After months of anticipation, 20-year-old pop newcomer Ariana Grande releases her debut album, Yours Truly. Comprised of twelve selections, the album is sugary and delectable, giving listeners a complete taste of her soft, cotton candy-like voice.
Production, largely at the hands of Babyface and Harmony Samuels, is dulcet and meticulous, though a bit overbearing at times. The album presents a mellifluous fusion of pop and hip-Hop elements, reminiscent of Mariah Carey’s musical style around the same age, but not too heavy on the hip-hop side. Thus, the album has a little variation in sound, but still maintains its Top 40 appeal.
One thing is for sure — as a technical singer, Ariana is far more advanced than most of her contemporaries, including Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and Justin Bieber. It is apparent that she is still learning the limits and complexities of her voice, however, her upper-register is agile and euphonious. One drawback are her chest notes, which lack resonance. Furthermore, her whistle register could use a bit of training so that she can use it efficiently and have better control of it when outside of the recording studio.
Thematically, Yours Truly is perfect. Ms. Grande is singing about all of the things on every 20-year-old’s mind. Still, she manages to express the lyrics in a way that sounds mature and could potentially appeal to both a younger and older audience. Hopefully this translates well into sales, since Ariana’s primary demographic is the non-album-buying generation.
For her next project, I recommend vocal lessons (and not because she can’t sing), and maybe writing more of her own songs. After all, isn’t she supposed to be the “next Mariah”?
As a whole, Ariana’s debut is very solid. It is cohesive, written with understandability, and is sonically-pleasing.
Standout tracks: “Tattooed Heart,” “Piano,” and “Honeymoon Avenue”
Money well-spent. You, too, may purchase Yours Truly on iTunes here.