Ariana Grande – thank u, next (2019)

Ariana Grande fever hit a peak around the release of this album. Her previous album Sweetener had gotten attention for those who enjoy contemporary music. Ariana Grande quickly added fuel to her fire for her fans and released this album in early 2019.

It is perhaps not as consistent as Sweetener, but thank u, next is not a bad recording to hear. Let’s have an analysis of this recording.

We begin with imagine, which actually has nothing to do with John Lennon’s own song called Imagine. It’s just a way of Ariana Grande saying what she wants to do with a lover. It’s a great start to this recording. It sounds very full-on. The vocal melodies at the end are great.

Next is needy with a sort of Chrono Trigger (SNES game) electronic sound in the background. This one is not mixed that well, and the mix should have pushed Ariana’s voice further up through the mix. Still, it’s okay to hear. It seems a weaker effort overall, sadly, due to the mix. There are some interesting orchestral sounds at the end though.

NASA continues the overall concept of the album, which is talking about space travel in relation to Ariana Grande’s life. It’s an okay tune nonetheless. It’s an interesting topic to cover though.

bloodline has a strange conversation at the start, before going into a rather routing R & B song. It’s about keeping a lover at a distance. Since Ariana Grande has had many high profile lovers, this is the aftermath of all that had been going on. It’s not that good, could have been done better.

The intro at the beginning of fake smile sounds like something recorded in the 1930s or 1940s but quickly goes into a better (for this album) sounding piece than before. It’s about keeping up one’s guard in the realm of fame. It’s a good listen to. Ariana’s voice sounds really good here.

Next up is bad idea. This is a good piece, but not outstanding. Most of this album, at this point, is very ordinary. It could have been better done, in retrospect. Although the lyrics are merely reflecting Ariana Grande’s life, there is nothing that really sounds truly great at this point.

make up has more discordant sounds, to begin with, before launching into a forgive-and-forget type scenario lyrically. It’s okay to hear, but despite her popularity, this album seems a little pointless. It should not have been rushed in retrospect, and it sounds as though that is the case.

ghostin begins with some freakish atmospheric sounds before launching into a very personal experience with Ariana Grande herself. Admittedly, this piece is a big improvement on the others in the album. This shows that Ariana Grande can deliver very well, be it the correct song. And in this case, she does well here.

Next along is in my head. It’s a straightforward tune but there is a great vocal melody within it. The other elements of the song are very meh. Still, it’s a decent listen. Ariana’s singing is very good here.

The next piece is 7 rings. It is hardly original in approach. It’s a weak song about selfishness. Not exactly a decent tune, especially lyrically. Rather forgettable, to be fair. Could have been bettered.

thank u, next arrives. It’s immediately a catchy song, fortunately. The title track of the album is about relationship issues that Ariana Grande has had with her ex-boyfriends. It’s delivered well. Good job here.

break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored is a joke sort of title for a serious sort of song. It’s about Ariana Grande finding a new path in her life for herself. It’s a good listen for a laugh. The album concludes here.

The verdict with this album? Rather overrated and trashy. Perhaps more time could have been spent re-recording and editing certain sections. It is good but does not live up to the hype. Better luck next time Ariana.

6/10

Lil’ Kim – Hard Core (1996)

Lil’ Kim has had an interesting lifetime over the years. She went to prison at one point. But despite that, she also made some great music.

This, her debut, is likely her best. It’s rap with some different beats and textures you’d normally expect elsewhere. It’s also a really great listen. Let’s check out this album.

Intro In A-Minor is a hilarious intro to the world of Lil’ Kim. It’s very explicit and sexual and is a great listen for a laugh. You really have to hear it to experience the humour of it. It’s a great way to begin the album.

Big Momma Thang arrives. It’s a great piece from Lil’ Kim. It has a load of awesome groove-based sounds in it. It also delivers very well lyrically by Lil’ Kim and makes you want more. Class.

The next song is No Time. It’s about staying strong in a world of mediocrity. It has some nice stardust and piano sounds on it. It also has a good array of guest appearances, in a structured way of course. Very sexual and very explicit, once again.

After that, we have Spend A Little Doe which is a catchy piano-driven piece. It talks about selling one’s body for you-know-what. It’s a great number here for sure. Well worth listening to from this album.

Take It! is a skit about sex-based adventures. It would make a person who is very politically correct wince. It leads into the next piece.

Crush On You talks more sexual stuff. It’s an okay piece, but not as good as the cuts before it. Still listenable though.

Following up is Drugs. It’s a really good piece, in fact. The subject matter is self-explanatory. It’s a very good piece. “A different kind of high,” indeed. It’s a chilled out sort of vibe on this song.

The next piece Scheamin’ is a very short skit from the female perspective about sexual desire. It’s an interesting skit indeed.

Queen Bitch talks about gang based culture from Lil’ Kim. It’s a good listen, with some catchy sonic loops, including a piano riff. The lyrics exhibit much colourful language.

