It seemed only yesterday that Ariana Grande made her debut in Music. After two successful Albums, nothing can stop this starlet’s rise and rise to become one of the most influencial singers of this generation. She surely can sing; with her impressive set of pipes; and with that she has been compared by some with Mariah Carey, although that has created some heated debate on the internet world, seemingly it only helped Grande’s exposure and increasing popularity. She is also currently being followed by 76.5 million people on Instagram; that’s like a whole country!
What’s else has she been up to you may ask? She has since released her own fragrance named Ari and also named the latest spokes person for MAC Cosmetic’s Viva Glam Campaign (previous spokes person include Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Ricky Martin). She is literally popping up everywhere in Pop culture. Oh and of course it also doesn’t hurt to have a beautiful face too. Grande showed no sign of stopping, releasing her chart topping, third studio album Dangerous Woman on May 20th. Here are my thoughts on Grande’s latest sounds after listening to the album from start to finish in one go.
Track by track (Dangerous Woman – Deluxe Edition)
- “Moonlight” – A nice, soft opening tune talking about sweet crush on her lover. It is an easy tune to listen to. The “sweet” nature of the laid back musical arrangement and is just perfect for Ariana’s voice and brand. Grande originally intended to name this album after this song* but later changed it.
- “Dangerous Woman” – The album’s title track is such a stand out track. I simply cannot get bored from listening putting it on repeat. It steered away from the Grande’s previous smash hit”Problem”. Both the lyrics and vocal style and music is slightly mature and suggestive in comparison to . A sultry song with a message of empowerment and confidence, which makes this song even more more appealing.
- “Be Alright” – gives a more upbeat and “cool” modern vibe. Upon first listen, it reminds me of songs you will find on a H&M soundtrack if you know what I mean. It contains some very modern beats and punches, which is so relevant to Grande’s target audience. Go ahead and put this song into the “Getting ready for a Saturday night out” playlist; a very nice weekend track indeed. Absolutely love this beat. It’s exciting and sweet at the same time.
- “Into You” – If you want to pick one song to dance to in this album, this is it. It is actually one of my favourite songs in this album. It’s disco synths builds up to the explosive climx of the song, which will hook on to you like some kind of dance drug until after the song is finished. We will be sure to hear this in many nightclubs in coming months. You really just want to dance listening to catchy beats of this song. I am so into this addictive track.
- “Side To Side” (featuring Nicki Minaj) – giving out some major tropical island vibe with a little hint of groove plus the heavy beats to back it all up to create this funky tune. As soon as the music stars, it instantly reminded me of Rihanna’s “Loud” album which is also fun and playful. This is Grande’s second collaboration with Nicki Minaj – I especially like the musical arrangement with a hint of hip hop once Ms Minij makes her vocal appearance.
- “Let Me Love You” (featuring Lil Wayne) – this sultry R&B tune slows down the pace of the album for the second half of the play list. Lyrically it talks about getting over an ex and in the search of new love plus possibly a one-night-stand situation. This song sounds sensual with the deep-bass mixed with Grande’s sexy breathy vocal; all while Lil Wayne sings some very heated words such as “she lay her head on my new chain/ then the mood change/ oh lord she is grinding on this Grande”.
- “Greedy” – while I wouldn’t compare with but it heavily reminds me of Beyonce’s “Love On Top”. It’s very uptown and funky and suits Grande’s brand and style. Vocal delivery and music arrangement are cute and fun and young and upbeat for summer.
- “Leave me lonely” (featuring Macy Gray) – a welcoming guest appearance from Macy Gray right at the beginning. It provided a nice contrast between Gray’s raspy vocal and Grande’s pitch perfect voice. The collaboration gives another dimension to the overall album.
- “Everyday” (featuring Future) – A flirty track featuring Future. You get Furture repeateadly singing his one word chorus of “everyday”. It’s not bad but it is not one that I would be searching for on my song list.
- “Sometimes^” – the acoustic guitar brings a little more chilled feel to the album. Grande is madly in love with someone that she could not bring herself to thinking of leaving. Nothing too out of the ordinary both vocally and musically.
- “I Don’t Care^” – Grande showcased her versatility with this Chicago soul. I welcome the variety. Ariana’s vocal is implacable and it even reminded me slightly of Mariah Carey.
- “Bad Decisions” – Grande proclaiming her love for bad boys. Is this what make her dangerous? I don’t think so. It’s not bad but nothing too remarkable.
- “Touch It^” – that old story of girl expressing her one sided love. This song left quite an impression on me (especially with the repetitive “touch it”) which is almost hypnotic upon first listen. I personally would wish this is included in the standard version also since it is actually quite a catchy tune.
- “Knew better/ Forever boy^” – This is one thing that I do not understand; why put two half songs together and tittle it with both song names with a slash in between? Wouldn’t it make sense to make two complete songs instead? Is is because they are too similar? Anyway I prefer “Forever Boy” better than “Knew Better”.
- “Thinking Bout You” – an adequate closing track to the album. The song ended abruptly and cleanly concluding the whole album. Clean and sharp indeed. You are now left wondering “who is she thinking about when she made this album?”.
Dangerous Woman portraits a generally more mature and sensual image of Grande, which she has been doing since she left her Nikelodeon days behind. Every track delivers something different but together they feel mostly coherent and cohesive enough to listen to all in one go if you want to. I can easily listening to this album from beginning to end for the entire fifty-five minutes and thirty-four seconds (thirty-nine minutes and thirty-one seconds for the standard edition) – I would also do the same to Rihanna’s 2010 Loud.
Some songs will need a second hearing to get into but many will make you hit the repeat button after the initial listen. A few of the songs will definitely be remixed and become instant hits on the dance floor/radio, and that’s a good sign for Ms Grande’s musical spread and longevity. This album has all that it needs to become a nice summer album. It has a little bit of everything Grande is great at but at the same time it feels rather safe. To me it did not really tap into any new territories from her previous musics.
Overall, I can imagine that it will appeal to many demographics; girls want to be her and guys want to be with her. Grande has everything she needs to become an even bigger star and I cannot wait to see what else she will come up with next.
^tracks are only included in the Deluxe Edition
*Roth, Madeline (May 30, 2015). “Ariana Grande Revealed Her New Album Title – And It’s Literally Out of This World”. MTV. Archived from the original on May 30, 2015.