Release Date: Aug 25, 2014
Record label: Island
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Ariana Grande's sophomore album, My Everything, is a record that deals with matters of the heart. It's all about *~*~* L O V E *~*~* and how trust is a prize that is both won and lost. In 2014, hookup culture is a hot topic, and Grande is certainly familiar with the complicated game.
The debut album from Nickelodeon star-turned-pop force Ariana Grande, last year's Yours Truly, had charming qualities that also turned out to be unsustainable. Marked by the sort of puerile whimsy that can only really happen once a career, it split the difference between doe-eyed doo-wop and remember-the-'90s pop-R&B (the latter intentionally courting the ensuing Mariah comparisons). Grande proved just the type to pull off this sort of broad-stroked pastiche: she’s a theater kid at heart, slipping in and out of characters with practiced finesse (she’s got an arsenal of impressions on YouTube, from Britney Spears to a crying lamb).
When My Everything arrived as the summer of 2014 drew to a close, it was clear that Ariana Grande was poised to be the reigning pop diva of the mid-decade. Possessed with greater vocal chops than any of her peers -- her effortless runs revealed the limitations of Katy Perry and Rihanna -- she luxuriated in her debt to Mariah Carey on her 2013 debut Yours Truly, working mainly with Babyface to re-create the vibe and feel of the '90s. On My Everything, Grande takes a decisive step into the future, breaking away from Babyface so she can bring in a host of modern producers -- Max Martin, Shellback, David Guetta, Benny Blanco, Ryan Tedder, Darkchild, and Pop & Oak among them -- not to mention a parade of guest stars highlighted by Iggy Azalea, A$AP Ferg, the Weeknd, Childish Gambino, Zedd, and Big Sean.
Ariana Grande showed promise on her 2013 debut, Yours Truly – a classic case of "great voice, shame about the tunes," overseen by Nineties R&B god Babyface. My Everything is where the 21-year-old Nickelodeon starlet grows up. It's a confident, intelligent, brazen pop statement, mixing bubblegum diva vocals with EDM break beats. The summer smash "Break Free" sets the tone: Grande sings, "This is the part when I break free," while German producer Zedd builds up those whisper-to-scream synths, until the bass explodes and so does Grande.
“This is the part where I break free,” announces Ariana Grande on her new album. In case you miss the point, her declaration appears in an emphatic dance track titled “Break Free,” whose lyrics also find Grande stating that she has finally “become who I really am.” Has she really? “My Everything,” Grande’s second album which officially drops Monday, certainly gives many clues as to who this 21-year-old might be. It broadens considerably the genres the star tackled on her promising 2013 debut, “Yours Truly,” which stuck largely to 1990s R&B.
On her 2013 debut album, Yours Truly, teen-actor-turned-pop-starlet Ariana Grande established a unique, nostalgia-based beachhead, interweaving 90s R&B and 1960s girl groups. It got her to the top of the US Billboard 200 albums chart, but on the Max Martin and David Guetta-produced follow-up, My Everything, she's plumped – oh, Grande! – for generic bangerdom. Though the video to the current single, Break Free, contends that this is a good thing – "You'll soil yourself from intergalactic excitement", a voice intones – it's difficult to engage with much of the synthy froth here.
Review Summary: An unsettling definition of maturity.In the never-ending quest for some sort of critical narrative to which an artist and her corresponding press campaign can anchor herself, Ariana Grande and her team have decided to dub her newest album, My Everything, “more mature.” A star ….
Review Summary: An unsettling definition of maturity.In the never-ending quest for some sort of critical narrative to which an artist and her corresponding press campaign can anchor herself, Ariana Grande and her team have decided to dub her newest album, My Everything, “more mature.” A star-studded cast has materialized so that Grande may shed the image of dumb, blinking teenager she cultivated so carefully through her various arts-related careers. Even the album art flashes big red “MATURITY” lights. Come buy my album, the Ariana Grande posing vulnerably on the cover with the too-short skirt and the pure white stilettos seems to scream (or croon, or purr, whatever the “mature” alternative to screaming is).
