Ariana Grande is one “Dangerous Woman”

Ariana Grande’s new track let fans know her man makes her feel “dangerous,” and it’s a safe bet that her chart-topping status does too.

The 22-year-old singer’s forthcoming album Dangerous Woman isn’t set for release until May 20, but her promotional tracks’ successes have already suggested her next installment will be another Billboard triumph.

The Florida native’s first single, “Dangerous Woman,” off her third studio album is nothing short of promising. From the song’s funky, Motown opening, with each line’s ending featuring Grande’s signature belts, to the fading of the track’s last word, it illuminates her vocal excellence. That’s something rarely said about pop stars—especially those with an entertaining career starting on a children’s sitcom. Whether listeners are long-time Arianators or first-time listeners, Grande’s voice is just as enchanting.

The glue holding the multi-dimensional effort together is a James Bond-esque chorus—commencing with the bold, sexual line, “Somethin’ ’bout you makes me feel like a dangerous woman.” The chorus’ blunt sexual statements provide a degree of shock value, contrary to Grande’s long-standing, pristine image. Its haunting sound, building with each riff, induces a few unavoidable goose bumps.

“Dangerous Woman” is a complete work.  Its evocative lyricism leaves little to the imagination and its marrying to persistent choral, hi-hat beats keeps the nearly four-minute-long track moving.

Introducing a style we’ve yet to see in her past works, only for a brief minute, Grande provides some synthesizer-infused sounds in the song’s last 30 seconds.  It’s indicative of Daft Punk’s “Doin’ it Right” intro but still, Grande makes it her own.

Interestingly, despite the track’s enchanting sounds, Grande chose to strip away its consistency, both on the Saturday Night Live stage and in a recent a cappella video of her belting the song.  In Grande’s March 12 performance, the track’s words were met with electric guitars and drums and, clad in leather, Grande served a more rock-based version of the track, which was no less impactful than its original form.  Needless to say, her a cappella rendition, released on March 20, followed suit, further accentuating her savory scats.

“Be Alright,” the album’s second promotional track, takes a more pop-based approach. Emerging with smooth singing over xylophone beats, Grande begins the track on a fluid note, which carries over into the song’s upbeat chorus, onset by Grande singing, “We’ll be alright.”

Featuring another dose of scats, now over a choppy, electro beat, “Be Alright” serves as a vocally dulled down version of “Dangerous Woman,” putting the focus on fun, dance-ready sounds.

Grande also took to SNL’s stage for a dimly lit performance of “Be Alright,” with the Scream Queens actress supported by a cast of all male backup dancers.  Clad in outfits expressive of a theater director, with movements straight from Madonna’s vogue music video, the group served interpretive dance to the almost disco-sounding track.  Despite her commanding vocals through the performance, Grande participated in the dancing, something both vocally and visually impressive.

Given Grande’s on and off-stage efforts promoting Dangerous Woman thus far, it’s looking like the album will be her most cohesive, and successful yet.  Regardless, she’ll “Be Alright,” since “Dangerous Woman” sits on its rightful throne at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Liam McGurl

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