Ariana Grande presents herself as ‘Dangerous Woman’ on new record
After a long period of teasers and promo singles the wait is finally over. Ariana Grande releases her brand new third studio album Dangerous Woman. The American singer and actress out grew her Nickelodeon image on the predecessor My Everything, which marked her true breakthrough as a pop star. She continues to grow on Dangerous Woman where she presents herself as a ‘dangerous’ young woman with sexual desires and a sensual voice, which already became clear when listening to the first two singles, the title track and ‘Into You’.
Based on both singles which are quite different, the album could have gone two ways. ‘Dangerous Woman’ showed Ariana’s vocal growth with a big, slightly bluesy chorus, where she belted out. Quite a daring single choice which suits her like a glove. ‘Into You’ is a brilliant Max Martin production with a dance vibe and a huge hook. Pop perfection basically, but a bit more predictable. On the record, Ariana and her team seem to try to give us the best of both worlds, which only works partially.
Grande opens the album on a sugary sweet note with the classic ballad ‘Moonlight’, which was supposed to be the title track at first. She sounds glorious vocally, but in terms of cuteness, this song better fitted her debut, especially as most tracks on the album have quite the sexual nature. The change of album name therefore makes sense! Not only the two earlier mentioned singles follow this path, as the Lil Wayne collaboration ‘Let Me Love You’ takes it a whole lot further. Ariana states how she just broke up with her ex, but is not worried as she knows another guy will walk in to her life (and bed) soon during some seriously strong and promising verses. Than the disappointing ‘let me lo-o-o-o-ove you’ chorus comes along, before Lil Wayne comes in to completely murder the tune with some awkward raps. I for one don’t really want to hear how he wants Ariana to be ‘grinding on his Grande’.
Luckily for us, Ariana’s sensual side does sound a whole lot better on some other tunes. Take for example the funky and swinging ‘Greedy’. That track is right on the money and should become a hit rather sooner than later. The same goes for the radio friendly and summery single to be ‘Side To Side’ with a rap from Nicki Minaj that actually adds something to the tune. The best collaboration on the record however is the surprising Macy Gray duet ‘Leave Me Lonely’. Grande has never sounded so soulful before, but this is definitely something she should dive in deeper. After this interesting piece of soulful pop, a faceless banger like ‘Bad Decisions’ sounds completely out of place on the same record.
Throughout the record, Grande flirts with soul, blues, R&B and there is even a little hint of jazz to be found, but at the same time, the flow of the album is let down by a few faceless tunes that do not match with the artistic growth she is trying to go through. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pure pop when it is as good as ‘Into You’ or the mid tempo ‘Touch It’, two tracks that actually fit her voice and persona on this record, but in order to take things to the next level she could do without the impersonal vibe of ‘Bad Decisions’, ‘Sometimes’ or ‘Be Alright’. Ariana Grande matured and sounds better, more original and personal on Dangerous Woman by experimenting with new sounds, but still has a long way to grow!
Must listen: Into You, Dangerous Woman, Greedy, Leave Me Lonely, Side to Side