sip and you're never gonna know what hit you, yeahWhen I'm throughUh huh
In this song, Grande is a bartender. OK, we don't know that, let's not make assumptions. Maybe she works an exhausting office job, and her passion is mixing up drinks when she's kicking back at home. Whatever works. I'm not averse to a flatmate who mixes up a mean White Russian to start the evening in style. Anyway, because she's sweet on someone, she's mixing up a drink that is very strong. But, because I doubt Grande is suggesting that it's a smart idea to get the object of your desire mad drunk, I believe this drink is in fact a metaphor, especially as she refers to it as both a drink and a potion. For what, you ask? Well, we'll get there.
Now I'm not talkin' bout movies, don't need no happy endI just wanna make you love me, and stay through thick and thinI'm just gonna use some magic, might feel a little drunkAnd if you try to leave me, I'll lock you in the trunkI'm gonna witch you and stick a pin right in youMy voodoo's so addicting Three silver spoons of brandy wineJust a frog and a little thyme, and Baby, you'll be mine, with my voodoo love, aw yeah With my voodoo love, oh yeah
Firstly, did you notice how quickly that chorus hit? That's no accident, kids. Apparently, more and more hit chart songs are including their chorus in the first minute to get you hooked. So, on one hand, the character Grande is singing as is realistic about love — she doesn't need a happy ending and she's willing to stick with her sweetie through the hard times. On the other hand, she's totally, madly, creepily in love. You know how new love looks a lot like psychosis, chemically? Yeah, that. This is what's happening here.
The singer is obsessive, would lock the human of her dreams in a trunk rather than allow them to leave her. Scary stuff. But yes, again, I'd argue, metaphor territory: Grande thinks love is a powerful force. And, since there's no actual way to ensure anyone returns your crazy love feels, she's resorting to all the little tricks she's got: "silver spoons of brandy wine/Just a frog and a little thyme." Beats your lucky MAC lipstick and your Ultimate Seduction Spotify playlist, I guess?
Boy I really knew you were the one the moment that I saw your eyesMm hmStrong and wise and sweet and quiet, yeah,You're just my type Mm hm
Some women need a man with humor, charm, experience, a really well-cut suit, a holiday home in the South of France. But Grande is flying the flag for women who channel epic levels of chill in what they look for in a mate. Grande finds a man with two eyes, and that's it. Done. Loved up. None of this "So, what did you think of the '80s horror influences in Stranger Things?" malarkey or "Can I see your record collection?" nonsense. A man. With two eyes. Finito. She's in love. Yeah, I kid. He's also got all these great qualities. He's sweet and quiet. But is he just quiet because he's locked in a metaphorical trunk? Riddle me that.
I always get just what I wantAnd boy, I really want you nowSo just say yes, can't second guessThe power of my voodoo loveMy voodoo loveMy voodoo love
The pop star is the ultimate love temptress, and she always gets what she wants. Is this because she's a singularly easy on the eye lady with lungs like Mariah Carey and a great line in rabbit ear accessories? No, says the song. Hush your nonsense. It is because she understands love-witchcraft. It is because she understands that if you mix brandy, thyme, silver spoons, and frogs, and lock a man in a trunk, he will never leave you.
So, yes. If I invite you over for dinner anytime soon, handsome male acquaintance with two eyes and a quiet wisdom, please beware of any trunks in your vicinity. I may or may not be "pulling a Grande" as I've dubbed it, and executing some voodoo love.