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Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande broke records this summer when their new single, “Rain On Me,” marked the first female collaboration to debut at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was the most streamed song by any female artist around the world. Although the accompanying music video features the pair dancing during a rainstorm, the song isn’t about rain at all. 

Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga performing 'Rain On Me'
Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga perform during the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards | Kevin Winter/MTV VMAs 2020/Getty Images for MTV

Many fans thought Lady Gaga says ‘I’d rather be drunk, but at least I’m alive’

After the song debuted at number one, fans still thought the iconic singer-songwriter was singing, “I’d rather be drunk, but at least I’m alive.” The real lyrics are “I’d rather be dry.” Fans had an entire conversation on Reddit about what the word actually was.

“I thought that was the lyrics too,” one fan wrote. “It’s odd how both words are related (dry being sober, drunk being not sober).”

Other fans add that it even looks like she is mouthing the word “drunk” in the music video.

“Listen, I really, REALLY thought it was ‘drunk,'” another fan added. “I am STILL convinced that if you read Gaga’s lips in the video, she is saying drunk some of the time. She had to get in one more good party song before she stops ‘flirting with sobriety’ & they go all the way!”

Lady Gaga admitted the song is about drinking herself numb

It turns out that fans were onto something. While Gaga is not saying “I’d rather be drunk,” she was referring to using alcohol to numb herself. 

“My existence in and of itself was a threat to me,” she told Billboard about the song’s inspiration. “I thought about really dark shit every single day.”

Gaga went through a very tough time after her Joanne World Tour. She spent days on end drinking, crying, and chain-smoking. Writing and producing the song with Grande helped her to come out of that depression.

“This is about an analog of tears being the rain,” the music icon told Elle. “And you know what it’s also a metaphor for, is the amount of drinking that I was doing to numb myself. I’d rather be dry. I’d rather not be drinking, but I haven’t died yet. I’m still alive — rain on me. OK, I’m going to keep on drinking. This song has many layers.”

Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga became friends while making ‘Rain On Me’

Gaga also told Elle that making the music video with Grande was a “very healing process” for her. She admitted that Grande tried to be friends with her, but Gaga refused for a while. 

“When she came into the studio, I was still crying, and she was not,” Gaga told the outlet. “And she was like, ‘You’re going to be OK. Call me, here’s my number.’ And she was so persistent. She would try over and over again to be friends with me. And I was too ashamed to hang out with her because I didn’t want to project all of this negativity onto something that was healing and so beautiful.

Lady Gaga Admitted She Cried Watching ‘The Bachelorette’ Kaitlyn Bristowe’s ‘DWTS’ Debut To Her Song

Gaga finally gave in, and she recalls, “this friendship blossomed.” When the song finally came out, Grande reflected on how “beautiful and healing it feels to mothaf*ckinnnn cry [sic]! I hope this makes you all feel as uplifted as it does for us both,” Grande tweeted.