Ariana's third album finds the perfect balance between the previous two, remaining strong overall.
Ariana Grande returned last week with her third studio album, Dangerous Woman, showing elements of both the old school RnB/pop vibes captured on her debut Yours Truly whilst remaining as club-worthy as the more electronic My Everything. Basically, Ariana is going from strength to strength, and this new album just continues that trend.
Opening track ‘Moonlight,’ which was initially the album’s title track, is quite a chilled opening, easing the listener in. For me, it created thoughts of ’50s drive-in cinemas late at night. The constant clicks retain this kind of old school, home-grown feel, as do the harmonies in the stripped back section of the bridge.
‘Dangerous Woman’ itself ups the style a notch, retaining a sense of the old-school vibe with a change of gear. The bass riff keeps that funkiness, and it feels very much like something you would have blasting as you cruised along in a saloon car. As I said when I reviewed the track upon its release, I do think that it is a breath of fresh air, presenting a new style for Grande.
Fellow singles ‘Be Alright’ and ‘Into You’ shift the tone of the album slightly and are more fitting with the electronic dance style that she has consolidated and shown herself as having a firm grip upon during My Everything. The pulsating rhythm of ‘Into You’ especially is hypnotic, having you dancing along more and more as it builds. These songs mark a change, leaving behind stylistic elements of her old stuff that were seeping through, and returning to the style we were all finding ourselves beginning to associate with her. Quite a few of the other tracks on the album fit in with this style too, such as ‘Everyday’ and a trio of deluxe edition tracks (‘Bad Decisions,’ ‘Touch It,’ and ‘Knew It/Forever Boy’). On the other hand, the pop and RnB vibes return with tracks like ‘I Don’t Care’ and ‘Greedy,’ showing that Grande is certainly not a one-trick pony.
As per usual, there are multiple tracks which feature other artists, and this turn sees Ariana Grande collaborating with Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Macy Gray, and Future. It’s pretty incredible how different each of these tracks are stylistically whilst all still managing to flow well between each other in a corroborative and fluent album. My personal favourite from this quartet is ‘Leave Me Lonely’ with Macy Gray, which manages to show off both women’s vocals superbly well in a way that feels perfectly balanced and extremely smooth.
Then again, Grande has powerful vocals, and it’s not that hard to make them sound interesting. The production on the album is, however, wonderful, especially when it comes to layering Grande’s various harmonies in each song to create something which just sounds great. I think the track ‘Greedy’ is just one example of this.
One thing I’ve said when discussing this album and what I love about Ariana Grande in general is that she is constantly evolving yet remaining consistently brilliant, and Dangerous Woman is an exemplar of her talents. I still believe that she can do so much more and I think that, in the next few years, she will just be demonstrating that more and more. Yes, I may give this album 5 stars, but I still believe both that she can and will do better. This woman is on an uphill climb, and that is what makes her a dangerous woman.
Dangerous Woman is out now via Republic Records