Friday, 6 September 2013

Review: Ariana Grande - Yours Truly

I’ve always considered myself to have a pretty diverse music taste. But, as someone that’s been pretty obsessed with the whole ‘pop punk’ genre since my early teenage years, Ariana Grande definitely wasn’t someone that I expected to be so impressed with.

I remember hearing her song ‘Put Your Hearts Up’ a few years ago, and it was stupidly catchy and I couldn’t stop singing it to myself. It was basically the definition of happy, bubblegum-pop. But, apart from that, it wasn’t particularly memorable.

She came back to my attention earlier this year, when my 6 year old sister started watching the Nickelodeon show, ‘Victorious’, in which Grande plays Cat Valentine. While yeah, the songs on the show are shamelessly cheesy, they did remind me how great Ariana’s voice is. I ended up looking her up again, and found she was on the verge of releasing her debut album, ‘Yours Truly.’

I was slightly worried that, as someone who was already established as a Nickelodeon star, Grande wouldn’t be able to break out of that kid’s-pop mould with her album. I mean, for everyone like Demi Lovato, who’s managed to forge herself a pretty credible music career and put her child star status behind her, there’s legions of Disney and Nick stars than have attempted music careers that have utterly fallen flat.

For Ariana Grande, that doesn’t seem to be a problem. Even before the full album was released, songs like ‘The Way’ and ‘Baby I’ set the tone for what seems to be a kind of 90s, r&b style album, a whole world away from the cheesy Nickelodeon music. I’ve read a whole lot of comments and reviews likening her to a young Mariah Carey, and while that’s a pretty huge comparison to make, I feel pretty confident in saying Ariana more than lives up to it. She’s got the look, and more importantly, the incredible vocal range that definitely reminds me of the Mariah songs I used to listen to when I was younger.

I was a little concerned that when the full album came out, it would just be an overkill of Grande’s high vocal register. But, after listening to ‘Yours Truly’ through a few times, I think it perfectly shows off her versatility as a vocalist. While yeah, there are plenty of occasions where her high register is used, there are also songs like ‘Tattooed Heart’, ‘Almost Is Never Enough’ and ‘Honeymoon Avenue’ that display a much more varied vocal range that really proves Ariana’s voice is more than just a Mariah-wannabe gimmick.

I do have one criticism of the album, and that’s the inclusion of the song ‘Popular Song,’ with Grande worked on with Mika. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love this song, and I think Mika and Ariana’s voices sound incredible together. But, I just don’t think it fits in at all with the whole 90s nostalgia theme that seems to run throughout the rest of the album. Maybe it would have worked as a bonus track, but as it stands, it’s slapped right in the middle of ‘Almost Is Never Enough’ and ‘Better Left Unsaid,’ and I think it really takes a lot away from the flow of the album.

Aside from that, the album really is something that Grande should be incredibly proud of. It’s clear just how much hard work she’s put in to making sure ‘Yours Truly’ is exactly what she wanted it to be, and its’ definitely paid off. As far as I’m concerned, Grande deserves every bit of the success that’s inevitably coming her way with the release of this album.

Check out Ariana singing 'Tattooed Heart' live on the Today Show for an example of just how incredible her voice is.

You can buy a copy of 'Yours Truly' from iTunes or Amazon 

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