Petite and perpetually pony-tailed, Ariana Grande has taken her doe-eyed girl-next-door archetype to the top of the charts at a time when most of her peers are pushing aggressively sexual personas. Part of her appeal is that her cheerful, reassuringly innocent demeanor seems authentic, and extends beyond her Disney-princess comportment to her much-hyped voice. With only two modes at its disposal (a languidly enunciated coo that evaporates on the ears, and an exceptionally high upper register of bell-like clarity), hers is an instrument that has yet to be weathered by pain or time, and seems altogether incapable of the grit and vulnerability so prized in the soul music she admires.
“I hate acting,” Ariana Grande told Rolling Stone in May of 2014, which is a telling statement from someone who starred in TV shows like Victorious, Sam & Cat, and even was in the original Broadway production of Jason Robert Brown’s child-performed musical 13. Regardless of what she thinks about the medium now, Grande’s Broadway pedigree was truly important to her professional development because it shaped her as a traditional singer instead of a shrill pop star that has to rely on production to sound good. If you ignore her 4 Non Blondes-quoting first single “Put Your Hearts Up” (which she very much does, calling the song “inauthentic and fake” and the video shoot “straight out of hell”), Grande blasted onto the scene in 2013 with “The Way” for good reason.
In pop, there are "good" girls and "bad" girls. Good and bad (not to mention "troubled") are, of course, lazy and tiresome pigeonholes in which to stuff female artists. They come with assumptions about image, who makes better pop and who is in control of the decision-making. For the record, both whip-smart (good) Taylor Swift and heavy-lidded (bad) Rihanna make for excellent pop stars.
In-your-face production. Cameos from high-profile rappers. A lead single about how, lingering attraction (and proper grammar) be damned, she'd have "one less problem without you." There's lots of newfound swagger on Ariana Grande's "My Everything," which came out Monday, just less than a year after her successful 2013 debut, "Yours Truly." But perhaps nothing speaks to Grande's empowering ascent from B-list Nickelodeon player to worldwide pop star like the fact that she didn't even put "Bang Bang" on her album.
opinion byJEAN-LUC MARSH It would be easy to lump Ariana Grande in with the Mileys and Selenas of the pop music machine. On the topical level, the similarities are obvious: all three are starlets birthed on popular children’s networks seeking an adult career in the music industry. A longer look affords a chance to see the differences. Whereas the other two faced a pressure to “grow up,” (read: pile on the sex appeal), in order to shed the image of their childhood careers, Grande never really underwent the drastic transformation that haunts many an aging Disney star, though granted, she has been skewing towards the image of schoolgirl fantasy as of late.
On the face of it all, Ariana Grande has managed that transition from children’s TV actor to VMAs-performing popstar with fewer hitches than most. Her current Twitter profile picture is of her kissing Mickey Mouse on the nose, yet she’s simultaneously riding the charts in a Jessie J song where she croons “anybody could be good to you / you need a bad girl to blow your mind. ” It’s no insignificant achievement to be spinning those plates side by side.
Ariana Grande’s second record, My Everything, is a slick throwback to melodramatic ’80s and ’90s pop—and specifically, a determined nod to the days when melismatic divas ruled the airwaves. For starters, the ex-Nickelodeon star channels a more powerful version of On The 6-era Jennifer Lopez (the electronica-dusted David Guetta co-write “One Last Time”), Beyoncé circa Destiny’s Child (the panting R&B-pop stutter “Hands On Me,” which features A$AP Ferg), and early Christina Aguilera (the syrupy, piano-and-string-augmented ballad “Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart”). But most obviously, My Everything is a faithful homage to old-school Mariah Carey—everything from her coquettish playfulness to her penchant for exaggerated vocal mannerisms.
I miss when it was possible to pretend faceless corporate bigwigs at Nickelodeon were the ones dictating Ariana Grande’s music career and not, you know, her own people. Those were better times. Judging by the mild sexualization of the “Ariana Grande” brand, her musical disassociation from the retro pop-vocal sound that helped Yours Truly (2013) hold up surprisingly well, and the endless media blitz that has kept her name and perpetually-hearing-the-voices-of-angels face plastered on your Facebook feed, the plan for My Everything was to mold Ariana Grande into a full-blown contemporary pop-star.