Ariana Grande brings Christmas cheer in ‘Christmas Kisses’

Welcome to Ariana Fridays! Every Friday leading up to Christmas, I’ll be review Ariana Grande Christmas catalog. She happens to have two EPs and  one single. Nothing brings Christmas cheer like Ariana Grande.

It’s the first Friday in December! Do you know what that means? Only 18 days until Christmas. As you have a massive heart attack because you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping, it’s time to go down memory lane  and reminisce about Ariana Grande’s first ever Christmas EP “Christmas Kisses.” Also, I swear this isn’t being an Ariana Grande fan site. It just happens she’s a queen and I appreciate a queen being a queen. Welcome to the first edition of Ariana Fridays!

“Christmas Kisses” was released in December of 2013. Instead of having all the songs come out on the EP release date, each song was released individually as single the weeks leading up to the release date. This was done similar to Justin Bieber and how he did his album “Journals,” which was also released in the same month.  It’s like they have the same manger or something. 

The EP features four songs on it. Two of the songs are covers while the other two songs are original Christmas songs. The album is a good mix of pop and R&B. It’s similar in style to her debut album “Yours Truly.” The album has a good flow when it comes to the layout and progression of the EP. It starts out fast paced and extremely upbeat before ending on a much relaxing and slower pace. The EP has this old-school Britney Spears and Mariah Carey feel to it. 

The two covers are of “Last Christmas” and “Santa Baby,” which also features former “VICTORiOUS” co-star Liz Gillies. Both songs Ariana put her own spin on to where they are still the same songs you know and love but more update to date. This is more so apparent in “Last Christmas” where she added in a new verse. This is the kind of covers of Christmas music I want to hear. She adds something new to the songs and not let it be just the same old song. 

The two original songs, “Love in Everything,” and “Snow in California” are good songs but they aren’t that memorable as the other two. They aren’t bad songs but they are just average. “Love is Everything” is such as better song compared to “Snow in California.” It’s just too corny with the lyrics. It’s even too corny for Christmas music standards. “Snow in California” is just meh. It’s not bad but it’s not good. It just feels like filler on the album. It’s also not as lyrically strong as the rest of the album. 

Verdict

“Christmas Kisses” is great first Christmas EP but it’s nothing too great. The covers on the album are the highlights while the original songs are something that most people will just gloss over. I do recommend this EP as it’s good music to have on in the background during this holiday season. You will mainly be listening to the covers. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Ariana Grande releases docuseries about ‘Dangerous Woman’ series

Still feeling like a Dangerous Woman

On Thursday, November 29th Ariana Grande pulled a Shane Dawson and released a docuseries that focused on her 2017 “Dangerous Woman” tour. “Dangerous Woman Diaries” were highly anticipated as it was a behind the scenes look at the tour and looked like it would also have performances on there. The release of this docuseries also happens to hype her newest video “Thank U, Next.” Well timed, Miss Butera, well timed.

CLICK HERE FOR THE REVIEW OF “DANGEROUS WOMAN” ALBUM

Before I go any further into the review, let’s get one thing straight: I’m very glad she released the “Dangerous Woman Diaries.” I wasn’t able to go to see the tour so I didn’t experience it. I’m stating this first because here is the part where I have to nonobjective and review it like I would any other. As a Ariana Grande fan, I enjoyed it. But as a journalist and reviewer, I had mixed feelings. 

“Dangerous Woman Diaries” is pretty much your standard concert movie. It full of the performances from the tour as well as little behind the scenes bits from tour and Ariana’s life. It’s split into four different episodes: one episode covers “Sweetener” and the other three is the tour and performances. It’s all amateur footage as well. So there are times where it’s like you are literally watching the video on YouTube, which is where the series is ironically, and there’s also times that it looks likes a full production.

I honestly liked how personal the series felt. You got a closer look at what’s its like to be on tour with Ariana as well as got to get see how close their crew is thoughout the tour. The footage help and hurt the overall experience. While the raw handy cam footage worked for those personal moments, it hurt the performances. There was times where you would have professional HD footage that look something that you would get on a full fledge concert DVD. Then it go to handy cam footage that was good quality but something that you would have found on YouTube from a fan. It’s sketchy but not as clear as the previous footage. It literally looks like a fan-made DVD of the concert. There you go, I said it!

I can forgive the fan-made DVD aspect but here are the unforgive able things that I just can’t let slide. After the first episode, they have given “Dangerous Woman Diaries” a TV-MA. What is funny about that is the fact it’s still censored. And it’s not like casually censored. Take her performance of “Everyday.” When she sings “He’s giving me that good shit/that makes me not quit,” a loud and obnoxious bleep is played when shit comes up. This is for most swear words like that you don’t really ear on TV before 9 PM.  I’m pretty sure she just trolling us but like, why? Why give something a TV-MA rating and have it censored like that? I reminded me of that Miley concert DVD that did the same thing. It’s unnecessary and making me think it’s going to uncensored. We’ve heard Ariana swear before so don’t censor it.

The fact that this entire docuseries seems like a half-assed rush job is the biggest downfall. Between the editing and some of the things they decided to do with it, I feel like Frankie edited for 50k followers, a pack of glitter, and 50 cents in iMovie. It’s less of the concert footage but more so on the overall product. Like the last episode, which covers the Manchester bombings, is just one rushed product.

Some of the performances aren’t the full songs. The parts about the bombings are just blocks of text letter before an emotional performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Like if they combined the two, it would have been some much better. Also would have added me or emotion to it. Reading that letter killed any emotion. I don’t if it was supposed to be like that or a last minute decision. I just wish they would have spent more time on the entire series.

