Normani is one of the former Fifth Harmony members who’s getting some solo traction — the biggest one being Camila Cabello, who may have benefited from being the first to leave. (Lauren Jauregui supposedly has an album coming next year; ditto Ally Brooke, who was a Dancing With The Stars finalist also, but Tyga was a collaborator on one of her early singles and that’s… not promising? The final member is a lady named Dinah Jane, who seems a bit less busy, and yes, I had to look all of this up on Wikipedia.) We’ve definitely seen her starting to make the music rounds, but landing Cosmo seems like a pretty major step for her — as was, apparently, her summer video release. The lede of the profile talks about one that she dropped in August that “everyone with a screen” immediately watched but which I had no awareness of, which means I am officially and irrevocably One Of The Olds. It’s called “Motivation” and is apparently a ’90s-style jam.
Anyway, we can talk about the cover in the slideshow. The profile has some good stuff in it, like hiding within a girl group (her words) versus stepping into the light on her own. There is also a random dig at Taylor Swift, among others, whose necessity I can’t figure out, because it is not directly attributed to Normani herself:
Normani started planning what she felt had to be done: injecting some sorely needed fun into today’s messy music landscape of singles that are buzzy because of “hidden” messages about exes. But Normani’s a loyalist to the positive, uplifting power of pure pop and the magic of pairing those beats with insanely amazing choreo, just like her ’90s idols used to do, so that one day, fans will bust out their “Motivation” moves—after feverishly searching YouTube for step-by-step breakdowns—at house parties and weddings, “Thriller”-style.
That bit about hidden messages and exes is repeated in the headline, and I can’t tell if this is the author exorcising a Swiftian demon, or whether Normani was asked about it but answered indirectly in a way where it wasn’t easy to quote her, or what. It’s a weird fight to pick? It could also be aimed — by the author or the subject — at her ex-bandmate Camila, who is rumored to be dating her duet partner Shawn Mendes and who stokes that every time they perform together by getting thisclose to macking on him before pulling away. A third potential target is Ariana Grande, but Normani opened for her on her tour and presumably owes Ariana’s buzzy pop a debt of gratitude that’s at odds with this kind of “You’re a boring mess; time to freshen you up” sentiment. And not for nothing, but all those songs and strategies have worked insanely well for them and yielded some pretty solid bops in the process. I assume none of this will get any traction, but I’d also argue that someone potentially trying to start a feud on your behalf is messier than anything in pop music.