Album Review: “Dangerous Woman” – Ariana Grande Posted by Staff at Trendio • May 21, 2016

Dangerous Woman – previously titled “Moonlight” – is the eagerly-anticipated third studio album by American pop chanteuse, Ariana Grande. The album’s arrival is particularly exciting because it has been in the works for months, as far back as 2014, when Grande sophomore effort My Everything was released.

When the album was still titled Moonlight and word was just getting around, Grande served up Focus, the infamous “remake” of her biggest hit till date, Problem.

With the mixed feelings that followed the release (a not-so-good way to begin an era), tides turned swiftly as Grande took to the approach of acting like Focus pretty much never happened. Safe to say she made the right decision as though Focus debuted at No. 7, it plummeted within the following weeks.

Shortly after, Focus and the title “Moonlight” were put to rest, with Grande stating: “I feel like ‘Focus’ is the perfect transition record from the last album to the new album, because it sounds like ‘Problem’ 2.0.” Adds Grande: “It sounds like the goodbye to the last album and hello to the new.”

“Dangerous Woman”
Artist: Ariana Grande
Genre: R&B
Release: May 20, 2016
Label: Republic Records
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Fast forward to 2016, Ariana Grande debuted her sultriest, most-mature era yet – The Dangerous Woman Era. As the title implied, this era was all about Grande seeing herself in a new, empowering, light – past the quintessential pop tunes she released in previous eras.

On taking the bold step to switch things up, she stated that though Moonlight, the first song to make the cut, “[sic ] is a lovely song with a lovely title that ties together the old music and the new music, ‘Dangerous Woman’ is a lot stronger because it represents “someone who’s not afraid to take a stand, be herself and to be honest.”

The era kicked off shortly after with its highly-anticipated led single being released on March 11, 2016 – shortly after, Grande made her debut as a host on the famed Saturday Night Live – where she also debuted the Vogue-esque Be Alright, one of her best offerings till date.

Here is a short review of our favorite tracks on Dangerous Woman:

Moonlight

There is really only one way to look at this track in regards to Ariana’s album history. “Moonlight” is an incredible track but it’s entirely predictable. It’s the standard Ariana Grande opener song.  Airy angelic vocals, with an elegant orchestra to back her up. Very dreamlike. It’s beautiful, but expected. Yours Truly  had “Honeymoon Avenue” and My Everything had “Intro.” This time around instead of a traditional orchestra sound, it seems that Grande has gone for a music box sounding track. But in the end, all three of these tracks  are extremely similar. And, if she continues down this road we could eventually have an album solely of opening tracks that sound just like this. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Familiarity is a good thing, but when she said that there was a lot of growth between her previous albums and this one, it doesn’t show based solely on these opening records.  Or maybe it was a nod to her past work. The world may never know.

Into You

This is what we call a smash single. Again, it’s not much different thank her previous smash songs. But that doesn’t make it less incredible. It’s a song about secrets and affairs, but the production behind it makes it appropriate for the dance floor. In short: it’s a banger.

Greedy

The upbeat tracks don’t stop at “Into You,” “Greedy” is a high intensity disco/funk inspired track, bound to get even the grumpiest person on the dance floor. It holds no substance other than the fact that it’s incredible catchy.

Leave Me Lonely (Feat. Macy Gray)

Dangerous Woman was missing a record you could belt out in the car. One where you can act out the dramatics and intensity. Till this record finally played… this is the power ballad we were desperately missing, and to make matters better it features a forgotten icon. Now we thought we were past the unlikely duo’s when we received “Love Me Harder (Feat. The Weeknd)” during the My Everything era. But Ariana has topped herself yet again, and has brought out the incredible talented Macy Gray for assistance on this power ballad record. Mixing the intense drama infused in the production of this song, with Macy’s rich and smokey voice, and the power in Ariana’s voice and you get an amazing record.

Bad Decisions

“Ain’t you ever seen a princess be a bad bitch?” Hands down the best song on the record. This is the record that “snatched my wig” as the kids say these days. If given the chance, it would perform well on the radio and charts against the top records at the moments. It’s an ANTHEM. A very catchy hook, infectious bubblegum pop production, and infused with that new singing/rapping thing that has become so popular recently among the pop girls. There is no way this record could fail. She put her all in this song. This song demands to be played in the car with the top down, over and over and over again. And then once more to be sure you heard it right. I might be reaching here, but I believe this song was the inspiration behind the bad ass persona created in this album. This is the record that started it all.


In the end, looking at Dangerous Woman as an album makes you realize just how much she’s grown as an artist in such a short amount of time. The fact that she’s on her third album after hitting the music scene just a few short years ago goes to show how serious she is about her craft. She has essentially put out an album every year since 2013, (2015 got the Christmas & Chill EP) and the growth between each album is something some artists with 15 years under their belt have yet to achieve. This album is nothing but powerful bangers and intense ballads. And she has teamed up with the most unlikely artists to get it there. With all these different types of genres on this record, it makes us wonder how she pulls it off. She manages to take you from uptempo to utterly heartbreaking and R&B to reggae inspired tracks without sacrificing the flow and continuity of the overall theme of the album.

Yes this album got a ROUGH start. Not even factoring in how “Focus” failed to launch this era the way it was intended to, but Ariana was mocked endlessly for trying to grow up from her Nickelodeon shadow. The donut-gate incident really didn’t help her get back on America’s good side either. She also took a lot of crap for failing to get a hit record without a feature like in the past with “Problem (Feat. Iggy Azeala),” which is what a lot of critics use against her.

But for once, people should let the music do all the talking. Dangerous Woman (compared to Yours Truly) is a grown up album. Not grown up in a 50 Shades of Grey, kind of grown, but as grown up as you can get within a 3 year span. Another point you need to take when listening to the record is that no one listens to albums in full anymore, it’s about the singles and how well they do on the charts. Queen Bey is a big believer in the idea that music needs to come consumed as a whole, not this one hot song at a time kind of deal, and it seams that Ariana agrees. It’s how her album was put together. Listening to these songs one by one is not going to give you same effect. But if you listen to Dangerous Woman as a whole in one sitting the way it was intended to be listened to, you will see the magic. It’s album it deserves to be consumed as such. And with that in mind, it’s safe to say this was a great attempt in creating an entire body of work that shows growth in artistry and in life.


The winner of our #DangerousWomanGiveaway is: Renee G. Congratulations, R!

Special thank you to everyone who entered, we have another giveaway in the works, details will be on our twitter page this weekend.

 

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