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My Everything by Ariana Grande:
This Album Definitely is Her Everything!

Oct. 10, 2014
By DANIELLE CHRISTIAN

This Nickelodeon star turned pop-princess surprised the world when her first album debuted one year ago; bearing the title “Yours Truly”, tons of bubblegum-pop love songs, and an overall diverse sound, the act seemed tough to beat. Skeptics were proven wrong when she came out with her sophomore album, My Everything late this summer.  

Miss Grande gained her first rise to fame on Broadway as Charlotte in the hit, kid-only cast of 13: The Musical (which Seaford High School’s Drama Club proudly presented last year. Read an article on the show and production here). Shortly after her debut on Broadway, she joined the cast of the hit Nickelodeon show Victorious as Cat Valentine, a ditzy, innocent teen with bright red hair. For Grande, it was tough to decipher her character from her true self. She released her first single in 2011 called “Put Your Hearts Up” sporting a bright orange tan and an overall cartoon-y feel to the entire video. The public was fond of her sweet kid appeal, but wasn’t convinced she was any more than just that. This changed when she released her second album.

My Everything starts off simply; “Intro” is the name of the first track. The chilling one minute and twenty second track containing one verse doesn’t need much to paint the setting for the songs to come. Along with harmonies, rifts, and a soft orchestra in the background, Grande delivers an angelic vision for the audience. She refers to a “road to the sky”, as to take the listeners to another realm of the world. Throughout the album, Grande never fails to make the listeners feel like they really are somewhere new.  

The hit single from My Everything is easily recognized by most pop-listeners. “Problem” was not a problem at all with its debut on the top of the Billboard Hot 100, going back and forth between the highest spots. This horn filled R&B hit gives off a cool 90’s vibe; featuring the up and coming Australian rapper, Iggy Azalea, the song has an added coolness. The song is nothing less than a fun and playful duet with powerful vocals and rhyme.
“Problem” isn’t the only hit on Ariana’s album. Much like her first album where she included MIKA’s track which she featured on “Popular Song”, she also includes her featured tune “Bang Bang”, including the talented British pop sensation Jessie J and skilled female rapper Nicki Minaj. This trio contains a heavy amount of star power. The fun, energized song blew fans away when it was first released as a single, so it’s an extra bonus for buyers of Grande’s deluxe album. The combination of the vocal skills of Grande and Jessie, along with Minaj’s rapping, creates the perfect girl power pop party hit. (Try saying that five times fast!)

Grande isn’t shy about working with other artists, as seen in the above two tracks. She collaborates with many recognizable artists on My Everything. Unlike Yours Truly, where there were not as many other artists featured so Grande could mold her own sound and audience, her sophomore album shows her confidence in her music through how many artists she features. Grande’s hip-hop/R&B influences are portrayed in the artists who are included on the album, such as Big Sean, Childish Gambino, A$AP Ferg, and The Weeknd. 

The diversity in each of these songs, however, is astounding. Not one song lacks originality. For example, last album, Big Sean’s featured track was more of a party hit, while his comeback on “Best Mistake” is a melancholy tune of love. Maybe this is because of their blossoming relationship that occurred late this summer?
A$AP Ferg serves up some spice on Ari’s biggest jump from a Nickelodeon star yet on “Hands on Me”. This hit sounds more like a song Rihanna would come out with, and most people are more pleased than offended. Compared to Ari’s “Put Your Hearts Up”, this song is her showing her new grown up persona.

In Gambino’s debut on the album, he helps back up Grande in her revenge filled hit “Break Your Heart Right Back”. Probably one of the most fun tracks on My Everything, it doesn’t lack on the flavor and rhythm that a song like this has to have. 

“Love Me Harder”, the ninth track on Grande’s album, brings great pleasure to the ear. The Weeknd, who features on the song of love and passion, has one of the smoothest and most pleasant R&B voices in the industry. His voice combined with Ariana’s adds up to be the perfect equation. Personally, this duet is almost as good as her last album’s famous duet with Nathan Sykes from The Wanted on “Almost Is Never Enough”. Hopefully, Grande continues to work with The Weeknd to keep creating beautiful pieces such as this “Love Me Harder”.

Not only does Grande duet with other artists, but she collaborates as well. Many of the featured artists on “My Everything” are more behind the scenes. For example, she works with famous DJ and music producer Zedd on the intergalactic electronic hit “Break Free”, filled to the brim with messages of independence, power, and strength. Zedd delivers a great mix to the background as Grande sings her powerful high notes. Zedd has worked with many artists to help fulfill his dance music, such as Foxes in “Clarity” and Hayley Williams of Paramore in “Stay the Night”. His success is now onto Grande, who definitely keeps that flow moving.

Another music producer and DJ Grande works with is Norwegian Cashmere Cat on the song “Be My Baby”, a soft R&B tune with sweet lyrics and a nice movement. Cashmere Cat, being a little more on the unknown side, shows what he can do with Grande and really makes people want to check his other work out.

Ariana writes many of her own songs, but when she is given some help by other artists in the industry, it really increases people’s interest and the song’s quality is definitely boosted. Right after the hit “Problem” is listed on the album, a song called “One Last Time” is present. This being the first full song that listeners weren’t familiar with could be tricky, but Ariana gets by with her beautiful voice and a little help from her friends. David Guetta, a hit DJ, music producer, and music writer contributed to writing this song. Guetta is also known for songs such as “Without You”, “Titanium”, and “I Gotta Feeling”. Success is nothing Guetta is unaware of.

“Why Try”, the fourth track on the album, was co-written by Ryan Tedder, the main singer of the pop-rock band One Republic, responsible of many hit songs such as “Counting Stars”, “Apologize”, and “All the Right Moves”.
Ariana must be a fan of singers on bands with “One” in the title, because one of the most emotional and elegant songs on “My Everything”, titled “Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart” was co-written by One Direction’s Harry Styles. A good choice made by Grande, seeing the talent Styles possesses combined with passionate, emotion filled voice creates an amazing song of heart break. Is there a possible duet in the works for these two superstars? 

As much as her work with other artists is great, Grande’s solo songs are on point. She delivers an emotional song of heart break with the title song “My Everything”, which Grande performed at the Stand Up To Cancer concert earlier this year in memory of her grandfather. The song is powerful not only with the lyrics, but Grande’s voice stays strong to driver her objective. On the regular album, it is the last track, which really ties everything back to the Intro.

She also delivers some thoughtfulness and love in the track “Only 1”, where she sings about how lucky she is to have her significant other by her side through it all, even though she feels it’s way too good to be true. It’s a sweet, loving song that is similar to her hit from “Yours Truly”, “The Way”.

Lastly, the ending track of the deluxe album is Grande’s true diva moment. “You Don’t Know Me” says it all. Comparable to Beyonce or Britney, she signs her deluxe album off to say she’s here to stay and she won’t listen to anyone’s judgments on her. To say this track is fitting to current events is an understatement; the rumors floating around that Grande is hard to work with and walks off of photo shoots are being brushed off by Ariana, showing how she’s taking her song to heart.

Overall, the album was literally a journey; a journey through out all different messages, lessons, styles, and events. Ariana shows how much she has grown up since her first album; she has grown up not only with the maturity of her voice, but with her lyrics and sound. She’s no ditzy Nickelodeon actress with red hair anymore; she’s made a household name of herself. I would personally rate this album a 9.5 out of 10 because of the fact that every song ties together in a way that still keeps it all diverse and not as if every song is a carbon pop copy of the other. Grande uses R&B, pop, hip-hop, and even Broadway influences in this album. “My Everything” is truly everything.