‘Take a look at me now,’ dares Normani throughout her debut solo single – as if a mere mortal could do anything other than stare, mouth agape, at the dawning of a superstar.
The hip-popping, face-humping, leg-splitting visual for ‘Motivation’ is a choreographile’s dream come true, as the former-Fifth Harmonizer channels the sexy, athletic performances of Y2K R&B icons like Aaliyah and Beyoncé. Yet the horn-laden thumper itself was almost certainly rescued from Ariana Grande’s recycle bin circa 2018.
Is that a bad thing? Almost certainly not. Written by Ms. Grande and a team of reliable hitmakers, ‘Motivation’ is every bit as strident and danceable as ‘Bloodline’ and ‘Bad Idea’ – two capital-P pop numbers from thank u, next that Ariana couldn’t be arsed to give the single treatment. In fronting an 8/10 bop that otherwise would have gathered dust in a vault, Normani is doing what us overdramatic gays call ‘the Lord’s work’.
‘Motivation’ may be a leftover, but using her luscious tones and jaw-dropping dance moves, Normani serves it piping hot. Popstars have built careers on a lot less.