Ariana Grande was best-known for her role in hit Nickelodeon show Victorious until she started to make waves by turning to music. The actress and singer, who now has her own spin-off show Sam & Cat, has wowed fans and critics by unleashing her incredible voice which has been compared to Mariah Carey. Only 20-years-old, Grande has scored a Top 10 Billboard 100 hit with The Way featuring rapper Mac Miller. Now the rising star has released her eagerly-awaited debut album Yours Truly.
When we first heard about Ariana Grande our instant reaction was one of eye-rolling at the thought of another teen TV star trying her hand at music. Expecting something more along the lines of Hilary Duff, we were blown away to discover that Grande has quite the remarkable voice. The Way introduced us to her expansive vocal range whilst establishing her style as a throwback to 90s pop/R&B. Instantly intrigued we delved a bit deeper and we’re glad to say that Grande really is the real deal. She sounds as flawless live as she does on the record which is no easy thing, especially when you have a voice this epic.
Yours Truly is a collection of 12 songs that experiment in the 90s sound of hit The Way but offers plenty of variety, and vocal acrobatics, to keep any fan of the ‘diva’ style singer happy. We can understand to an extent the comparisons between Mariah Carey, after all she has worked with Babyface on the album, but we also have to say it’s a bit of a lazy comparison. Whilst undoubtedly Grande’s high notes and whistle register recall that of Carey’s, her voice tonally sounds nothing like her. We’d like to make it clear from this point out that Grande sounds like Ariana Grande – she’s not impersonating anyone else.
Honeymoon Avenue opens the record with luscious strings before settling into a mid-tempo R&B/pop groove. The track laments a relationship turned sour with Grande asking ‘can we get back to the way it was’ hoping to turn back time and get back to the good points of the relationship. Her voice floats effortlessly over the melody exploring the upper and lower ranges of her ability. She sings with such passion that you can’t help but get shivers down your spine. This continues throughout the record with Grande blowing the majority of her contemporaries clean out of the water.
Singles Baby I and The Way are on the poppier end of the album’s spectrum. The former is a beat-driven up-tempo number with a catchy chorus and rapid-fire vocals, whilst the latter is a true 90s throwback that has dominated charts all over the world. Grande is keen over the course of the album, of which she co-wrote most of, to showcase her versatility so there are no two songs that sound the same. Tattooed Heart is a nod to the 50s and is one of the highlights on the album featuring some of the strongest vocals, You’ll Never Know one of the more uptempo numbers that could do well in the clubs, and Popular Song is a MIKA song that Grande duetted on for its single release.
Almost Is Never Enough is one of the standout tracks on the record. Collaborating with Nathan Sykes from The Wanted (who knew he could sing like this?!) the track is a piano ballad that showcases Grande’s vocal abilities in their simplest form. The end result is simply stunning and the song definitely deserves repeat listens. Another strong moment comes on the beat/hand-clap heavy Piano which we’ve penned down as a future single pick. The track is so catchy that you’ll be humming it for days.
In a time when Miley Cyrus is looking more like a stripper than a singer, it’s refreshing to find a talent like Ariana Grande. She doesn’t need controversy and headlines to sell her music, instead letting her talent do all of the talking. Yours Truly is a remarkably strong and polished effort for the rising star. Watching her rise and take over the world is something we’re looking forward to.