Dangerous Woman: Safe Progression for a Dangerous Talent

Ariana Grande’s third album has fortified her powerhouse diva status, although she hasn’t quite become the dangerous vixen yet.

Four years and 3 albums later, it’s clear by now that Ariana Grande has an outsize talent.

The former Nickelodeon babe has way more impressive singing chops – both technically and emotionally – than all her teen star contemporaries. Her vocal dexterity means she can take on many genres from pop, reggae, R&B to EDM. Her music career will also likely outlast that of her peers as long as she continues to be backed by the likes of Max Martin and other master hooksmiths behind Billboard hits.

The question is: Does Grande have the force of personality to sustain the limelight on her vocal talent? That’s probably what the team behind her are working hard on.

From Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Miley Cyrus to Selena Gomez, teen stars often have to turn “bad” to prove they’ve grown up. Down the same path is Grande, who joined showbiz at sweet 15. Her wholesomeness also made way for more “personality” as waves of bad press on her diva antics started surfacing to accompany the release of her sophomore album My Everything (2014).

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Ariana Grande trades in go-go boots for bunny ears in Dangerous Woman.

Now that she’s 23 and has pulled off both the nice-girl and bad-girl image, her next best, and safest thing to try, ironically, is to be a “Dangerous Woman” –going by standard pop diva manufacturing norms. Hence, we hear Grande singing to more lascivious and coquettish lines in the new album. We also see Grande swapping her signature ponytail for a more sensual look by letting down more of her luscious hair in her new and raunchier music videos.

If My Everything is about a love-hungry woman who’s eager to please (“Why Try”, “One More Time”), Dangerous Woman seeks to present a sex-hungry woman who’s eager to be pleased (“Everyday” and “Side to Side”). Grande has no problem teasing and flirting with her insanely expressive voice that stretches 4 octaves. But she still looks and sounds too youthful to be “dangerous”. At times it feels as though she’s rushed to be a symbol of licentiousness before she’s even outgrown her innocence.

But that is not to say that Dangerous Woman is a failed experiment. It is still a commendable record with spectacular sounds – one that has safely cemented Grande’s passage from a pop princess to a powerhouse diva.

Below are some of our favourite tracks from the 15-track album. Enjoy!

  1. “Moonlight”: The retro 50s inspired track features great arrangement with clean violin plucking and gentle vocal harmonies.

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  1. “Dangerous Woman”: The title track is reminiscent of The Weeknd’s “Earned It”. It has a unique rock influence with a killer guitar solo.
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  1. “Sometimes”: It has a charming beat with chill guitar strumming accompanied by a calming “la la la” chorus hook.
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  1. “Leave Me Lonely” featuring Macy Gray: We like how Gray’s raspy voice blends with Grande’s youthful and soulful vocals in this retro track, which also features a great use of synthesizers, violin and piano.
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  1. “Side to Side” featuring Nicki Minaj: The dance reggae pop fusion track is one catchy number that makes addictive listening. Minaj’s self-affirming verses are predictable but this collaboration still stands out compared to more lacklustre ones featuring Future and Lil Wayne.
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Lyric video credits to Audio and lyric Vevo

About Deepa AYATHORAI

Most of Deepa’s interests involve escaping reality and slipping into the realm of films, television and music, obsessively picking them apart, over analysing, and trying to find the deeper meaning behind it all. Thankfully, being with friends and family keeps her sane and grounded in the real world. She’s all about good vibes and chilling so keep your negativity away from her. That’s her winning formula to living a balanced, drama free life. Her other special talents include polishing of an entire jar of Nutella in one sitting.