Pop music has always been looked down upon by long haired indie kids in skinny jeans. How do I know? Because I used to be one of said indie kids. The hair is shorter now, but the skinny jeans remain. It has been a genre responsible for filling our charts with many a cheesy criminal record. But over the last couple of years something has shifted in the pop scene. Artists and bands such as Foxes, Zayn and Years & Years have come along and made pop music cool; credible. Hell, even the Beiber has released a handful of killer tunes. Ariana Grande is at the forefront of the pop revolution. In the past she has been better known for her high energy pop tunes such as ‘Problem’ and ‘Focus’. But with the release of her third album’s title track ‘Dangerous Woman’, it seems the pop starlet is stepping it up a gear, and giving us something classier and more mature.
There are elements of Weird Science to Ms. Grande. If you were asked to draw the perfect pop star, then no doubt you would come up with something not too far from the twenty-two year old singer. Her huge lungs are seemingly too big for her tiny frame, but they are sugary sweet, and once more seem to represent the perfect pop star. It can often be difficult the hear the lyrics she is singing, but it’s unimportant when backed with such perfectly produced, catchy pop tracks. On first listen there doesn’t seem to be as much chart fodder as her last album ‘My Everything’. And whilst that isn’t always the most important factor, for someone releasing music of this genre it is kind of expected. This new album doesn’t so much start with a bang; instead we are eased in gently with a fifties style ballad ‘Moonlight’, before moving on to the epic title track and leading single ‘Dangerous Woman’.
The album in general does seem a bit top heavy, with most of the big sounding tunes placed together in the first part of the album. ‘Into You’ is the first track that makes you want to dance. It only takes one listen to get you singing along ‘A little less conversation, and a little more touch my body’. Ridiculously catchy (It took everything I had to to sing along full blast on the tram this afternoon): The mark of a great pop tune. The other song that really grabbed my attention was ‘Greedy’. Surely a future single. A big catchy track with a killer key change.
There are a few collaborations on the album that work with different levels of success. There was a time when any self respecting pop/R&B star had to have a track with Lil Wayne and/or Nicki Minaj. That doesn’t seem to be the case to such an extent anymore, so it’s great to hear them both included on this album. Nicki and Ariana last worked together on Jesse J’s huge number one hit ‘Bang Bang’. They get together again in the absence of Ms. J, and the sound and tempo couldn’t be more different. ‘Side To Side’ has a really authentic and chilled out reggae vibe and the two girls’ voices sound great together. ‘Let Me Love You’ is her team up with Wayne and is dark and moody; possibly a sound you wouldn’t expect from a pop princess. I was most excited to hear her track with Macy Gray. A legend in her own right, it’s clear to see why this song happened. Macy’s vocals are deep and throaty, and a stark contrast to Ariana’s cleaner, smoother sound.
Despite the album’s ups and downs, there are without doubt some great tunes on here. Maybe there aren’t as many singles, but there is definite progression. It’s always interesting to see how artists can change their sound as they grow up, and Ariana Grande seems to have done it the right way. She has moved on enough to stop her solidifying, but kept enough sass to keep long term fans happy. No doubt it will be as huge as its predecessor.