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"Motivation" is a song by American singer Normani. The song was released on August 16, 2019, as the lead single from her upcoming debut studio album. The song was written by Normani, Ariana Grande, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Savan Kotecha, and its producer Max Martin. A remix featuring 21 Savage was released soon after.

Background

The song was initially teased with a snippet by Normani on August 2, 2019 via her website. She further stated that Ariana Grande was involved in co-writing, during Rolling Stone's Morning Sessions at Lollapalooza, explaining, "[Ariana]'s dope. She also has a part in the record that I'm releasing too. She wrote on it." The song was officially announced on August 9, 2019. Normani has described the song as a "feel-good song" and it is very performance worthy. The song is also produced by Max Martin, Ilya Salmanzadeh, and Savan Kotecha.

Music video

A music video was released alongside the song on August 16 and was directed by Dave Meyers and Daniel Russell. It features homages to music videos from the early 2000s, such as "Crazy in Love" by Beyoncé, "...Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears and "I'm Real" by Jennifer Lopez.

The video begins with a younger version of Normani watching the BET music video countdown show 106 & Park and daydreaming that former hosts Terrence J and Rocsi Diaz announce that she has the "#1 video in the world", while her grandmother in the background tells her to lower the noise but then gives her blessing. As "Motivation" starts to play, it transitions from the living room to the screen where she is seen walking in the middle of a road, inspired by Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love". The second sequence is a dance sequence, with Normani dancing with her dancers in a Los Angeles neighborhood. The scene shifts to a fence background where Normani is seen climbing the fence while dance before moving to a basketball court where she does gymnastic choreography, inspired by Britney Spears' "...Baby One More Time", and a basketball technique that is inspired by Jennifer Lopez's "I'm Real". A rain sequence is then shown where Normani is accompanied by a band. The video ends as Normani performs a final dance routine in the night.

Critical reception

The song received positive reviews from music critics, Forbes wrote that "Motivation" "sounds like the perfectly-crafted pop song [...] catchy, summery and fun", adding that it is reminiscent of co-writer and Ariana Grande's sound, and while familiar, it "provides something currently missing from the pop landscape." i-D said the song is a "smash" with a catchy chorus, and it recalls the "Rich Harrison-produced pop of the early 2000s" and Beyoncé's Coachella performance. Pitchfork named it "Best New Track", saying Normani's "sultry, syncopated vocal lines bear the imprint of co-writer Ariana Grande", and she "seems to draw on both "Check On It"-era Beyoncé and the brassy sounds of Homecoming." The Guardian described the song as a "buoyant, horn-laced, late-summer BBQ bop that nestles in the nook between Ariana Grande and 2006-era Beyoncé.

Live performances

Normani performed "Motivation" live for the first time at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards on August 26, 2019. 

Lyrics

I'ma break you off, let me be your motivation
To stay and give it tonight
And, baby, turn around, let me give you innovation, hey
'Cause I do it so right

You got that good good, baby, don't you?
Got that good good, baby, don't you?
But you leavin' solo
Ain't regular, that ain't regular
I ain't gon' keep, keep fightin' for it
Ain't gon' keep, keep fightin' for it
'Cause you know this thing here
Ain't regular, that ain't regular

Fallin' into the bed
Why would we ever do somethin' instead of
Fallin' into the bed right now? Yeah

I'ma break you off, let me be your motivation
To stay and give it tonight
And, baby, turn around, let me give you innovation
Hey, 'cause I do it so right
Think about it, ooh, I think about it
Think about it, ooh, take a look at me now
Hey, a little motivation, alright

You got a bad one, baby, don't you?
Got a bad one, baby, don't you?
And we both know there's no
One better, boy, no one better, boy
Too late, won't make it, I'ma tell 'em (Yeah)
Get you naked, but I won't tell 'em (Woo)
'Cause you know that there's no
One better, boy, no one better, boy

Fallin' into the bed
Why would we ever do somethin' instead of
Fallin' into the bed right now?
Eh, right now, now

I'ma break you off, let me be your motivation
To stay and give it tonight (And give it tonight)
And, baby, turn around, let me give you innovation
Hey, 'cause I do it so right
Think about it, ooh, I think about it
Think about it, ooh, take a look at me now
Hey, a little motivation, alright

Hey, oh
A little motivation
Oh

I'ma break you off, let me be your motivation
To stay and give it tonight
And, baby, turn around, let me give you innovation
Hey, 'cause I do it so right
Think about it, ooh, I think about it
Think about it, ooh, take a look at me now
Hey, a little motivation, alright

Oh
Oh

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