Urban Contemporary, 2014
The impressive thing about Ariana Grande’s My Everything is that nearly half the songs here are collaborations with other artists. This isn’t a bad thing, of course, it’s merely a demonstration of her team’s marketing savvy in pairing her off with other flavors of the month to reach out to the biggest audience possible.
Now, you may have heard of people comparing Ms Grande to Mariah Carey. Well, the young lady certainly has some impressive vocals here, but just like with Ms Carey, there is a tendency for dear Ms Grande to force out the high notes to the point that there is a similarity of sorts in everything she does, especially on the slower tracks where her vocals are more in the spotlight. So yes, the comparisons are quite valid, for good and for bad.
The songs here are everything Mariah Carey wished she has in her latest effort though. Why Try is a smooth and lovely mid-tempo song that would feel right at home in Ms Carey’s catalog, but Ms Grande tackles this one and delivers a gorgeous moment that just flies. Love Me Harder, a duet with The Weeknd (no, that’s not a spelling mistake), starts out like another formulaic song about falling in love, but then comes the beats and the song transforms into a musical moment that recaptures 1970s-style disco without sounding too dated. Just a Little Bit of Your Heart is in its heart a formulaic lovelorn ballad, but again, Ms Grande manages to keep things interesting with her impressive vocals that can muster up a tinge of melancholy or two here and there.
It is when Ms Grande decides to let her hair down that the party really starts. My Problem is fabulous, a track that captures the gorgeous excesses of a musical-type extravaganza with a touch of jazz. Saxophones and drum beats have never made such love before, and it’s beautiful to behold. Bang Bang is basically the same song, only taken to a more dramatic height by having Jessie J share the main spotlight with Ariana Grande and replacing Iggy Azalea with Nikki Minaj. This song is like a low-rent version of the Lady Marmalade that brought together Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya, and Lil’ Kim to shatter eardrums everywhere. There are moments on Bang Bang when Jessie J and Ms Grande become way too screechy for my liking, but there’s no denying that this is a fabulous song that sticks to the mind and never lets go. I’m sure the kids that grow up with Ariana Grande in those Nickelodeon songs of hers would love to see her jumping around and trying to twerk in hot pants, but I do hope their parents aren’t playing attention.
She might’ve let you hold her hand in school
But I’mma show you how to graduate
No, I don’t need to hear you talk the talk
Just come and show me what your momma gave
(You got a very big sssh mouth but don’t say a thing)
See anybody could be good to you,
You need a bad girl to blow your mind
I personally find that Ariana Grande, like Miley Cyrus, is a far more interesting person now that she’s all grown up and trying to tell everyone that she’s not an unrealistically wholesome goody two-shoes anymore, so as far as I’m concerned. she can go ahead and do her thing because I’m having fun. My Everything is a tightly-produced collection of pop songs that hit all the right spots without any outstanding dud among them. Well, except Break Free, which is a predictable snore but that’s probably due to Zedd’s increasingly formulaic production values than Ms Grande’s vocal abilities.