by Alex Solari, Staff Writer
If you still see Ariana Grande as an innocent girl from Nickelodeon’s Victorious, watch out, because you’re in for a surprise.
On May 20, 2016, Grande released her third album, titled Dangerous Woman. This album is the perfect mix between sexy and serious, with every song throwing a surprise into your preconceived notion of Ariana Grande.
You might hear a song like “Side to Side” and think that Grande is too provocative or immature. But, upon listening to songs like “Dangerous Woman,” “Into You,” and “Jason’s Song (Gave It Away),” you will quickly realize that Ariana includes light, fun songs along with more personal ones to show her real life as a young woman figuring herself out.
Though Ariana Grande’s past albums were successful, they seemed calculated. Her first album, Yours Truly, came out while she was still a star on Nickelodeon.
It was clear that this album was released at a time when she knew she’d be leaving the channel, and she wanted to show fans her incredible musical skills.
However, the album almost seems inauthentic, since many of her fans were too young to be singing songs like the new single “Side to Side”.
Her older songs seem far more handpicked, to cater to a younger fan base, and differ from what she’s currently working on.
Now, Grande is unapologetic about her sexuality, her past relationships, and her freedom as a 22-year old woman. Ariana is fierce, and she will sing to you about it in her ridiculous four-octave range.
Grande also guest features artists like Future, Macy Gray, Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Wayne, with each artist bringing something new to this already eclectic album.
Truthfully, Grande’s collaboration with Minaj was almost a predictable move, since they have worked together on songs like “Bang Bang” by Jessie J and Minaj’s “Get On Your Knees.”
However, Minaj seems to make any song sexier and more risqué, so her feature on “Side to Side” definitely enhanced its already provocative vibe.
Grande’s songs with Lil’ Wayne and Future give a hip-hop feel that would be impossible without them. A great perk about this album is how many different genres blend together without feeling forced.
These two features allow Grande to push the boundary on what kind of songs can appear together and still sound like one, cohesive album.
And finally, Grande’s song with Macy Gray, “Leave Me Lonely,” is incredible. Anyone can agree both women have incredible vocals that work together perfectly.
Though Grande’s other collaborations throughout this album enhance her own talent, this collaboration really brings this album to a whole new level.
As well put together as this album seems, it had a few bumps in the road. According to Vulture, the intended name of her latest album was Moonlight, and the intended debut single for the album was the song “Focus” that came out last October.
“Focus” was ultimately less successful than expected, so the plans changed. Instead of “Focus,” the debut single ended up being “Dangerous Woman,” and of course, the album’s name changed to Dangerous Woman as well.
As much as I enjoy the song “Focus,” I’m glad things turned out the way they did.
Though “Focus” has the same fun, catchy vibe that “Side to Side” does, it simply doesn’t fit in with the rest of the songs on her album.
“Dangerous Woman” really ties together every individual song and personally, I think it’s the perfect name as well.
Even if you’re like me, and consider yourself hipster and too cool to listen to mainstream music, I would seriously suggest at least giving this album a listen. There’s no denying Grande’s talent, and her ability to make us play her songs over and over again.