Spin #65 : Ariana Grande : Dangerous Woman
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #65
Our 65th Spin from the Rylo collection is 'Dangerous Woman' by the petite pop princess, Ariana Grande. I did say that our collection was diverse and who knows, next week might be something Death Metal! For a long time when Night Kat Kiz and I played darts on Friday evenings, we would have a you tube playlist playing some music videos at random. Strangely enough, a lot of Grande's songs would come on (particularly 'Side To Side' which features Nicki Minaj). We always look at each other and laugh now because at first listen, it wouldn't be something that you'd think we would spin much at R'nR with Rylo. Until you give her music a chance, you might not know that she has a vocal range of four octaves and is the modern day version of Mariah Carey. If you are like our children and can dance to the sound of the kettle boiling, then you'll be right at home with the production levels on this pop record. Honestly they can really dance to anything and it always makes us smile.
For this album I have used our front room set-up with the Marshall Woburn II speaker turned around, facing the four sitting chairs we have. In the middle of the chairs is the fluffy rug and the kids think this is the dancefloor. It has been a learning curve this week and I will be heading off again for work tomorrow. This time will be my longest amount of time away from the family and I have to keep reminding myself that we will be ok. I know that it will get easier and I won't have to be away as much in the future, but it still doesn't make it any easier.
ALBUMS OF NOTE (2016): Day Breaks - Norah Jones, Lady Wood - Tove Lo, Hardwired....To Self Destruct - Metallica, Blue & Lonesome - The Rolling Stones, Full Circle - Loretta Lynn, Dystopia - Megadeth, Brotherhood of the Snake - Testament, Glory - Britney Spears, The Stage - Avenged Sevenfold, The Astonishing - Dream Theater, All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us - Architects
Image : Ariana Grande
If you happen to also own a copy of this album then go and grab it, I'll wait. Place Side A onto the turntable as we get ready to #dropthestylus
Sounds of 'MOONLIGHT' start coming through the Marshall Woburn II speaker and is a lighter way to start this record. Grande is showing off her production team on this opener and showcasing her vocal range, which is her strength. We had some nice moments recently together as a little family and ones that I want our children to read about later in life. Our daughter has started hitting her toddler strides now and becoming very chatty, particularly when its bedtime. We decided to cram in a lot over the weekend and even found time to make a craft crocodile giant head for a costume!
Our son and daughter managed to have ice cream on the hill underneath the Wollongong Lighthouse, kick a footy on the fields at Warilla and have fun on the various playgrounds. As this song is playing, it does make me think of those nice moments that Night Kat Kiz and I will treasure forever. We even found time to run across the sand at Towradgi beach and find some shells to decorate our garden at home. I like the use of violin and read that this was originally the title for this album but was changed to the second song on the album called, 'DANGEROUS WOMAN'. I can see why they changed the title as it makes it a little easier to market Grande as she grows up with each album. The slow song with a hint of rock and roll coming through makes this one stick in your head, even if it isn't a typical pop song. Check out the music video here.
Side A keeps moving along to the lighter sounding song called, 'BE ALRIGHT'. I like the lyrics of this one and gives me hope when I follow along - "In slow motion, Can't seem to get where we're going. But the hard times are golden, 'cause they all lead to better days". I found a clip of her performing this song live on Saturday Night Live - check it out here. Her voice is layered so clearly over the background sounds which are very samba sounding and easy to bop along too (as our children are showing now). I think so far, this is their favourite song and would be mine too if I didn't already know what is coming up on Side B.
I've flipped LP 1 over to Side B and start to hear the sounds of this second single released from the album, 'INTO YOU'. The chorus is very catchy and she has balanced this one right with deep bass and tweeter clarity. It also shows off her ability to create more grown up music as she moves away from her Nickelodeon days. It also leads into the seductive track called, 'SIDE TO SIDE' with Nicki Minaj. Now, Night Kat Kiz would swear I put this one on the video playlist but I really don't. For some reason, You Tube just decides that they want to play this one all the time (also Miley Cyrus' Flowers). Check out the clip here. I think it's the beat that brings the listener in on this track and has a slight reggae vibe going on. Let me know what you think of the last two songs below in the comments and if you feel Side B is the strongest on the album. I know that the critics leaned favourably when reviewing this album but only just, giving it scores of 6/10 and 76/100. I think it is probably her best album up until that moment with maybe 'Sweetener' topping this one, at least commercially.
'LET ME LOVE YOU' is up next and features Lil Wayne collaborating for the first time with Grande. There is a lot of vocal altering and editing on this one and I think that it works really well. It sounds different to all the tracks before it due to this and adds to the mythos that 'Dangerous Woman' was her best era. I'm not really up to date with her life or anything but appreciate her music for what it is. Last song on Side B is the up-beat pop song, 'GREEDY'. If you enjoy this album then you should check out 'Future Nostalgia' from Dua Lipa and 'Familia' by Camila Cabello - both are on par in terms of production quality. I haven't been able to hear her latest album, 'Positions' but if its anything like her other records it would probably be worth checking out too.
