Ariana Grande – My Everything (Album Review)

On the surface, it might be easy to compare Ariana Grande to popstars who were stars on children’s shows before they turned to music full time. However, it’s pretty clear that Ariana has vocal chops that are much different from her peers. Since her debut album dropped a year before this one, the singer automatically drew comparisons to classic R&B diva Mariah Carey, due to her vocal ability and the general vintage feel to her music. With My Everything, which was released back in August, Ariana has proved that she isn’t just a Mariah copycat, she has her own voice that’s much different from Mariah’s. The album as a whole captures the maturity and growth of this young artist who became a pop sensation seemingly overnight.

When I first listened to the track “Bang Bang” back in August, it wasn’t nearly as overplayed as it is at this point. However, I still stand by my first impression, this song is definitely the catchiest and most fun on the album. Jessie J, Ariana, and Nicki Minaj are all having fun throughout the song and that carries, making the song a lot more awesome.

One of the biggest songs of summer 2014, “Problem” is pretty much the song that only further enhanced Ariana Grande’s starpower. She was already receiving attention from critics and fans, but this song definitely placed her on the map and made her a true popstar. The song uses a lot of horns which is a musical instrument rarely seen in pop songs, but it works naturally with this song. The guest appearance by Iggy Azalea (and Big Sean’s guest whispering part) helps add to the general sassiness of the song. Ariana’s vocals are also especially full of range on this one. The girl goes from singing “Hey baby, even though I hate you, I want to love you” in her typical voice, to going up several octaves and pleading, “Tell me, tell me baby, why can’t you leave me?”

I decided I’d take a break from talking about the songs from Ariana Grande that most people already know, and talking about the ones that aren’t all that popular. “Break Your Heart Right Back” is one of my favorites on the album because of the sampling of Diana Ross’s timeless song, “I’m Coming Out.” The guest verse from Childish Gambino isn’t needed, Grande can carry the weight of the track by herself. But the appearance still doesn’t outshine Grande’s main vocals which is important.

“Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart” isn’t a single on the album, but it’s one out of about three ballads on this album and I personally love her voice here. I’ve read a lot of reviews that have criticized this song in particular. It was written by One Direction member Harry Styles, which is partly why people think the lyrics aren’t very good. The lyrics aren’t exactly complex, “I’ll still be a fool, ’cause I’m a fool for you.” It showcases the pure range and emotion of Grande’s voice, which some of the pop songs sprinkled throughout the album fail to do. I think this isn’t the best ballad on the album, I just wanted to mention it because it’s received a lot of attention. Side note: I really love this live performance of the song.

“One Last Time” is the most recent single on the album so I felt like I should note this one. “I know I should have fought it, at least I’m being honest,” is a lyric that shows a lot of maturity from this young superstar. She continues her confessions with the lyric, “I know that you’ve got everything, but I’ve got nothing here without you,” a line that really describes the theme on this album of sincerity, growth, and also a mix of guilt that the narrator obviously feels. The video is weird, but the song is beautiful!

Despite the various guest appearances that aren’t needed, this is a sophomore album that proves Ariana Grande has a bright future making pop music. I don’t think she’s going to be a true pop diva on the level of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, but I think her sound is very current and she still has a lot of room to grow even further on her third album.

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