The Lyrics Behind Ariana Grande’s and Kid Cudi’s Oscar-Buzzing Song in ‘Don’t Look Up’

Ariana Grande and Kid Cudi can pretty much do it all. Not only are they both award-winning artists they both are not so bad at acting either. Grande and Kid Cudi star as an on-and-off-again A-list couple, Riley Bina and DJ Chello in Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up —a disaster film, where the world comes to an end after being hit by a comet.

With a huge social media following, the estranged lovers join forces to help raise awareness of the comet fast approaching Earth. In the film, Grande as superstar Riley Bina takes to the stage to perform her new single « Just Look Up. » At first, it sounds like any other love ballad, with Grande/Riley detailing her love for her partner and the strength of their love in overcoming any obstacles in their way

Kid Cudi as DJ Chello joins Riley on stage and performs his verse, where he raps about two lovers in their final moments. However, things take a turn when Grande beings singing towards the end about the world ending. She begs people to listen to the « goddam qualified scientists » and that the damage to our planet is « happening in real time, » a reference to the wider climate crisis we are currently experiencing, not just a fictional comet hitting the earth.

Newsweek has the full lyrics below:

We knew no bounds
Fell at the speed of sound
Ridin’ against all odds, but soon against ourselves
You haunted every memory
With no goodbyes, all bad for me
Your pride put out the fire in our flames

Then just one look is all it takes
I feel your eyes, they’re locked on every part of me
And then my dumb heart says
Just look up
There is no place to hide
True love doesn’t die
It holds on tight and never lets you go
Just look up
You cannot deny the signs
What you’ve waited for
Don’t wait no more
It’s right up above you
Just look up

Kid Cudi as DJ Chello and Ariana Grande as Riley Bina in « Don’t Look Up. »
NIKO TAVERNISE/NETFLIX

Know I let you down, a n**** can’t deny it (uh-huh)
And there’s so much I could lose it and, yes, that matters (yeah)
I’ve been dealin’ with madness (yo)
Wasn’t the man you needed (hmm)
You dealin’ with sadness, truthfully, it’s all on me (hmm)
And I’m sorry, my love (uh, uh)
I’ma heal your heart, I’ll hold it in my hand (ooh, yeah)
Time is oh so precious, we don’t really have much left now (ooh)
Take my hand, baby (yeah), never leave you, Riley

Look up, what he’s really trying to say
Is get your head out of your ass
Listen to the g**damn qualified scientists
We really f***ed it up, f***** it up this time
It’s so close, I can feel the heat big time
And you can act like everything is alright
But this is probably happening in real time
Celebrate or cry or pray, whatever it takes
To get you through the mess we made
‘Cause tomorrow may never come

Just look up
Turn off that s*** Fox News
‘Cause you’re about to die soon everybody
Ooh, I, oh, I
Look up
Here it comes
I’m so glad I’m here with you forever
In your arms

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Watching the performances, audience members may not know whether to laugh or cry and may be left wondering if the song is legitimate. Yes, the song is a real song, penned especially for the film by Grande, composer Nicholas Britell, lyricist Taura Stinson and Scott Mescudi, aka Kid Cudi.

The song is so real, it made the Oscar’s shortlist for Best Original Song. The track is up against the likes of « So May We Start » from Annette, « Down to Joy » from Belfast, « Guns Go Bang » from The Harder They Fall and « Be Alive » from King Richard.

Speaking to The Wrap, Stinson shared the song was a reflection of our world today.

She said: « It’s a time capsule kind of song « You can take it as pollution or climate change or the vaccine. As I sat around the holidays with my family and a mask, it wasn’t hard to fathom that. And it’s not so tricky after you turn on the news and think, ‘Oh, my God, did that politician just say that?’ It resonated with me deeply, just the idea that our world could just end because, essentially, for so many people, that’s what happened last year. COVID was the meteor. »

Britell added: « It was such a tricky thing to pull off. It has to be a sincere love song, and it has to really feel like a good song. This is a comedy, but the song isn’t a joke song—it’s a sincere, real song that happens to express this absurd explanation of what is happening. »

Don’t Look Up is streaming on Netflix now.

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