When I reviewed Ariana Grande’s sophomore studio album “My Everything” I commented how I was unsure if she had found who she really was an artist yet with an odd collection of tracks that didn’t seem to collate well. With the release of her third studio album “Dangerous Woman” I was pleasantly surprised to discover that she has now found her artistry. This album is a collection of confident pop tracks that boast her incredible vocals, smooth harmonies and ridiculously catchy hooks. The songs experiment with a reggae, R&B and big band influenced twist on modern pop that gave me Christina Aguilera “Back To Basics” era vibes. As Nicki Minaj proclaims on the reggae bop “Side To Side”, “I’m the queen of rap, Ariana run pop” and honestly with this album Nicki may be predicting right about Ariana. Even though there is a lot going on musically this record doesn’t feel disjointed as it still has the R&B and soul roots throughout the whole duration. “Moonlight” is like the perfect ode to her previous albums but feels like a strange opener for a sexy upbeat record that leaves that doo-woop structure in the past. “Be Alright” and “Into You” deliver the deep house bangers that Mariah Carey wishes she could pull off. They also perfectly capture the new found confident, sexy and raunchy side of her personality and vocal ability. “Let Me Love You”, “Dangerous Woman” and “Thinking Bout You” showcase the raunchier vocal delivery with down tempo moments of pure power, sex appeal and emotion. oh, and INSANE vocal runs. Experimentation was key to this album and “Greedy” is a moment that really paid off. The 90’s synth, funk track is vocally amazing and insanely catchy but it’s the tempo change which will have you holding onto your weaves and losing your absolute mind. It’s a song that really could’ve been a mess and I would’ve suggested it feature on Meghan Trainor’s album, but luckily it turned out pretty amazing. “Everyday”, “Bad Decisions” and “Touch It” are confidently sexy tracks that you want to booty bop and seduce everyone in your way. And there’s something about the ballad “Sometimes” which gives me little butterflies. Macy Gray was a name I didn’t expect to see on the collaboration list but after listening to the soulful duet “Leave Me Lonely” you count you’re blessings. Having Ariana feature alongside someone of Macy’s calibre really pin points the growths and immaturity that she has but it’s notes that she will work on and improve with time and age. When listening to this album in it’s entirety it’s quickly apparent that this will be the album which will catapult her career to the next level. It’s a step in the right direction for Grande and shows a maturity to her songwriting that strengthens the underlying message of love and empowerment that her music has always held onto. She is no longer the nickelodeon star that could sing really well, she is an artist.
p.s Can i just say that I am VERY glad “Focus” isn’t featured on the track listing or anything that remotely sounds like it? That song could have single handedly destroyed her career.