Released in 2016, 15 tracks, 57 min
The Album That Says She’s A Woman Now
Before the release of her latest album, Thank u Next, my all-time favorite Ariana Grande album was Dangerous Woman. This is the album that told the world that she was grown and an adult now. She isn’t just a young Nickelodeon star. The album was originally titled Moonlight, but Dangerous Woman featured where she was and who she was in this point in her life.
From 50’s Doo-Wop To Sexual Empowerment
The album starts with a song that for some reason holds a special place in my heart, a place where only two songs reside. “Moonlight” is a slow track that features a violin and a little bit of a 50’s inspired sway. The sound of the song is not a show of what is to come though, it is more like how Sandy from Grease went from wearing dresses to being a greaser. It is the death of a 50’s goody two- shoes sound to her sound now which sexes it up a bit and she is able to get honest. The album then takes a turn with the title track “Dangerous Woman.” The song is a slow song that still managed to be edgy and R&B. The song allows Grande to talk about the excitement and power that she feels when she is with her man. Following it is a song that is a bit more upbeat and light. “Be Alright” is a song in which Ariana tells her fans that even though we may go through struggles and face challenges, we will overcome them and, in the end, we will all be alright. The song features a fun, light and airy beat that includes snaps, a piano, and some synthetic elements to create a pretty well-rounded song honestly. “Into You” is a song that features a bit more of a heavier, hard- hitting beat. The up-tempo, flirty song follows the idea of an addictive love interest. It talks about a relationship that is in the public eye, but the love is so much fun that you want to keep it a lie in order to keep it fun. We go from a flirty track to a sex track. “Side to Side” is a song that features Nicki Minaj and is a reggae infused song about pursuing a love no matter what anyone else things. The song includes a rap verse from rap queen, Nicki, in which we learn the phrase ‘dick bicycle.’
Let’s Just Blatantly Talk About Sex Now
We reach a bit of a trap sound with the help of Lil Wayne on the next song, “Let Me Love You.” It was the second promotional single and is a slow, sexy, and dark song. The song is rumored to have been done for about a year and a half before it was released and is clearly a song about a rebound after a breakup. The song features a beat that is reliant on synthetic and electronic beats and is followed by one of my favorites. “Greedy” is a song that is an upbeat track that contains a little bit of funk. The song is about wanting nothing but love and attention from her significant other. She doesn’t need money just love. The song that follows it is a good time, let me tell you. “Leave Me Lonely” is a song that is a soul FILLED duet between Ariana and Macy Gray. The song brings back the doo- wop sound that we hear in the “Moonlight” intro, but is about a toxic relationship that needs to end. Much like the tone change between the intro track and the title track, we take a turn for a more sexual side with “Everyday.” This duet is between Grande and Future and they sing about just how good they get it in their relationships. The elctro-pop beat meets trap and makes for a very unique track to say the least, but a bop nonetheless. “Sometimes” is a sultry track that takes an acoustic sound infused with a bit of R&B. It is a song that is about a relationship that you are comfortable in and never want to leave. You don’t want it to end.
Sultry, Sexy, And Flirty
“I Don’t Care” is a brassy and sultry R&B track that allows Ari to say that she doesn’t care about what people say about her. The song houses a lot of soul from the singer as well as some rather swanky tones. Before the album slows down a bit, we get another taste of hip hop Ariana on “Bad Decisions.” On this track, the singer lets loose of her good- girl image and talks about how her lover excites her with the love he gives her all of the time. The song is like really good, no question about it, but the three songs after it that close the album are a few of my favorites. The first part of the ending trilogy is “Touch it.” The song is heavy in synthetics and is about loving the way someone touches you. It is a beautiful song that allows her to show off her vocals on the powerful chorus. Following it is a two-part song, and another one of my favorites- even though I have said that with like every song. “Knew Better/ Forever Boy” is a song that follows her feelings after breaking up with her ex and then being followed by a bit about her relationship with her new boyfriend, at that time. The song consists of a small musical bit between the two that is a bit of a transition between the two types of love talked about in the song. The closing track for the album is “Thinking Bout You.” She uses the track to talk about having to take care of yourself when your lover is gone. The song talks about the feelings of longing and sadness that contrasts the triumphant last chorus.
