By Fernando Quezada
“My Everything,” the second full-length studio album by Nickelodeon-actress-turned-pop-star Ariana Grande, is the follow-up to her debut album “Yours Truly,” a record that speaks of romantic fantasies and love interests. “My Everything” is a sequel to that narrative with an impressive maturation in lyrical content and musical production. Grande toys with suggestive and explicit thematic elements throughout the record, which can be heard in songs “Love Me Harder (feat. The Weeknd)” and “Hands On Me (feat. A$AP Ferg).” It’s interesting to see her molt the childish Nickelodeon image while evolving into a grown and matured artist. Of course, her recent performances on the Billboard Music Awards and MTV VMA’s have garnered negative criticism on her awkward attempts at being sexual, but “My Everything” isn’t just a record that entertains with bump-and-grind music. Grande displays her versatility as an artist by adapting to several musical genres that make this record delightfully diverse and inclusive.
Grande collaborates with various hip-hop and R&B artists including The Weeknd, Childish Gambino and her current boyfriend, Big Sean. Their musical influences are prevalent throughout “My Everything,” grounding Grande in both the pop and R&B genres. Grande also incorporates EDM into her latest record, working alongside DJ and producer Zedd to create an infectious beat and her recent top ten hit, “Break Free.” As the album progresses, Grande slows thing down and gets soulful in her ballads “Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart” and “My Everything.” Hitting high notes Mariah Carey can only dream of reaching, Grande flaunts her vocal range in her ballads and throughout the entire record as well. With a clear variety of musical genres present in “My Everything,“ it’s incredible how each track contributes to the record’s central themes of love, lust and longing. More so, the production that went into the album allows every song to be sonically unique and commercially appealing as well.
Although “My Everything” is a remarkable improvement from Grande’s previous album “Yours Truly,” Grande has yet to cement herself as an icon in the music industry. Sure, “My Everything” has been able to give her some of this summer’s greatest hits (“Problem, “Break Free,” “Bang Bang”) along with a few more potential singles, but her music fails to be iconic. Recognizing that Grande is one of modern day music’s strongest vocalists, she lacks the cultural and global impact that several of her female contenders have achieved. Thankfully, her talents leave her with plenty of room for growth and leverage as a singer and performer. However, it’s clear that this record was created to pander to the general public rather than contribute to Grande’s impact as an artist.
Now, before this review goes misunderstood, it’s important to clarify that there is absolutely nothing wrong with “My Everything.” It’s an album filled with great music and the potential to debut at #1. However, it’s concerning to see Grande’s talents be exploited by the music industry’s priority of profiting off quick, radio-friendly singles rather than fostering her artistic freedom and creativity to ensure her longevity and relevance as an artist.
To end on a hopeful note, Ariana Grande’s talents are limitless and her career, promising. “My Everything” is a testament of the singer’s ability to achieve commercial breakthrough while displaying her strengths as a vocalist. But it’s evident that the young starlet could be more than just a few hits on the radio. Grande has the potential to be legendary; she just has to realize it herself.
“My Everything” is now available on iTunes and in stores everywhere.
Recommended: “My Everything” is for those looking for a great pop and R&B record to listen to by an artist who can really deliver. This album caters to several musical tastes and therefore has something for everyone to enjoy.
Filed Under: A & E