Ariana Grande - My Everything (review)

Ariana Grande - My Everything (review)

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My love for Ariana Grande is immeasurable. I love everything about this 21-year-old young lady, starting from her voice, to her Cheryl Cole-esque face and her half-pinup, half-princess attitude. And it’s precisely like a fairytale that her sophomore album, My Everything, begins. Delicate but orchestral at the same time, Intro definitely fits in the magical world of Ariana as well as my baby sister whom I listened to this LP with and screamed after the first notes ‘I want this song to be played at my wedding!’. But the aery bubble explodes right away with the blaring and now famous Problem and his catchy sax which also made the success of  Macklemore & Ryan Lewis‘ Thrift Shop and Jason Derulo‘s Talk Dirty. Get ready for the Billboard Hot 100 15 minutes with One Last Time, produced by David GuettaWhy Try made by Mr OneRepublic aka Ryan Tedder and Benny Blanco (Katy PerryMaroon 5), and Break Free, featuring Zedd. For that matter, I like to call this first part ‘the singles box’ (and I bet my life that One Last Time or Why Try are next on the release list): if I do love listening to these tracks and understand that they allow Ariana Grande to venture into the unknown and push her boundaries, I can’t help but think that this doesn’t sound like her and might be the result of some moulding. After all, we gotta make all this profitable, especially given the impressive amount of collaborations featured on the rest of the album…

Definitely more 90’s R&B oriented, the second half of it shows urban artists like Big Sean (who could already be heard on Right There on Yours Truly), Cashmere CatChildish GambinoThe Weeknd and A$AP Ferg among the credits. The guests are surprising but their participations are never useless, the best ones being, in my opinion, Best Mistake and Be My Baby because I feel there’s a real harmony that prevails. Talking about a boyfriend being unfaithful to her with a man, Break Your Heart Right Back is undoubtedly the song I was the most looking forward to, because, you have to admit it, this is quite an unusual subject. Unfortunately, I regret the way it has been dealt with: I was kinda hoping that Ariana and Childish Gambino would talk more candidly about it instead of barely touching the topic with a few ‘he’ here and there. I’m actually wondering if they maybe changed the theme later during the creative process – they could have been inspired by the amazing (and very clever) Diana Ross‘s I’m Coming Out sample – because Ariana explained during an interview that it was initially meant for her to be cheated on with a girl. Totally captivating, Love Me Harder, the duet with The Weeknd, could have been a cut above if she had played the game: although both voices blend really well together, I was frustrated to see Ariana Grande being such a good girl while Abel kept on rising the temperature. And everything just falls flat with the next track, Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart. Cowritten by Harry Styles (yeah right, that guy from One Direction), it just plunges you in a sweet pink sea all over again and it also happens to be part of one of the worst tracklist order ever as it is quickly followed by Hands On Me, a sexy up-tempo recorded with A$AP Ferg, before the album ends with My Everything (I can’t wait to hear the symphonic version she recently worked on as I find this ballad way too dull as it is right now and I’m convinced strings would make it more exciting).

All in all, the featurings are pretty solid but I could reproach the artists for calling the tune. I do think they’re the ones making the tracks edgier, even though Ariana Grande is always delivering impeccably well. But I feel she still misses a stronger musical identity. While people were comparing her to Mariah Carey with her first album despite some doo-wop influences, Ariana chose this time to play the chameleon, switching easily and gracefully from one genre to another, but never asserting her true color. This is even more intriguing when you know she was a bit hesitant when she has first been proposed tracks like Problem and Break Free but that her favorite songs are exactly the same as mine, namely the R&B tunes that will unlikely benefit from the same exposure. I’m still a little perplexed regarding her very commercial approach while she claims in Billboard that she used to dream of making an India.Arie record when she was only 14 and regularly describes the experimental Imogen Heap as one of her goddesses. But I’m confident Ariana Grande will someday be as bold and daring as her idols and, in the meantime, I’ll gladly content myself with My Everything, which might become the soundtrack of many girls while getting ready before a night out…


Check these tracks asap : Best MistakeLove Me HarderBe My BabyBreak Your Heart Right Back.
Ariana Grande My Everything, out on August 25 (Universal Music).

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