Dreams kicks off next. It has a very catchy guitar-based riff throughout. Lil’ Kim excels here. “Dreams of fucking in R & B”. It’s still highly sexual for a song here, which makes it sound out there. But hey, it’s very good.

The next piece is a very close-to-the-bone matter for Lil’ Kim. M.A.F.I.A. Land is about all that. It sounds very deep and meaningful for a rap artist. A good listen. One of the best cuts off the album. A prophetic song before she went to jail, perhaps?

Afterward, we arrive at We Don’t Need It. It’s a sexual story from both the male and female perspective. The chorus is a call-and-response piece from the males and females on this album. A nice effort.

Not Tonight has great electronic sounds at the beginning. It continues the theme of the album. It is super explicit, so ensure you have headphones when listening to this around people of a conservative nature. Excellent though.

Player Haters is another skit. It’s about jealousy, not a bad listen before the last song of the album.

The last piece is the profanity based Fuck You. It sounds discordant, which is a bit different compared to the rest of the album. A good way to conclude this album though.

This album showed the world of Lil’ Kim to the world. Although her output has slowed throughout the years, Lil’ Kim remains a popular celebrity today. A quality listen from Lil’ Kim is here.

7/10

Ariana Grande – Sweetener (2018)

The biggest artist in the postmodern world is Ariana Grande. She has become the highest artist listened to on postmodern music charts, and has a great batch of songs to boot. This album really set the ball rolling for her in terms of popularity and being recognised as an artist. Let’s see if this album lives up to the hype.

The introduction raindrops (an angel cried) is a great piece, revealing Ariana Grande’s multi range vocal. She really does well here, and is a great start to the record. She sings powerfully, and with deep emotion. Great stuff.

We then kick off with blazed which features rapper Pharrell Williams. It’s not really about weed smoking, but it’s more about love. The lyrics are typical R&B sort of stuff, but the song is good anyway. It’s very catchy.

the light is coming is another guest vocalist piece, this time along with Nicki Minaj. It’s a postmodern “girl power” sort of track. It’s kind of annoying after a while to listen to. But okay for R&B nonetheless.

R.E.M. is a piece about dreaming of a lover. It’s a laidback and chilled sort of listen. It compares such a dream to reality. It’s a nice piece to listen to and fits well on the album. It opens up lyrically in a personal way, which is very typical of Ariana Grande to do.

The follow up is a very powerful statement from Ariana Grande, God is a woman. Which is probably a realistic observation. It is very melodic sounding, and it talks about a personal affection as a woman like Ariana Grande. It’s quite emotional, the chanting at the end of this track is great.

The title track of the album, sweetener is a good poppy and upbeat song to listen to. It refers to a positive outcome from love. It’s just terrific listening. It’s a gentle statement from Ariana Grande.

successful is directly about the confidence that Ariana Grande feels in her spotlight as a singer. It’s perhaps bragging or boasting, but the chorus is catchy enough to forgive our singer for that. A nice variety of sounds are here as well. The word bae is frequently used here, google that one if you are unsure. Very good regardless.

everytime is a piece about dealing with the pressures of fame. It sounds very dark though, with Ariana Grande delivering similarly themed lyrics. It’s not bad though, but reveals a darker, more personal side to her music.

The following song breathin is a more melancholy piece for the listener. It’s about keeping on going through life, no matter whatever happens. The repeated lyric, “Just keep on breathing and breathing and breathing,” is delivered fantastically and wonderfully here. A good piece from Ariana Grande, especially in her singing.

We then launch into no tears left to cry, with Ariana Grande telling the listener to remain positive no matter what. The lyrics have a little bit of a hypocritical nature about it though. It’s okay though as a song.

borderline is a short song, with Ariana Grande referring to herself as a “wifey type”. Ariana Grande has had her fair share of relationships in the limelight, and this song directly covers some of these. Missy Elliot does a short rap part towards the end. Not too bad to hear.

better off begins with an organ, then Ariana sings, leading into a nicely melodic piece with a chilled vibe. She reveals that her type of love based relationship and admits her love is not just for anybody. We can see why this sort of thing is very popular today. It’s a good listen.

The next song, goodnight n go reveals a more bitter side in Ariana Grande’s music about frustrations in her personal life. It has an annoying melody in the chorus, but that is easily forgiven.

The short ode to her ex pete davidson is a sweet and melodic piece that barely goes for a minute. It is a kind, and retrospectively, wasted gesture. But still, it’s good.

get well soon is a good way to end the album. It is a nice devotion to those going through hardship. It ends with nearly two minutes of silence, then we have finished the album, feeling great.

This album is proof of the postmodern talent that is Ariana Grande. She continues to make great music to this day. For those who do not know R & B style pop music, you can’t go wrong by listening to this album. It’s an enjoyable listen, by all means. A variety of beats, sounds and singing go wonderfully here. Well done Ariana Grande.

8/10