Album Release: Ariana Grande – A Not So ‘Dangerous Woman’

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The R&B/Pop songstress, Ariana Grande, is back again with a new album release that comes with a bite, and possibly a bit of a gnaw, Dangerous Woman. Here is a full track-by-track review of it!

From all of the hype that was given to the promotion and fabrication of this piece, I could only imagine that Grande would not let this album be a failure. Though true that there are an incredible amount of songs on this album that are unique and are sonically and vocally innovative, I felt that it did not compare to her previous album My Everything, that I thought really had some dynamic tracks to it and displayed her music individually. Nonetheless, Dangerous Woman flows and follows a consistent clichéd theme of being the seductive, innocent girl expressing herself a little more than her parents would approve.

So, that should make it a dangerously steamy album, and yet something about the slightly more feminine Donnie Darko still is missing something in her music or maybe it’s that it’s too much of the same card being played, thus making it a blandly erotic album  to the already disillusioned listeners.

Here is the 15-track list review:

Track 1: “Moonlight”

She starts off her highly anticipated album with a sweet, almost 50’s-esque tune that reminds me of a summer melody from Grease but with a more 21-st century pop sound. It’s soothing and fits her voice decently, but seems to not fit the exact portrayal of the album she rendered before-hand.

Track 2: “Dangerous Woman”

Now comes the track that everyone has heard and expected of the seductress herself. Honestly, this would be one of the better songs on her album. With a clear beat and an alluring melody, it keeps you head-nodding to its rhythm. It has an eccentric and strangely satisfying mixture of rock, pop, R&B, and electronic sounds to its structure, which is what I think makes it such a strong piece. It’s dark without being too cynical, and sexy with a pinch of sultry joy thrown into the cocktail that could make any girl feel like a “Dangerous Woman.” It is also the name of the entire record and was also the first song on the track to be revealed along with a music video.

Watch the Music Video for “Dangerous Woman” Now!

Track 3: “Be Alright”

Another catchy tune of hers, “Be Alright,” fit more of her more usual sounds of layered vocals on top of warped baby/alien sounding voices. It even had xylophones creating the backdrop noise, which was an intriguing twist, but also very much fitting for her paradoxical goal to sound like a mature and sensual version of bubble-gum pop.

Track 4: “Into You”

This was another favorite of mine. She uses her strong voice proudly in this piece with a very contagious and passionate dance sound that gets you entranced to jam out and move no matter what you do. Trust me, do not resist the urge to move to this song.  Very into this.

Track 5: “Side to Side ft. Nicki Minaj”

This was a cool track because it had a bit of that modern take on the Caribbean beat that it seems all artists are giving a try these days (e.g. Drake, Rihanna, and Meaghan Trainor), not to mention it incorporates a collab with the rapper beast herself, Nicki Minaj. Those two always seem to work well together when it comes to combining their musical stylings because of their assertive vocal positions.

Track 6: “Let Me Love You ft. Lil Wayne”

Of course, this song was another hit on her set-list. It was the second track she released from the previews of the album she displayed. The excitement came from the fact that she collaborated with Lil Wayne for this song, as well. Weeeeezy. I agree, the song is very catchy, very chill, and very refreshing in a sense. It doesn’t need much to make it a worthy song to kick back to, and Lil Wayne just intensifies that laid-back vibe. It has those provocatively robotic and other-worldly incantations that The Weeknd tries to do in a way.

Track 7: “Greedy”

Ok, I can admit I get pretty greedy listening to this song. It’s got a bold, 80’s vibe that I just really find fun to listen to. It has a little girl-power to it too, with emphatic percussion lining the perimeter for the entirety of the song as she pops, jumps, swings, and riffs away.

Track 8: “Leave Me Lonely”

This track had so much potential, but not for this album. This was a piece that could have been executed better if it was more integrative with her voice and, perhaps, more layered. Knowing that Macy Gray is one of her musical inspirations, it was nice to see her incorporate a sample of a famous song of hers, yet it was just so out of place from the rest of the record.

It’s got a moody aspect going for it though, and it absolutely gives that true jazzy/soul perspective to her sound. On the other hand, it seems too try-hard to be artsy utilizing vintage components to elevate her music. The transitioning between each artist was not well-constrcuted. This is when I slowly started to notice that the songs began to not sound different from each other. Where’s the lustful temptress I felt from “Dangerous Woman?” Now, it just sounds like the girl next door. No differentiation in pitch, in tone, in charisma, in anything… Just plain ol’ Grande… getting to be more petite.

Track 9: “Everyday ft. Future”

Now, I was very excited for the collaboration with Future, since he seemed to be on fire these days with his recent album release and other collaborationbut was very disappointed by the result. I did not find the song flattering to her usual falsettos, and Future had a very minimal part to the song... “everyday, everyday, everyday…” Of course, he had his rap monologue, and it was great, as usual, but I am still not pleased by her collab with him.

Track 10: “Sometimes”

From this point on, the songs began to feel less and less experiential as her first few tracks and they seem to become less significant. The rest of the songs were more like the fluffy, extra, and unnecessary tracks just to hear more of her voice and seem impressive that she spent so much time on 15 tracks. But Ari, sometimes less is more.

Don’t get me wrong though– the others are definitely catchy and something I could listen to in the background while I was working.

This particular track, I did like for its more lax atmosphere. Something I could listen to if I was laying back in a field of grass or in a hammock staring at the sky or walking on the beach. It even has some great lyrics that give you the feels:

"I ain't even think of leaving sometimes/ I ain't even think of letting go / I ain't ever thought of going nowhere / I don't even see it down the road / Cause we're collectin' moments / Tattoos on my mind"

Track 11: “I Don’t Care”

But here we go again…

Track 12: “Bad Decisions”

And again…

Track 13: “Touch It”

And… again… (2 more to go)

Track 14: “Knew Better / Forever Boy”

Should I really keep going?…

Track 15: “Thinking About You”

Yes, I think I have made a distinct point. As many literature professors would say to the conclusion of a paper, “so what?

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Sure, her recent performance on SNL proved that she could rock a man’s suit while singing, and her performance earlier today on Good Morning America definitely raised the excitement of the soundtrack’s release, but overall, this album was much more of the twenty-year old facing the struggles of the teenage-to-adulthood transition– perplexing and mystifying. Where did the flame go? Where did the “dangerous” in the “woman” disappear to? The rest of the songs are just… well… cute?

All in all, it is all left to personal, subjective interpretation, and so you should most definitely give it a listen on your own. The link is below! Has Ariana been over-estimating her supposed “sex-appeal” and popularity as the queen of hypocritical pureness versus promiscuity? Or do you think she has stepped out of her box and given her music a new sonic edge? Let us know!

Note: Music video to “Let Me Love You ft. Lil Wayne” to be dropped soon!

Listen to the entire album here!

 

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