Song You Need to Know: Normani, ‘Motivation’

Every blue moon, you can actually hear a pop superstar be born. “Motivation” is that song, and Normani is that superstar in the making (but already well ahead in her development).

Prior to “Motivation,” Normani had quite a successful incubation period, first as a member of Fifth Harmony and then with two Top 10 solo singles. However, everything we had heard from her in the period following Fifth Harmony’s hiatus had been collaborations, pairing her voice with fellow R&B-pop stars. “Motivation,” co-written by Ariana Grande, Max Martin, Savan Kotecha, Ilya Salmanzadeh and Normani, is the first time she has presented herself as a true solo artist able to carry a song on her own. She far exceeds expectation.

Both song and video tip to the early Aughts — when R&B and pop first became indistinguishable from one another. The song sounds like it has been playing on the radio for years, a seasoned hit that captures both recent music history as well as Normani’s own story. Lyrically, the song is a simple, sexy treat. She needs her lover to stay “motivated” and doesn’t want to keep putting in unreturned effort. The key to the song is the dual meaning of the chorus’ most emphasized line: “Think about it/Ooh/Take a look at me now.” At this point, it will be hard to keep all eyes off of Normani.

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