Ariana Grande: My Everything

Posted September 8, 2014 by in Pop



3.5/ 5


Genre: ,
Producer: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Genre: Pop, r&b, soul
Producer: Benny Blanco, Tommy Brown, Johan Carlsson, Cashmere Cat, Paul "Hotsauce" Dawson, Carl Falk, Warren "Oak" Felder, Ilya, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, Key Wane, Lido, Max Martin, Ali Payami, Rami, Shellback, Peter Svensson, Ryan Tedder, Giorgio Tuinfort, Andrew "Pop" Wansel, Noel Zancanella, Zedd
Label: Republic
Format: Digital download, compact disc
Time: 51:10
Release Date: 22 August 2014
Spin This: "Problem," "Be My Baby," "Love Me Harder," "Break Your Heart Right Back"


More ballads, versatile slate and bigger cameos bring balance to Grande's anticipated sophomore set


The new ballads are an improvement to Grande's setlist, but still missing the torch song she's deserving of to catapault into big league of pop divas

Grande ups the ante on anticipated sophomore follow-up

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Grande ups the ante on anticipated sophomore follow-up

Last year, Ariana Grande turned heads and ears with her debut LP, Yours Truly, just by perfectly duplicating the late-90’s/early 2000’s template of Mariah Carey to a tee. The music wasn’t exactly cloned; SWV/Brandy beats (“Baby I”), and Mary J. Blige nods (“Lovin’ It”) and the occasional throwback ballad (“Tattooed Heart”). But at the heart of her presentation were the angelic, fluttery whispers and the piercing pop-candy high notes. That mantra was fully exercised on the everlasting hip-hop-meets-pop gem “The Way,” a song that Carey envies for passing up. Only months later, Grande suddenly feels the urge to drop a second album, hoping to maintain her chart-topping momentum. By the way, she has that: a newly-released single – the Iggy Azalea-supported “Problem,” is probably the second best single this summer (Azalea’s “Fancy” sits at number one); “Bang Bang,” a girl-powered anthem with Drumline beats, is following in its tracks. Those tracks are the obvious headliners on Grande’s My Everything. She’s also surrounded by a cluster of production stalwarts and heavyweight rhyme spatters. They help prop up the hip-hop crossover numbers. The obvious of the bunch, “Break Your Heart Right Back” is pieced together by Childish Gambino’s smooth rap cameo and a smart sample of Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out.” Giant club beats are heard on the A$AP Ferg-guested “Hands on Me,” Zedd shows up on the synthpop “Break Free” and The Weeknd-powered “Love Me Harder” drops Grande into a euphoric synth universe sprinkled with The Killers’ “Shot at the Night” magic. “Be My Baby” – a nod to the systematic movements of SWV’s “Love Like This” – is another album fave which is bountifully anchored by Cashmere Cat’s mixing and Benny Blanco’s suave production.

For those rushing to pin Grande down as being a Mariah Carey copycat, they need to understand a few things. Carey broke out as a sweeping AC balladeer, something that Grande avoided on her debut. Grande’s first disc also lacked the Adele-type torch songs that would put Grande into the same ranking as the powerhouse divas. Maybe that was all intentional – it’s quite obvious that Grande has the goods to do so, but she would rather do it in her own timing. My Everything is a positive step in that direction, providing Grande a greater showcase of versatility to play with. There’s a greater presence of warm ballads in the mix: The Ryan Tedder-penned “Why Try” is screaming for radio play; “Best Mistake” fits well inside a dreamy Drake universe; “My Everything” finds a buttery melody being played on an intimate piano. The same can be said about “Just a Little Bit of My Heart,” except you could hear melodic remnants of Katy Perry’s “Roar” inside the shiny chorus. But she’s still most effective on the urban-heavy tracks, like “Only 1” which has her dancing like Tamia on Mary J. Blige urban contemporary workouts.

She still avoids the type of songs that allow her to hold her notes for an excessive amount of time, something Grande is going to have to attempt if she seriously wants to be the Celine Dion of her generation. But My Everything is still a gradual incline of artistic improvement. Rather than looking like a the one-dimensional pop singer with the fluttery voice on the first disc, she looks more like a 2-D singer playing with better songwriting, equipment and ego.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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