The long-anticipated, well-awaited album is finally here: Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman. I have the privilege of supporting one of the industry’s most talented vocalist by getting my hands on one of these copies. After listening to the whole album, how do the songs rank in my books? Was this album worth getting excited about? Without further ado, let’s run through the list…
15. Side to Side
Wait? Focus isn’t here? Not at this spot, I mean on her album. Maybe she realized it was trash. I hate that the list starts from the worst but here we are… a definite dud in the album. With a strong Caribbean vibe that reminds of something like Adam Levine’s Locked Away, the choruses are sure to disappoint after some nice build in the pre-chorus. I mean, just compare this to Locked Away to understand the difference between a good song and Side to Side.
Whoo! This party is awesome! What? I can’t hear you? This song is unoriginal, boring, and loud? That’s how I want it to be! On a more serious note, there is an insane whistle tone she hits in this if you look out for it. Or maybe it’ll be unmissable, I don’t know.
13. Knew Better/Forever Boy
The beginning is a bit off-putting but–trust me–it gets better as the song moves past the instrumental sections. Still, the global effect of all the editing is something that feels like it’s two songs put together. Perhaps it’s intentional but it still feels sloppy to me. The second “song” (Forever Boy) is better.
12. Bad Decisions
“Cause I know when you need it baby, that I got that oo oo.” Ah this is the first of a few songs on Grande’s new album that reminds me of something else I can’t pinpoint. Some of the lyrics are laughable (look above) but it definitely warrants a listen despite it’s outward stupidity–this is the closest Ariana Grande gets to rapping and it’s actually not bad*.
*Take critique with caution: I have no taste in rap.
Haha whose idea was it to throw the acoustic guitar sound into the album? Disorientating a bit–a byproduct of experimentation I guess. I’m not quite sure what all the “la la la” adds to the song but this feels mostly like an Ariana Grande song that would’ve been one of the forgotten tracks on My Everything. Not bad by any means, just unmemorable.
T9. Leave Me Lonely
Too slow for it’s own good I think but this is one the few collaborations–this time with Macy Gray–on Dangerous Women where I feel like the collaboration added something. It does nice to keep to the themes of the album, even to the point where this could’ve been called “dangerous love,” but it has a unique sound through the heavy use of the choir in the background. Also, this may be the only song where I preferred Grande’s performance of the lower parts. She sounds a bit young when she sing high in this one.
T9. I Don’t Care
Repetitive and slow but so darn groovy, I love that electric guitar that they got going throughout the song. I would say this is a song that could bore–especially with its prolonged instrumental ending–but nevertheless soaked with flavor. It personally kept me engaged.
8. Let Me Love You
Dark, brooding, and surprisingly mellow, Let Me Love You is a solid collaboration with Lil’ Wayne. I think what I appreciate most about this song is that it’s confident in its melody–it’s fairly monotonic. But it’s the steady atmosphere that hooks you in and keeps you listening. Lil’ Wayne’s rap duet thing with Grande provides a nice climax for the song to end on.
Ever wonder what would happen if you mashed Hercules, Uptown Funk, and Ariana Grande’s voice? You would get a song called Greedy. With all the catchiness of Uptown Funk and big belts that sounds like the gospel singers of Hercules could be singing, this is admittedly a strange song for Grande to feature her voice in. Still, it is charismatic and like Bang Bang, full of life.
6. Be Alright
Feels like Moonlight, making the same type of entrance with the use of chimes. It transitions into something that is a bit more typical of the album’s general sound but with more homage to Grande’s earlier work in Yours Truly. For those who want a nice iteration of Grande’s work in 2013 with an electronic spin, this is the song for you.
5. Thinking Bout You
One of those songs you know you’re gonna like the first second it plays. I’d be lying if I said I loved the chorus as much as the song’s first impression but I just like the verses that much. It does a similar thing like in Problem where she grows in pitch before the chorus which I really loved. A song that’ll definitely have your ears perked in an instant.
4. Touch It
There is something familiar about the song in the chorus but I can’t quite touch it–must be the chords or melody or something. Still, it feels fresh with all the strong techno vibes and creative verses. I love some of the intervals the songwriters chose to repeat and how her voice mimics a synthesizer at parts. All around awesome stuff for a very new and enjoyable take on Grande’s voice in her music.
3. Dangerous Woman
Haha I had to ask myself if she was trying to do rock when I first heard this but then the chorus came and put all questions aside: this is a terrific Grande translation into the genre, more of a fusion really. I couldn’t imagine a better title for this song–even I feel like a dangerous woman after listening to this. And just when you think it can’t get better, the last chorus hits your speakers. I’m pretty sure she belts a G5.
2. Into You
Surprise song of the album? Into You. I wasn’t expecting songs to be better than Dangerous Woman but this was love at first sound. The steady, pulsing bass line is addicting like it is in Gangnam Style and flat-out transforms in the chorus to give the song an edge that has been characterizing her new songs on this album. Simply put, Grande is finally getting electronic music right. Now this is a song I want to show up at a party.
Despite the album’s title, this is my favorite track in Dangerous Woman. Borrowing much from the peaceful and angelic tones of the titular song My Everything, Grande’s voice is complimented perfectly by the plucking and bow strokes of the orchestra. Her high register notes are a real highlight as the timbre rings and echos through the instruments and simple percussion. Best of all, it sounds really relaxed and I can’t think of one artist in the industry today who can deliver those notes so pristinely. Oh, and everytime she flips into head voice? I die.
Averaged album rating: 7.2/10.0 (Great)
Ariana’s transition from acoustic to electronic has finally matured in Dangerous Woman. While fans may dislike her new direction–hey, there’s still snaps to keep the beat–I like how she’s experimenting with different genres along with electronic and keeping some of the acoustic stuff that made My Everything, album and song, so good. Bunny ear hats off to you, Ariana.