Verdict

“Dangerous Woman Diaries” isn’t a bad docuseries at all. Again, I enjoyed it as a Ariana Grande fan. It allowed me to see what everyone was talking about when they discussing her tour. The rushed final product and the unneeded censorship on something that’s rated TV-MA is really what brought it down a little bit. I do recommend watching this. It does give you more insight on “Sweetener” and Ariana herself. All of the “Dangerous Woman Diaries” episodes is currently available on YouTube Premium, formerly YouTube Red. If you don’t have YouTube Premium, then one will released a week. Again, I do recommend checking it out. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Ariana Grande sends her exes love in ‘Thank u, Next’

At least this song is a mash

On Saturday, Ariana Grande had a mission. Miss Grande, Ms. Butera if you’re nasty,  spilled that tea on former lover Pete Davidson and then teased the world with information on her newest album. Not to be outdone by her earlier Twitter tea, she gave the world her newest single “Thank U, next.” Yep, Ariana Grande is that bitch that gave the world an empowerment/self-love anthem.

Ms. Butera on Twitter lately. I’m living for it.

“Thank U, Next” is a classic Ariana Grande bop. It’s better than all of the Pharrell Williams tracks off of “Sweetener,” her latest album that came out in August of 2018. The beat is addictive and the lyrics are extremely and openly honest. This is the Ariana that I live for. I like the Ariana that is just feeling things and sharing what she is feeling with everyone. She’s more mature and helping people with how she’s feeling.

The song’s lyrics are very self-aware and self-reflective. She calls out her exes in the song but rather than trash them, she thanks them for helping her in her self growth. No one really thanks their exes in this way before. Most songs are just tearing down their exes for breaking their heart or something like that *cough* Taylor Swift*cough.*

“Thank U, Next” is a quality bopthem. Yep, I created a new word because of Ms. Butera. I’m honestly all for what this album “Thank U, Next” will bring. It sounds like so far like it’s going to be classic Ari.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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An honest talk about Ariana Grande’s ‘Sweetener’

Ariana Grande’s ‘Sweetener’ is here! I have some thoughts

This isn’t a formal review of Ariana Grande’s newest album “Sweetener.” This is just a collection of my thoughts that I had when I’ve listened to this album. I decided to take the weekend to let the entire album sink in. That’s not a bad thing at all. I can already tell you that it is going to be an album that people will split on. Let’s get started on the breakdown on this album.

Ariana Grande can finger the Earth all she wants. She just loves anything with holes. Remember her licking donuts?

Is ‘No Tears Left to Cry’ the rebirth of Ariana Grande?

Let’s talk about it…

I have mixed feeling on “Sweetener.” Ariana is experimenting and growing as an artist and I’m here for it. I really enjoyed the album and thought that it was a fun listen. Stuff like how the lyrics and how she made the littlest thing dirty is what I enjoyed the most. She turned ice cream into a sex reference. It’s that kind of album. It’s those moments that will go unnoticed because of how the album was produced.

Personally, I think Pharrell had too much control on the album. I have nothing against them. In small doses, I think the dude is fine. But some of the album just seems are over-produced and it’s his songs. There’s just too much going on. I enjoyed the second half of the album, which he didn’t touch besides a few. It takes a few listens to like his songs. I like to compare this relationship to the working relationship that will.i.am and Britney Spears had. They did one slightly good song, “Scream & Shout,” and the next thing you know he over-produced her 2013 album “Britney Jean,” which is her worst album. I respect both highly but their contributions to “Sweetener” and Britney Spears’ discography, respectively, weren’t anything good. They are a little out of touch on what sounds like music people would listen to.

The collabs on the album also aren’t anything to go home about. “The Light is Coming” is a hot mess with Nicki Minaj. I would have just placed Ariana and Nicki’s song “Bed” in its spot because it’s a strong and more enjoyable song. Fans made better versions of the song. “Borderline” was just there and has this weak verse from Missy Elliot. It just seemed like both didn’t have time to be there so they rushed it real quick in the studio. I’m just going to ignore the Pharrell collab. You probably could guess my thoughts on it.

Again, I really enjoyed listening to the album. I had a very good experience listening to it. I just happened to really enjoy the non-Pharrell track, or the second half way more. “Sweetener” came across over-produced and lacking a solid direction. There was Pharrell’s direction and what I’m assuming was Ariana’s direction. If it was more like Ariana’s direction, then there would be no division. “God is a woman” and “no tears left to cry” are going to be the standouts of the album. My other favorites are “everytime,” “breathin,” and “goodnight n go.”

There is a song dedicated to those that died at the terrorist attacks during one of Ariana’s concert. “get well soon” is five minutes and 22 seconds long, which is the date that the event happened. “get well soon” is a  lovely track produced by Pharrell. It even ends with 40 seconds of silence in their honor. Before it, Ariana Grande dedicated a song to her fiancé Pete Davidson. It’s a sweet song that doesn’t really add anything to the album. It’s like getting your lover’s name tattooed on you. I wish them both all the love and happiness in the world *sips some of that tea.*

The verdict

Overall, I don’t see “Sweetener” being the album that people recommend when they think of Ariana Grande. That is sad because with songs like “no tears left to cry” and “God is a woman,” it had so much potential. But over-production that caused it to have lack of consistency is its downfall. “Dangerous Woman” continues to be the strongest album of her to date. I enjoyed “Sweetener” but just wished it was more like the non-Pharrell songs. If I had to give it a rating, then it would be a 3.5 out of 5. “Sweetener” needs to work, bitch, if it looking to live up to “Dangerous Woman.”

Oh, here’s the Pharrell songs: “blazed,” “the light is coming,” “R.E.M,” “sweetener,” “successful,” “borderline,” and “get well soon.”

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