You might recognise Ariana Grande from her stints on popular Nickelodeon shows Victorious and the spinoff Sam & Cat; but over the past two years she’s been diligently plugging away at her solo music career. In August 2013 she released her debut album, Yours Truly, which was a critical and commercial success, topping the US album charts. However the album failed to follow suit in the UK, which means the first many of us heard of Miss Grande was her number one single ‘Problem’. This single meant her UK success snowballed, and with a scheduled date playing the O2 Arena and the high profile collaboration on ‘Bang Bang’ with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj, Ariana is soon to be a household name.
My Everything is Ariana’s sophomore record, and it should mark her entrance as a true pop heavy weight. Lead singles ‘Problem’ and ‘Break Free’ were both produced and co-written by Max Martin (the man behind chart-toppers like ‘…Baby One More Time’, ‘California Gurls’ and ‘Since U Been Gone’), so it’s no surprise that they’re both huge pop hits, with sing-a-long choruses and expert production. However, having listened to the whole album, it’s no surprise that these have been picked as the singles, as almost every other track on the record fails to live up to them. As you get further into the album you find yourself becoming increasingly uninterested. There are some tracks that break the monotony of Mariah Carey-esque, saccharine-sweet pop songs; for example her collaboration with The Weeknd on ‘Love Me Harder’ which one of the most exciting tracks on the album, as it was totally unexpected in it’s musical stylings with elements of crunchy R&B.
Ariana is also using this album to try and rid herself of the classic squeaky clean Disney/Nickelodeon-star reputation she has, with The Weeknd crooning “Can you feel the pressure between your hips?” and her collaboration with ‘Hands on Me’ which is far cheekier than anything she ever sang whilst she appeared on Victorious, however her attempts to be a ‘grown up pop star’ sound forced and slightly uncomfortable.
My Everything was Ariana’s chance to make her mark well and truly on the pop scene, and in a sense she’s done that. The chart-topping lead singles and abundance of crossover collaboration (the who’s who of urban stars is quite impressive: A$AP Ferg, Childish Gambino, Big Sean and Iggy Azalea all make appearances (amongst others)) got people’s attention, but after a few listens, they didn’t keep it. Although it’s not a poor album, it’s just not anything exciting, which is a shame as Ariana Grande is a true talent (just listen to any live performance – the girl can sing!) The singles made it show so much potential, but the album as a whole is unimaginative, cliché and dull. Hopefully Ariana can pull it back for album number three.
My Everything is out now through Republic Records.