Music Review: "Yours Truly"- @ArianaGrande

I first heard Ariana Grande singing while watching an episode of "Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta" last summer when her song "I Love the Way" begun playing in a scene. I instantly thought "Oh snap, I didn't know Mariah Carey had a new song." To my surprise, the artists' name popped up as "Ariana Grande". I Googled this young lady to find a girly, pretty in pink young lady with an all-American sweetheart look wearing a pink headband a top of a graceful brunette pony tail.

The 20-year-old Florida native released her debut album titled "Yours Truly" in August of 2013 with plentiful pop, r&b, hip-hop, and soul influences. Listening to this album was a breath of fresh air. There's no doubt that Grande has talent. The production of the album is awesome with contributors like the legendary Babyface. I loved the 1950's doo-wop vibe on "Tattooed Heart" with a spin of modern influences and background harmony vocals. The same Jeff Lorber "Rain Dance" jazz tune sampled in Lil' Kim's "Crush On You" was used in "Right There" featuring Big Sean giving an old school vibe. Her ballad duet in "Almost Is Never Enough" with Nathan Sykes proved her vocal skills more in depth and her song “Honeymoon Avenue” credits her background in musical theater providing a charismatic “Glee” sensation. Some of my favorite songs were "Baby I", "Right There" "Tattooed Heart", "Lovin' It", and "The Way". The majority of the songs surrounded the topic of young love. I would have also enjoyed hearing some songs about other topics like in her song "Popular Song" featuring MIKA. Nonetheless, this record contains opulent potential with the classic sounds and feel-good energy.  

Something many critics are stating about Miss Ariana is that she sounds very similar to Mariah Carey in terms of her voice, background vocals and ad-libs, song production, singing style, and even her "good-girl" approach that Mariah encompassed upon her early stages in the 1990's. I indubitably noticed this quite a bit while listening to the album as I did upon first hearing “Yours Truly”. It's no secret that execs and producers in today's music industry seems to be trying their earnest to recreate newer artists as duplicates of older ones, more so female artists than male artists (e.g. Nicki Minaj as Lil' Kim, Lady Gaga as Madonna, and Rihanna as dancehall singer Patra). There isn't as much musical diversity and creativity in the mainstream industry in comparison to early as 10 years ago when there was a plethora of different artistic identities and styles within various genres. It's clear that Grande sees M.C. as her inspiration, but I think it's important that she finds her own identity as an artist, which I believe she obtains, but remembering to stay in her own lane in which she's not “mimicking Mariah”.

It is apparent that Ariana's sweetheart style could possibly be a gimmick for album sales, but I hope it's her genuine self. Many young women who start off in music industry/Hollywood take drastic measures to prove they're individuals and all grown up once they reach a certain age omitting the "good girl" stage and transitioning to the "bad bitch" one. Artists have their own choice to be sexual or keep it clean, but one must decipher how sex is overly praised instead of talent in today’s mainstream world of media, along with the fact that music execs encourage artists to sell sex (as well as analyzing the history of popular music and how many artists “back in the day” did not have to repeatedly resort to selling sex as many do now).

I truly hope that in the future Miss Grande isn't pressured by the music industry to feel that she has to go the Miley Cyrus or Rihanna of route of overdoing it to stay relevant. With the nonessential oversexualization of many female artists in today's music industry, going by the slogan that "sex sells", I admire and applaud Ariana for keeping it clean, classy, sweet, and being an example to young women that talent remains reigning supreme over all. No amount of hypersexuality could ever replace talent. The album is appropriate for younger girls and pre-teens and something adults could also enjoy. “Yours Truly” is energetic, darling, vibrant, and I give this album 5 stars.



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