Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Yours Truly’, Ariana

I will be the very first to tell you that I hate a lot of those bubble gum pop stars that Nickelodeon and Disney Channel are so keen on creating. If memory serves correctly, some of them enjoy texting nude pictures to a boyfriend (Vanessa Hudgens), suffering from depression (Demi Lovato), and going off the fucking deep end in an attempt to escape a child star image (Miley Cyrus). Disney has been creating monsters in the last few years and it looks as if the machine will not stop.

On this token I half expected Nickelodeon to go about it the same.

Imagine my surprise when the ladies from their network turn out to be pretty well adjusted. Top stars Miranda Cosgrove and Victoria Justice both have moderate successes both in film and music without any incidents. The same can be said of Jeanette McCurdy with her country music career.

But this article is about them.

It’s about Ariana Grande. I have young cousins so I have seen Grande on Victorious and currently on Sam & Cat. Her characterization on theses shows as the same neurotic character belies her talent vocally.

Because she is so damn talented.

Yours Truly is Ariana Grande’s debut album and it is amazing. When I heard her sing certain notes and listened to her vocal register I am reminded of Mariah Carey in the 90s. She even has those ethereally high notes down to a science. The production here is strong, so strong that even Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds is featured prominently throughout.

Let’s jump in, shall we?

Right There” is one of the first songs that got me. As a student and a child of the 90s I recognize the sample for the production. It samples “Rain Dance” by The Jeff Lorber Fusion. But it might be more recognizable if I said it was the sample as SWV’s “Love Like This” and Lil’ Kim’s “Crush On You”. The love song features a verse from GOOD Music’s Big Sean. These two together strike a note similar to Mary J. Blige and Method Man on their first collaboration.

The Way” has to be my personal favorite. I first appreciate the samples used for the track, prominent among them Pig Pun’s 1988 hit “Still Not A Player”.  Also I loved how much this track sounds like a transplant from the 90s. Mac Miller’s rhymes play well against Grande’s vocals here where she sings a track about how much she truly appreciates being loved the way she is being loved.

You’ll Never Know” is a track about regrets. His, not hers. On the extremely rhythmic song Grande sings about an ex who will never know what they could have truly been if given the time. The beat would make you dance up until the point you really pay attention to the lyrics. I kinda like that for some weird reason.

Almost Is Never Enough” is a pretty duet that has been redone on YouTube so much that you could hear about twenty versions before you get to the real one. Here she [Grande] is assisted vocally by Nathan Sykes from British boy band The Wanted. The theme is pretty self-explanatory based on the title. It breaks your heart while making you love it, a feat that not many songs can boast. Grande is silky and lithe with her vocals while Sykes comes across as if he were Eric Benet or some contemporary.

The whole album is worth listening to so I won’t suggest anything here.

What I will say is that this album is worth the price of admission. Really and truly. 

written by Lucius Black for Royalty Magazine

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