Ariana Grande’s 10 Best Deep Cuts
The Mariah Carey comparisons are not totally unfounded: Sure, Ariana Grande conjures up that classic R&B spirit with a vocal belting power few of her peers can reach, but her inimitable talent, devotion to her talents and magical presence on song has marked a new normal within the music industry.
Grande perfectly blends in progressive urban beats, too, from her Weeknd-featuring "Love Me Harder" to 2016's pulsating firestorm that was "Into You." During her headlining gig at Madison Square Garden earlier in early 2017, it was evident how well she can use her voice, towering over the listener with sweeping odes to romance and biting empowerment anthems.
We all know her biggest hits, including the Nicki Minaj- and Jessie J-assisted "Bang Bang" and the film noir-ish title track to her third album, Dangerous Woman, but her album deep cuts offer up even more finesse. The pop star embodies the modern woman—in style, in essence and in sheer talent—and that's no more apparent than throughout her discography.
Below, bask in ten of Grande's best deep cuts.
"Honeymoon Avenue," Yours Truly
There is no better introduction to her catalog than this strangely sweet, bouncy mid-tempo about the end of a relationship. She looks back fondly on when the butterflies made her stomach go pitter-patter... but she also knows it's the end and nothing can save the car from crashing. "Can we get back to the way it was?" she implores. The orchestral track opens her 2013 debut studio album, which also contains "The Way" (featuring her beau Mac Miller) as well as the infectious "Popular Song," a remixed version featuring MIKA, which was originally a collaboration with Priscilla Renea on MIKA's third album, 2012's The Origin of Love.
"Greedy," Dangerous Woman
Dangerous Woman is Grande's opus: a severely underrated statement on feminism, being sexually confident and supporting her fellow women. This downright jam finds Grande at her most fierce, ripping a page out of the Beyonce playbook, but she sings each passage with glowing intensity and charm. She embraces her inner vixen and declares we should, too as well as never be ashamed of being sexual. The key change and drop near the end of the track is straight-up fire.
"Best Mistake" Ft. Big Sean, My Everything
In one of her bolder moves, Grande enlists rapper Big Sean to drop in for a fly-by breakdown on this promotional release. Amid the rumble of piano keys and an electronic drum machine, the two trade lyrics detailing a toxic but invigorating relationship and ponder how they could possibly move forward together. "I'll be saving all my love for you," she coos.
"Tattooed Heart," Yours Truly
Bringing in a doo-wop influence, Grande can really sell this ballad like nobody's business. The song launches with a stark piano instrumental, her ethereal, aching vocal and haunting background vocals rising around the soundbed. There have been very few melodies as brazenly immediate as this debut album gem, and it ignites one of the best pop careers ever. Even when the soft synths and light percussion kick in, there is such a rawness to this performance that you can't help but swoon right along with her.
"Bad Decisions," Dangerous Woman
Vibing hard on good love, Grande is nothing but a bad b---h on this one. She might be a princess by day, but she is far more complex than that: She can drop it with the best of them, and she ain't afraid to show it. "We got that Bonnie and Clyde love," she admits. You know, the kind of love that makes you do the craziest things you can imagine? Yeah, we've all been there.
"Why Try," My Everything
Her second album pushed the boundaries in measurable ways, stylistically and thematically. But Grande never quite shed her power-pop roots, and she delivers a knockout down-tempo here. Coming off "One Last Time," she keeps the spirited angst and vocal soaring going, this time anchored by a percussive marching band, a catchy hook and a clever angels vs. devils duality.
"Better Left Unsaid," Yours Truly
Her debut album could not have ended any other way: From the pounding piano to the song's slow burn into a downright club banger, the powerhouse doesn't leave anything unsaid (pun totally intended). "I told you once, 'Get out my life
I don't need ya, I'll be alright,'" she unpacks in the aftermath of heartbreak. She juxtaposes her pain against the backdrop of a glitter-rave: "If you wanna party, put your hands up / Put your hands up, put your hands up / Don't play me, just kiss me," she wails.
"Touch It," Dangerous Woman
In a perfect world, two things would have happened here: 1.) This would have been shipped to radio and 2.) This would have smashed hard. But we are stuck in The Twilight Zone, somehow, with The Chainsmokers defining today's pop landscape. From the grungy synths and Grande's coo ("touch it, touch it") she is sly, confident and alluring on this Dangerous Woman cut. #JusticeforTouchIt
"Just a Little Bit of Your Heart," My Everything
Oh, the classic that could have been! The stunning intro is enough to send chills down your spine. Her songbook is stacked with ballads, yes, but in an intimate space like this, she truly shines as a storyteller. She doesn't rely on belting, but instead pulls back on the reigns. Sweeping strings—stand-up bass and violins, maybe?—come to her aid as the song builds, and it is utterly moving.
"Moonlight," Dangerous Woman
There is nothing quite like witnessing this song live to make a believer out of you. Any and all reservations you might have about Grande fade away when she looks up to the starry night to pledge her devotion, love and loyalty. This remains one of her most accomplished performances, flowing from the tender caresses on the verses to the belt-heavy chorus. There's no way you won't feel the urge to sing along.
Ariana Grande's Best Live Vocals:
Photos From Ariana Grande's Dangerous Woman Tour: