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Ariana Grande Is One “Dangerous Woman”

| Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ariana webSusan Zhu | The Observer

Whatever your opinions on Ariana Grande, it’s guaranteed you’ve had one the 22-year-old artist’s several Billboard-topping singles stuck in your head at some point since she showed us all the “The Way” in 2013. Her debut album, “Yours Truly,” garnered critical and commercial success for its sugar-sweet lyrics and Mariah Carey reminiscent vocals from the young former child star. “My Everything”, Grande’s sophomore effort, effectively elevated the singer from her former Nickelodeon persona, and Scene writer Matt Munhall noted that the album moved Grande “toward the epicenter of Top 40 without ditching the tweens just yet.

We now arrive at March 10, 2016, and Grande has just dropped her first official single from “Dangerous Woman,” the upcoming third studio album formerly known as “Moonlight.” Grande was motivated to change the name of the project in order to be “empowering to [her] fans.” The decision seemed to stem from the artist’s recent endeavors in social justice territory, her essay on sexism following Grande’s split with rapper Big Sean made headlines last June and an interview during which she shut down two radio DJs misogynistic and heteronormative comments went viral early this past November. “I feel like my personal growth is reflected in the sound,” Ariana told her fans during a recent live chat surrounding the news of her album release. “To me, a dangerous woman is someone who’s not afraid to take a stand, be herself and to be honest.” Add another fierce feminist pop diva to the list.

As far as the single itself is concerned, the title track from “Dangerous Woman,” its sound has a sultry waltz-like vibe that’s comparable to The Weeknd’s “Earned It,” a track he wrote for the “50 Shades Of Grey” soundtrack. Even the “Dangerous Woman” album cover, a black and white headshot of Grande clad in a leather bunny ear mask, is evocative of the controversial best-selling book-turned-blockbuster and perhaps symbolic of Ariana’s final stages of transformation from her former “good-girl” image to full on daring female entertainer, à la Rihanna.

No, the song is not necessarily groundbreaking, but it’s new territory for Grande as she continues to show her range of vocal abilities beyond breathy R&B/pop crossover hits. The singer’s stint on “Saturday Night Live” on March 12 was praised not only for her comedic prowess as host but also for her powerful performances of “Dangerous Woman” and “Be Alright,” a dance-y pop number that will also appear on the album, recalls a Jess Glynne summer hit. Another derivative track, but all-in-all enjoyable and yet another example of the fresh performer’s attempt to step outside the proverbial generic pop box.

Ariana Grande is most definitely coming into her own and should be on everyone’s radar as she moves with full force into her own space within the pop industry that’s already filled with strong female icons. “Dangerous Woman” will be released May 20 and the single is currently available to purchase and stream on most major platforms.

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About Alexandra Lowery

I am sophomore in the Mendoza College of Business and the department of Film, Television and Theatre. I enjoy long, drawn out feminist rants, playing guitar and worshipping Beyoncé.

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