"Don't Call Me Angel" - Trios Gone Wrong


With the new Charlie’s Angels movie coming to theaters, the need for more publicity came with an original song, “Don’t Call Me Angel,” by Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Lana del Rey. Naturally, there was a lot of excitement surrounding this obscure collaboration of three very different artists and personalities. Unfortunately, the result was quite underwhelming. 

While the production of the music video was well executed with beautiful costumes and set design, the song itself had no chemistry between the artists both on screen and in the song. If anything, it felt as if it was Ariana’s song featuring Miley and Lana rather than an actual collaboration. 

Starting with the style of the song itself being pop and R&B, you could easily picture it working with Grande’s voice, thus,her voice was dominating most of the song. Visually, she was also the center of attention with the most screen time. 

Rey’s voice worked quite well with the overall song, and as an artist with experience in various pop based genres she was able to make her voice fit with the piece and stand out at the same time. Unfortunately, the only time we actually got hear her voice was during the bridge. 

On the other hand, Cyrus’s voice felt least fitted for this particular collaboration. Coming from a pop-rock background, her voice stuck out too much and didn’t mix with Grande’s or Rey’s. 

The overall lack of cohesion in style was very obvious, because there was little to no harmony and the artists were barely together in the same shot in the music video. The entire collaboration essentially came down to being a publicity stunt to advertise the movie rather than creating good music.

Although this particular song was a trio gone wrong, there have been many successful collaborations in the past such as “FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney. This was another interesting trio whose musical styles were very different, but the simplicity of the song with only an acoustic guitar and vocals made it sound more natural instead of forced. 

Another iconic collaboration of three very different and powerful voices would be Jessie J, Grande, and Nicki Minaj’s “Bang Bang” that featured all of their contrasting voices equally. Each artist was important and memorable in both the song and the music video. 

Another unforgettable collaboration would be “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams, and Nile Rodgers. With Pharrell on soul-filled vocals, riffs from Nile Rodgers, and an overall funky performance with Daft Punk, this song was one of the most played songs of that year. 

In all these examples, the song itself was a collaboration among similar and very different artists that happened organically. They focused on the music making rather than the advertisement of another media. This simple, yet important idea can make all the difference between trios creating entertaining and unforgettable songs or, in the case of “Don’t Call Me Angel,” disappointing ones. 

Shambhavi Mishra

Cassie Scheirer