Urban Contemporary, 2016
Ariana Grande’s reported diva antics and her creepy efforts to look sexy despite resembling a girl barely in her teens may have eclipsed her music, but really, the music itself is solid. Dangerous Woman may not have immediately catchy tunes like those in My Everything, but the songs are on the whole well-produced and catchy. The downside here is that they are all on the generic side.
The lead single Focus is clearly an effort to follow the footsteps of the criminally catchy Problem, the lead single of the previous album, but sticking to the formula is not exactly successful here as Focus is more of a slow burn track, taking a few listens to fully register as a ear worm of any sort. Let Me Love You, Be Alright, and various other tracks all tend to blend together into one long bass test that reminds me of songs done by various other female artists before. Fortunately, the duds are outweighed by the number of better tracks.
When Ms Grande kick things up, it is easier to wake up and pay attention. The title track is a retro-influenced track that can get my swaying, while the reggae-influenced Side by Side kicks up the tempo and sees her going all out with the sassy attitude. The expletive-heavy Everyday is a smooth, sultry track with a really unforgettable chorus that sees her cooing about how she keeps getting “good shit” from her beau any time, every day. Her duet with Macy Gray, Dangerous Love, is straight out of a James Bond soundtrack, with Ms Grande’s smoother mumbling-singing contrasting wonderfully with Ms Gray’s more husky growlings to offer a feast for the ears. Thinking Bout You is a rather typical power ballad, but it serves to remind everyone that she can carry a tune very well if her heart is in it.
Dangerous Woman is another episode in Ariana Grande’s efforts to step into the vacuum vacated by Mariah Carey and the like. It’s almost a shame that for the most part, her voice is processed to the point that she’s stuck with the “mumbling princess” label, but still, she can still bring it where it counts the most.