I can’t contain it. I just really love this girl, Ariana! As an older millennial (okay I admit it), I grew up listening to bubble pop, mellow, boyband and girlband pop, grunge, soul, and r&b. That’s farfetched from all the EDM tunes and even the synth-pop, electronic/soul haze, and folk-pop music that are currently dominating pop music. This trend makes me deviate from what usual millennials and baby z’s listen to. I appreciated what Zayn Malik and Harry Styles offer and the 1989 album of Taylor Swift, but apart from them, all the other new artists are just not my cup of tea. Hence, I subscribe to indie rock and new soul artists instead.
Ariana Grande is a special exception. Her voice, music, and style is a standout to all these current pop music conundra. Her first album, Yours Truly, was goosebump-inducing and nostalgia for me. It resonated well with what I loved listening to as a child–Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and the like. Thus, I became an instant fan. Up to this day, I listen to that album all over again and even regret that I didn’t buy a hard copy of it since it was still available during that time. In this album, she collaborated with Babyface, the great. Hence, you hear a lot of Mariah.
The EDM singles from her second album, My Everything, were a disappointment, at least in my opinion. She collaborated with Zedd and David Guetta, so you’d really expect an EDM-riddled release. However, if you listen to the rest of the album, you still get the 90s influences. I judged her releases, but the rest of the album is magnificent.
Her third album, Dangerous Woman, dwelled on her mature side. It’s also the most diverse album she made to date. Pop, soul and a bit of rock n’ roll and blues were witnessed, especially in “Dangerous Woman.” The EDM-infused songs like “Into you” are more than forgivable for me. I liked it. Reggae lovers like my friend Giselle became a fan after Ariana released “Side to Side.” Ariana’s collab with Macy Gray, despite not being released is memorable for me as it has gospel music influences.
In Sweetener, my dream came true when she finally made her first collab with Pharrell Williams, although it was a bit disappointing for me because Pharrell used his current experimentation on her. I wished he slightly adhered to his Motown influences for this partnership. When I listened to this album, I thought I was gonna be disappointed overall because of the pop atypical experimentations and scales, but when listening towards the end, there were some Kindle-chocolate surprises, so overall, I still liked the album.
All of Ariana’s albums are a treat to me. Most of them are eclectic in nature, and I can even say that they may be just compiled as one album, with different influences. I’m now looking forward to her experimentation with rock and indie. I’m pretty sure she can pull it off.
My sister and I love Ariana because of her pop and soul-riddled tunes that blends well with her infallible voice. Most of her songs keep us in touch with our inner child and the 90s nostalgia we had, choosing to watch MTV than Cartoon Network. The era is all gone now, and although relived in fashion and some music, it’s Ariana Grande that best makes it come to life. This is further embodied in her latest single, “Thank U, Next” wherein she brings tribute to 4 late 90s to early 2000s teen flicks. Thank u, Ariana!
Art by Jim Morada