The new Charlies Angels video marks the return of a pop staple. Here we chart its feathered history
Fierce triumvirate of pop Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey pull out all the stops in the video for Dont Call Me Angel. It has all the aesthetics of a classic pop video a boxing ring la Christina Aguileras Dirrty, a room full of futuristic computers, a grape buffet – but most importantly, there are three pairs of wings, adorned by its three stars.
While Destinys Child were distinctly wing-free in the video for their Charlies Angels theme Independent Women Pt 1, and Pink shunned it in her Charlies Angels: Full Throttle track, the William Orbit-fuelled Feel Good Time, the fluttering trope has appeared throughout pops history. It is multifaceted, too: the wing motif is not only utilised when the artist hopes to convey innocence, earnestness or the afterlife, but a new generation has realised you can sport the angelic accessories and still look hard. To pay tribute to the feathered friend, heres a rundown of some of pops finest wing moments.
Mariah Careys Butterfly wings
The elusive musician missed an opportunity when she used galloping horses instead of be-winged caterpillars in her Butterfly video, but she has certainly milked the imagery since then. Mimi reached her wing-based peak when she brought out a soft drink called Butterfly, described as a melodic beverage inspired by the magic of Mariah Carey. Yes, really.
Paul McCartneys Wings
Legend has it that Macca came up with the band name Wings as Stella McCartney was born. Hailed by Alan Partridge as the band the Beatles could have been, but lambasted by Paul McCartney as terrible, who can argue with the majesty of Jet?
Marilyn Mansons goth wings
Just plain scary. See also: Adam Lambert, David Bowies skeletal disco wings that lit up the Glass Spider tour.
Westlife: Flying Without Wings
If muscle tops made a man fly, then the bestooled boyband would be soaring in the video for their 1999 MOR ballad.
Kanye West: Grammys, with wings
Yeezy went full angel at the 2005 Grammys, slipping into a pair of feathery numbers mid-Jesus Walks. Oh, of course he did. Its lucky he created the heavenly diversion or it would have been remembered as the year that Maroon 5 beat him to best new artist.
Miley Cyrus: Cant Be Tamed wings
Dont Call Me Angel is not Cyruss first dalliance with wings in a music video. She wore a huge pair of flappers in her clip for Cant Be Tamed, taking the metaphor even further by cavorting in a birdcage and pole-dancing in a cage. A bit like Rachel Stevens gone bad.
Lady Gaga: serial flapper
Mother Monster debuted a hint of wing in the Born This Way video, went minimalist angel in Applause and unleashed the full feather at 2016s Victorias Secret catwalk show. She even forced her piano to wear them at the 2018 Grammys.
Little Mix: Wings
Little Mix added to pops wing-based canon with their 2012 hit. In its video, however, it seemed that budget stretched to headgear, chairs and dancers, but no literal wings, just the metaphorical kind.
Harry Styles: Sign of the Times wings
Who needs wings when youve got a voluminous coat? Styles achieved the Westlife-like feat of flying without wings in his video. He also walked on water, so there might have been a little camera trickery involved. Or strings, like on the early Steps tours, when H would fly over the audience like a freshly shaven Jesus.
Billie Eilish: emo wings
Eilish appeared to sprout actual wings for her All the Good Girls Go to Hell video and chucked in actual tar and fire.
Katy Perry: going large
If Grande, Cyrus and Del Ray thought they were impressing fans with their modest wings, they obviously hadnt seen photos of Katy Perry at the 2018 Met Gala. Never knowingly understated, K-Pez added the added feathery accessories to her gold Versace dress and nearly knocked someone out. Paging health and safety