It took me many years to finally embrace pop music. I realize this every time a classic Madonna song plays on the radio and I think to myself “this is damn good” while recalling my utter disdain for all things Madonna when she actually mattered.
Failing to appreciate good pop music is like saying a comedic film is somehow innately inferior to a dramatic one. I was probably guilty of that for a long time, too.
Although Hillary Clinton’s expected coronation didn’t come to pass, 2016 was a great year for women musically, at least. Pretty much all of my favorite albums last year were recorded by women.
Among them was Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman, which included the hit title song as well as ‘Side By Side,’ today’s SOTD ‘Into You’ and ‘Be Alright.’ Those are the songs that hit radio, but the album is solid start to finish.
The latest video from Ariana Grande’s solid album Dangerous Woman features both Nicki Minaj and the world’s sexiest spin class.
Somehow, despite a lot of effort, Grande herself remains relatively unsexy. Maybe that’s due to her hamster-like size, or the lingering memory of her more innocent Nickelodeon days. But she dresses provocatively and surrounds herself with full-grown adult women and gives it her best shot.
It’s a familiar phenomenon — the Disney child starlet releasing her first real “grown-up” album, embracing frank sexuality in a bid to shock the pop culture system and free her of those PG shackles.
Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera made the move in the early 2000s. Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez did it in the past couple of years. And now it’s Ariana Grande’s turn.
When I heard ‘Focus,’ the latest single from Ariana Grande, I told my daughter Sophia I might go ahead and buy her latest album, My Everything, because this was the fourth or fifth enjoyable track I’ve heard from it.
Sure, it’s a rehash of ‘Problem’ (with Jamie Foxx handling the spoken word chorus accompaniment this time around) but ‘Problem’ is friggin’ great.
Sophia pointed out that ‘Focus’ is actually the lead single from a new Grande album — titled Moonlight — due out in the next few months.
Best Songs of 2014 – #4
‘Problem’ – Ariana Grande
If I weren’t such a radio-averse music snob, this would probably be my song of the year. It’s a perfectly crafted piece of ear candy — a whole party in three minutes.
Ariana Grande’s voice goes a mile high and an inch deep, and that’s exactly what this song requires. The staccato horn fills serve as a sublime introduction to the verses, and the whispered chorus is a stellar left-field touch.
Sitting at #10 on this week’s Billboard Hot 100 is Ariana Grande, who has had about as good a year as anybody in the music world.
Having enjoyed her performance for years on Victorious, it’s nice to see her hit it big the way she has. That good will is tempered a bit by the reports of her outrageous diva behavior (such as being carried like a baby from her trailer to the recording studio, which is the latest rumor).