Ariana Grande Becomes A Pop Star With ‘Dangerous Woman’
Becoming a pop star really doesn’t take that much effort anymore. All you need is a team of songwriters and producers to give you a hit song and you’ll become the next big thing. Sometimes, artists are ready to become the latest sensation and deliver the full package that a pop star is expected to have. More recently, nearly everyone is celebrated for essentially playing it safe and do not much of anything.
Enter Ariana Grande. Three years ago, she dropped her debut album ‘Yours Truly’ – a cute release that introduced a pint-sized girl with the voice of a legendary diva. A year later, she tossed her retro, R&B sound in favor of Max Martin production and was positioned as one of the biggest pop females. Was she? Hardly. Ariana was not ready to become as big as she did and lacked a lot of the characteristics she needed to own the title of pop princess.
Cut to today and a different Ariana. She’s released her third record ‘Dangerous Woman’ and, for the first time in her career, she can finally own the title of pop princess. Or as Nicki Minaj says “young Ariana run pop”.
If the music on ‘Dangerous Woman’ wasn’t so solid, we’d love to debate with Nicki. Instead, we’re joining her and Ariana’s legions of Arianators and singing her praises these days. Why? Well it’s because she’s earned it. After coming off a successful era with ‘My Everything’, it looked like Ariana was set to duplicate the success with the moderate hit ‘Focus’. Once that failed to stick, Ariana fired her team, enlisted a new one, and started over on her third record then called ‘Moonlight’.
Instead of a ‘My Everything’ 2.0, Ariana listened to herself as an artist and decided to take a risk to deliver a body of work that could represent the woman she is right now. To be honest, the credits behind ‘Dangerous Woman’ really do read like a rehash of her previous album. This time instead of being on trend and following the pack, the production on ‘Dangerous Woman’ is tighter, more developed, and a lot more complex. By taking elements of pop, R&B, EDM, hip-hop, and dancehall, Ariana has finally found her sound – something confident, sassy, rough around the edge, and authentic. Every song on the record could be hit.
And it’s funny, it’s those exact qualities in the production that have finally brought out Ariana’s playful personality. No longer are we question who is behind these songs and what Ariana has to offer to the pop genre. One minute she’s flirty and playful (‘Greedy’) and the next she’s a temptress (‘Into You’). When she’s not playing coy, she’s embracing her sexuality as a woman (‘Side to Side’, ‘Everyday’, ‘Dangerous Woman’) and giving into her deepest desires (‘Let Me Love You’, ‘Bad Decisions’).
Don’t be mistaken. ‘Dangerous Woman’ doesn’t just offer one superficial layer. There’s much more than the vampy persona that she’s putting forth. On the dreamy opening track ‘Moonlight’, she’s been caught by the love bug. On the deep house-pop jam ‘Be Alright’, she’s remains optimistic against a stormy patch. On the bluesy ‘Leave Me Lonely’, she stands tall against heartbreak. On soulful ‘Sometimes’, she falls head over heels in love for the first time ever. Sure, not the most inventive topics for a pop record – but the way they’re executed by Ariana make them sound so effortless and natural that none of that even matters.
And really that’s what it all comes back to. Her latest evolution seemed like the most logical place to take her music. Could it have been easy to re-do what she did? Of course, but what would she be proving? By allowing herself to be free and go with her instinct, she managed to craft her most cohesive album to date, sonically and thematically. To be frank, Ariana Grande has just delivered the pop album of 2016. What the hell are these other girls going to do?
They say third time’s a charm, and in this case it was true. The days of questioning Ariana Grande are over. Instead, it’s time to sit back and watch her wear the hell out of the pop princess title. Finally, we can say that she deserves it.
For more of our thoughts on Ariana Grande’s ‘Dangerous Woman’,
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