The Pussycat Dolls’ ‘React’ Lyrics Explained

The Pussycat Dolls have reunited and given us a hot new hit single to “React” to.

Fronted by The Masked Singer co-host Nicole Scherzinger and debuting in 2003, the burlesque-themed girl group quickly clawed its way to the top of the charts. Satiating a girl group demand left wide open without, say, the Spice Girls, it’s not hard to see why they were successful. Before disbanding in 2010, the group sold millions of records with their two albums, per Rolling Stone, and hits like “When I Grow Up,” and “Don’t Cha” are promiscuous, liberating classics. Formed by choreographer Robin Antin and Interscope Records, as Rolling Stone wrote, PCD is a prime example of an industry-created outfit that worked. Well, at least they worked on paper. 

Beneath the gloss of the group was clearly some unrest. In 2017, former member Kaya Jones, who left before their first record dropped, took to Twitter to describe her alleged experience differently. “I wasn’t in a girl group. I was in a prostitution ring,” Jones wrote. “Oh & we happened to sing & be famous. While everyone who owned us made the $.” Though its founder dismissed the claims as “disgusting, ridiculous lies” per The Blast, it raised eyebrows, as the industry can be a dark place.

Luckily, the Pussycat Dolls reunited in 2020 to take control of their narrative with the empowering and table-turning “React.” Scroll down for the meaning behind the fiery song.

On 'React,' the Pussycat Dolls are more fiery than ever

So what is the meaning of Pussycat Dolls’ “React” (their first single since they broke up)? When its music video dropped on Feb. 7, 2020, fans started deciphering its lyrics. 

With a chorus that goes, “Every time I leave you pull me closer / I hang up the phone, you call me back / Why don’t you mess me ’round like you’re supposed to? / You’re turning me cruel ’cause I’m just wanting you to react,” it’s clear the narrator wants a little more passion. In other words, “React” is about wanting a little fire out of your romantic partner when they’re the “nice guy.” And it’s about being proud of that. It’s empowering to see the Dolls not only being fierce as ever, but laying down exactly what they want. 

“Returning to the Dolls has been a complete 180 that has brought back all the good and elevated our work to another level,” Nicole Scherzinger said in a statement after the song dropped, per Rolling Stone. “We are women who are on the other side of a lot of life experiences — it has given us so much perspective and growth. And then being able to release our music independently at this moment in time feels incredibly empowering.” With great choreography and a clear message, the Pussycat Dolls have taken control of their voice, from a romance perspective, and with their careers. 

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