Ariana Grande’s “My Everything” falls flat when it comes to original sound

MOVE reviews “My Everything.”

By Crystal Duan | Sept. 2, 2014

Tags: Music Reviews

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Pop music tends to brainwash listeners into thinking that beneath the layers of auto-tune and awkward guest-rapping (Pitbull, you’re most unwelcome), everyone who makes the Billboard Hot 100 must have a decent voice. But Ariana Grande doesn’t leave you with any doubt: The girl can sing. Nowhere on her second studio album “My Everything” does her singing voice falter.

But maybe her writing voice is a little rickety. Like too many songbirds with legendary voices, Grande doesn’t put her voice to good lyrical use. She’s singing the same tune on each of her tracks. The same themes of life after heartbreak come up time after time, albeit sung just as soulfully with slight variation in instrumentals. The most memorable songs are, unfortunately, Grande’s current radio hits: “Problem” and “Bang Bang”. Her album’s success may plateau even before it takes off. Even strategic guest vocals from Childish Gambino, The Weeknd and Big Sean can’t ward off any glazing over of listeners’ eyes.

But it depends on what Grande set out to prove with this album. If she wanted the world to simply recognize that she can belt out a melody like nobody’s business, and that this voice will keep her in the music industry for quite some time, then she definitely can consider that achieved.

From hitting an impressive number of consecutive high notes down to a signature tendency to hold them with diva-esque whistle tones, Grande is a dead ringer for Mariah Carey in sound, but more so in foreseen longevity. Sweet R&B ballads such as “Be My Baby” and “Only 1” may echo Carey’s early hits, but Grande also keeps one eye on current Top 40 trends by infusing sensitive songs “Break Free” and “One Last Time” with EDM beats. A contemporary twist on her songs shows that she can keep up with the times and maintain her style, piercing trills and all, and uphold countless songwriting cliches.

MOVE gives “My Everything” 3 out of 5 stars

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