There is a lot to digest in Ariana Grande‘s new video for “God Is a Woman,” which was born on Friday (July 13), and is packed with a head-spinning array of visual, pop culture and historical references. Fans are finding themselves watching the video repeatedly, trying to pick up on the obvious and more subtle nods and special moments in the action-packed clip, which features 18 different looks for the singer.
Between a vocal cameo by Madonna, a screaming gopher that seems destined for instant meme fame and allusions to significant religious paintings, the video is full of memorable moments.
Here are 10 of the most special scenes from the dreamy drama that interlaces spirituality, sexuality and did we mention screaming gophers?
1) The Galaxy Revolves Around Ariana (0:05)
For hardcore Arianators, it might feel like the galaxy revolves around Ari. However in this video, the galaxy literally spins around her. Utilizing some slick visual effects, Grande sways her body back and forth, with the galaxy acting like a hula hoop around her.
2) Swimming In…Paint? (0:16)
Grande teased a picture on her Instagram of her laying naked in a pool of watercolor, and this look certainly didn’t disappoint in the video. Throughout the journey, Grande waves her arms up and down, re-circulating and drifting the various colors around her body like giant Spin-Art toy.
3) Deflecting The Haters (0:51)
Taking a page out of Taylor Swift‘s book, Grande sits on a large book with various hateful words being thrown at her from small men standing on the pages of what looks like a French novel. Words such as “bitch,” “fake” and “annoying” are thrown at Grande, but never penetrate through. As such, she flexes her immunity to hate thrown her way online and in the press by those who assume they know who the “real” Grande is.
4) Harry Potter Reference (1:01)
We all know Grande is a massive Harry Potter fan, so it would only make sense that she would include a possible reference to Fluffy, the three-headed dog from the first novel. Grande sings “when you try and come for me I keep on flourishing” while moving towards the camera, with a tri-muzzle mutt howling from behind her head.
5) Grande Emerges In A Flame (1:10)
Grande literally is on fire, or at least it appears that way in this soft-focus scene. The singer dances atop a thin wax candle, with the flame burning all around her, singing “you love it how I touch you,” giving a not-so-subtle visual reference to the heat of the intimate experience she’s describing.
6) Screaming Gopher (1:43)
It’s hard to get through this scene without laughing. The music abruptly stops after the first chorus, and suddenly several gophers pop out of their ground holes in a desert. One gopher looks at the camera, and starts screaming hysterically. The others then join in for what is sure to be a many meme’d scene.
7) Surprise Madonna Appearance, As God (2:28)
In arguably the most talked-about moment, the music stops yet again, with Grande holding a Thor-like hammer. Possible referencing the iconic 1984 Apple commercial, Grande seductively holds the weapon before throwing it up at the high cathedral ceilings, smashing the glass above. While this is happening, Grande mouths the famous Samuel L. Jackson monologue from Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film classic “Pulp Fiction.” In an amazing pop culture moment, the Ezekiel 25:17 passage made famous by Jackson in the film is recited by Madonna, who talks down from above as God, commanding, “I will strike down upon thee, with great vengeance and furious anger, those who attempt to poison and destroy my sisters, and you will know my name is the lord, when I lay my vengeance upon you.” Eagle-eyed fans will notice that “brothers” is swapped out for “sisters” in this case, adding to the track’s ladies-first vibe. The surprise cameo settled all the speculation about whether the two pop superstars were collaborating, after Grande posted a mysterious photo on July 11 thanking the “Vogue” singer, saying “you know why.”
8) Ariana Takes Us To Church (3:25)
Taking into account the chanting-type vocals at the end of the song and the spiritual undertones, it’s no surprise that towards the end of the video Grande leads what appears to be a massive choir. Dressed in white gowns, the dozens of singers put their hands in the air, praising Grande.
9) Ariana Walks the Line (3:30)
In a surprising turn of events, Grande walks across a thin copper wire over a field, holding onto large planet balloons that seemingly help her defy gravity and float like a gymnast over the verdant scene.
10) Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam (3:47)
Grande ends the video paying tribute to The Creation of Adam, a biblical representation of God giving life to the first man, Adam. The original Michelangelo fresco from the 1500’s can be seen on the dome of Italy’s Sistene Chapel, but Grande puts a new spin on the iconic image, cropping herself in as God.
Check out the full “God is a woman” video below.