How Ariana Grande widened her fan base with ‘Dangerous Woman’
I’LL ADMIT IT: I am one of those naysayers who didn’t really take Ariana Grande seriously in the beginning. Not that I hate her, it’s just that most pop stars who started their careers as teen stars don’t normally transition well as dependable musicians. Either they lip sync to save their lives, get involved in a number of controversies that can ruin their careers or simply don’t give a damn about their loyal fan base. Although Ariana Grande had a number of hits that time and her collaborations with artists that I admire like Jessie J, Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea, The Weeknd among others did well in the charts, I felt that she is still a little girl. Yes, they’re saying that she’s the new generation’s Mariah Carey or Christina Aguilera, but something was lacking. Yah know, like when Britney Spears said in one of her songs that ‘she’s not a girl, not yet a woman’. But guuurl, Ariana Grande proved that she’s ready to dominate the world and dominate the hearts of many by releasing Dangerous Woman in 2016.
DANGEROUS WOMAN: PROCEED WITH CAUTION – YOU MIGHT LOVE HER!
When I first heard “Dangerous Woman”, I thought to myself that this is the type of song my favorite Christina Aguilera can perform to. When I found out that Ariana Grande is the voice behind the song, I got intrigued. I listened to the album while my friend and I were on a road trip and we instantly fell in love with it. This particular song shows how a young woman is now ready to explore her sexuality thus it can be ‘dangerous’. I was more than happy when I saw her perform with Christina Aguilera in The Voice to promote the single. Ariana was vocal about the fact that Christina is one of her inspirations and honestly, it shows in this album. Both women are petite but their voices are so powerful and they’re not afraid to show the world that they are in-charge of their image and sexuality.
NOW I’M SO INTO YOU, ARIANA GRANDE!
I was about to cross to my 30’s when this album came out. The music video of “Into You” made an impression because it reminded me on how the female superstars of the 90’s made an effort in their music videos. I was rooting for Ariana and her leading man in the video up to the point that I ended up mentally writing a possible story line for the two. When I reunited with my mom and my special brother in the UK, we bonded over Ariana’s album in the lazy afternoons after tea time. Yes, we enjoyed dancing and sweatin’ over Zumba routines we could find for the song. I consider Into You as one of the songs that grows into you the more you listen to it. It was my LSS for a month and I am not ashamed to confess that. I guess this song was a hit for my mom because it has some disco vibe to it.
THE ROYAL REUNION WITH THE NICKI MINAJ
When the current Princess of Pop collaborates with the Queen of Rap of the decade, expectations are high. The friendship of royalties Ariana and Nicki flourished after they collaborated on the hit song of 2014 – “Bang Bang”. In fact, the two collaborated in more songs in 2018. With “Side to Side”, the two showed their playful side. They were able to make a sexually-charged reggae-pop song into something that kids can dance or sing too (yes, that sounds weird, I know.). The colorful music video features Ariana Grande in a spin class as a metaphor of the song’s real meaning. My friends and I can’t help but laugh with how the music video features a lot of physical activities. Adults do know the meaning behind ‘side to side’. When this song was released, this was often played in clubs. I remember dancing in the island of Boracay with some hostel mates with this song! That gave new meaning to ‘I’ve been here all night, I’ve been here all day’
COLLABORATIONS THAT WORKED IN ARIANA’S FAVOR
For this album, Ariana Grande had a number of collaborations. The first one is with Lil Wayne in R&B track “Let Me Love You.” The hip-hop beat of this song made it stand out and one of the LSS-worthy tracks from the album. Like one of my gal pals said, this is the perfect ‘lazy Sunday song’. The type that you play if you just want to stay at home and bop your head to. This song pertains to a woman who broke up with her ex and is now willing to be in the arms of someone new. In short, this girl has some dependency issues, huh! Just kidding! The next collaboration is with Future in “Everyday” which I believe is the ultimate grinding/sexy time song in the album. The music video is a shocker and it might have discouraged some viewers to take a second look so they just settle with the lyric video version, where the cutey Ariana is dancing innocently and simply having fun. If you wish to flirt with someone yet you do not know how to tell your prospect how, you can play this song and let’s see if it works. Just kidding. But hey, it might work. Last but not the least is Ariana’s collaboration with the talented Macy Gray in the hair-raising “Leave Me Lonely”, where the voices of these two divas blended well. It’s like going to church even if you don’t really go there to attend a mass. It’s that powerful!
THE SWEETER SIDE: Prelude to Sweetener?
I’m not sure if the ultimate throwback vibes dance song “Greedy” is officially released as a single, but it was featured din Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 9. It reminded me of Emma Bunton’s Free Me album. “Sometimes”, “Be Alright”, “Moonlight”, “Bad Decisions” and “Thinking Bout You” are worth listening to. It felt like it was a prelude to Ariana’s next album Sweetener. To summarize, Dangerous Woman is one of my favorite albums of 2016. Even my mom and my brother agrees to this! I guess taking the risk in buying this album is not a Bad Decision after all, eh?
Official Music Videos
- May 20, 2016