My second favourite song on the album would have to be the one that leads off Side C on LP2 with a feature by Macy Gray. 'LEAVE ME LONELY' has so much soul and feeling behind their voices that makes this one resonate a lot with me. I could easily see this song used as a title theme for a James Bond movie too. Let me know what you think about this track in the comments or on our social media. Now we move into a completely different song on the album that features artist Future called 'EVERYDAY'. This one sounds like it should be used as a training or workout song as it has a good constant beat that you can use as you run or lift weights too. The flow of this album has so much variety that just when you think you know what the next song will be, you get pulled into a completely different direction.
If you think the next sounds are from a Jack Johnson or Bruno Mars track, then you'd be wrong because Grande has decided to hit us with an acoustic style pop song called, 'SOMETIMES'. I've heard Grande sing a few songs acapella now and when she sang this one, it was pretty impressive. I like the lyrics of, " I ain't even think of leaving sometimes. I ain't even think of letting go. I ain't ever thought of going nowhere, I don't even see it down the road. 'Cause we're collectin' moments, Tattoos on my mind. I ain't even think of leaving sometimes, I ain't even think of letting go. Not even sometimes, babe".
'I DONT CARE' showcases Grande telling the world that she no longer cares what her haters think and is pretty good advice. There is no need to let other people's negativity drag you down, so you need to do what you can and move on. I can picture her up on a small stage in a soul bar with the lights all low and a band behind her on this track. This track ends and its time to flip LP 2 over for Side D.
Now we reach the last four songs of the album and you'd think by now that they wouldn't be as good as the tracks we've already heard. Well Grande shows no signs of slowing down on this RnB heavy track called, 'BAD DECISIONS'. I like the lyrics on this one and is easy to have on when you are cooking or cleaning, very motivational beat. It is also another track to really solidify that she is no longer that pre-teen goody girl any longer, in case you hadn't realised this far into the album.
If you take away the vocals on this one you can hear the heavy use of synths in the production and reminds me a bit of 'Moral Panic' from that awesome UK band, Nothing But Thieves. I think they have a new album out soon too which you should really check out. For a pop song and an Ariana Grande song, 'TOUCH IT' is very dark and has me looking for Timbaland in the background at times. I like the darker theme here and even though we see her in the public eye as the innocent popstar, she seems to be battling with anxiety and depression like a lot of us do at times. Makes her songs a bit more relatable on a deeper level if you can look past the pop fluff. The second last song on the album called 'KNEW BETTER / FOREVER BOY', is split into two sides of love that she has experienced. The start is quite dark compared to the end where she has obviously found love or letting that overshadow the bad.
I'm really going to miss my family this coming week and will have to take some stories with me so I can read it to them via facetime. We tried that when I went away to Queensland last time and our son did a very good job at reading me a bedtime story. Something that I will think about whilst I'm away. I guess that makes this last song pretty timely because that is exactly what I will be doing. If you didn't realise by now, Grande showcases her vocal range again as she closes the album with last song, 'THINKING 'BOUT YOU'. I like the lyrics of, "Oh, I don't have you here with me but at least I have the memory. I try to make it through the night, but I can't control my mind". There are a couple of songs that didn't make it on the record that I have stumbled across on streaming that sounded good too if you wanted to expand this Sunday experience. But that is where the stylus finishes and we must leave you this week.
We here at R'nR with Rylo really hope that you had a relaxing time over the weekend and rested enough for whatever your week entails. I hope that you enjoyed the variety on this pop album and maybe give her other records a chance if you haven't already. I will try my best to release the MWSP and Sunday Spin on time but as I will be travelling, I can't make any promises.
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled” - Plutarch
Until our next Spin, be Kind to people who can probably smash a wine glass with their singing range and be Kind to your Wax!
TOO MANY TO LIST!!
SPEED PLAYED AT
MY EVERYTHING (2014)
SIDE TO SIDE
RATING OUT OF 5
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
2 X BLACK LP IN POLY/PAPER BAGS, GATEFOLD WITH LYRICS AND IMAGES OF ARIANA GRANDE
"'Cause tonight I'm making deals with the devil and I know it's gonna get me in trouble. Just as long as you know you got me" ~ Side To Side - Side B
SIDE TO SIDE
LET ME LOVE YOU
LEAVE ME LONELY
I DON'T CARE
KNEW BETTER / FOREVER BOY
THINKING BOUT YOU
Ariana Grande performing live on the Dangerous Woman tour