“Badass” is probably not the first word that comes to your mind when discussing Ariana Grande, but her new album may change that. Dangerous Woman is a confident, huge pop record that brings good-girl Ariana Grande to a whole new level.
The album begins almost deceptively. ‘Moonlight’ opens the record on a sweet key introduction followed by gooey vocals and light orchestration. This song is almost lullaby-esque, a quiet and sweet introduction to the album. ‘Moonlight’ doesn’t exactly embody the whole “danger” factor of the album’s title. It has some great vocal work and is by no means a bad song, but it doesn’t go with the record. After ending on a plethora of harmonies, the badass kicks in with ‘Dangerous Woman’. It starts similar quiet as the song preceding it, but explodes into a confident and threatening track. Ariana has some amazing belts throughout the track, especially at the end of the track, which is just fantastically huge. Ariana has lots of amazing vocal moments on the record: ‘Leave Me Lonely’ in particular, as a whole, is a stellar vocal performance. ‘Greedy’ is another stellar song on the record, which is driven by huge amounts of groove and soul (complimented by the giant harmonies on the track). Not to mention, the song is pretty much how my girlfriend and I act about our time together (I love you, Halli!). Ariana isn’t afraid to get a bit dirty on this record, either; ‘Touch It’ brings a personal and sensual touch to the end of the record, while ‘Everyday’ explores love as a drug (or just drugs in general, it’s pretty hard to tell with this one). The guest spots - which, honestly, I expected to be awful - weren't half bad, either. Nikki Minaj and Future both held their weight on their tracks, and in style. Future was actually interesting, for once! It's a miracle!
The downfall of this record is that amidst all of the great moments on it, more than half the tracks just have nothing going for them. Every track is different and infectious in their own right, but there’s just no big punch to them that, as a record that is to exude confidence and strength, just don’t help the album progress. The latter half of the album has a bunch of bland songs, including the closing ‘Knew Better / Forever Boy’ and ‘Thinking Bout You’, which was perhaps the worst decision for the album. Those songs are just so bland and average, it ends an album that started so strong on a disappointing note.
Dangerous Woman is definitely a big jam of a record, despite its shortcomings. There are lots of huge pop bangers on it that will dominate the airwaves soon enough. If only the album was more cohesive in its theming, could it be a real statement. Every track has it’s own charm (whether it be the cheesy guitar licks in ‘I Don’t Care’ or punchy chords of ‘Bad Decisions’) that gives this album personality, though. It can’t be faulted. It’s a good record, but no masterpiece.
Favorite Tracks: Dangerous Woman, Greedy, Touch It, Into You
Least Favorite Tracks: Knew Better / Forever Boy, Thinking Bout You