New stuff: Be Alright

Ariana Grande has suddenly become interesting in 2016. The signs from the previous year, from her critiques against sexism to her highly publicized donut licking, suggested that Grande was far more in tune than her squeaky-clean persona previously suggested. But her wise SNL monologue and wonderful sketch have made her the pop star of the moment, and she’s doing everything she can to capitalize on the late-night momentum, now releasing her latest single “Be Alright” off her upcoming album Dangerous Woman. And because everything she’s done recently has been fabulous, it shouldn’t be a surprise that “Be Alright” is the best song she’s ever released.

I doubt it’s going to get that big, however, at least in comparison with her previous singles. “The Way” is perfectly fine. “Problem” was pretty good. “Break Free” is still great, and “Bang Bang” still bangs. The trouble with her previous hits was that they demanded too much of her diva-lite voice, trying to force stardom on what should have come naturally. “Be Alright” calms the expectations, allowing Grande to mellow out over a cool house beat instead of trying to do her best Mariah Carey impression. As a result, she sounds more natural than she ever has, and hopefully this means she and her songwriters have found the starlet a niche.

 

 

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