Ariana Grande debuted her new song “The Light is Coming” from her upcoming album Sweetener a few days ago and it made me want to start moshing—as in a mosh pit.
I was watching Ariana’s performance on YouTube and after she mouthed the words to Nicki Minaj’s feature on “The Light is Coming,” she chants “the light is coming to bring back everything the darkness stole” as if trying to perform an exorcism. Then that beat comes 45 seconds in and it sounds dark and bouncy simultaneously. Images of people moshing suddenly entered my brain. The song’s producer Pharrell Williams apparently never forgot his skater roots. In fact, he never forgot his early 2000’s roots with the Neptunes.
Now we’ve gotten to the root of why I have such an affinity for Ariana. No other pop star in this modern era evokes early 2000s pop music like Ariana. “The Light is Coming” sounds like something Kelis would have sung on her first album in 1999. She also can belt out notes with Christina Aguilera clarity.
In her futuristic Jetsons dress and the high-pitched ponytail she snatched from Britney Spears’s kitschy Martian queen in her “Oops…I Did it Again” music video, Ariana Grande cut a queenly path across the Wango Tango stage flanked by her male dancers (specifically a fierce and fabulous dancer with the endearing bowl cut). Ariana has hits and shows signs of being a future icon (Her distinctive ponytail is one of the reasons why). She’s a pop princess who wants to become a pop queen. And I think she may very well do it.