Given the fact that I am a writing tutor, I should probably be more of a snob and write how horrible I think “Break Free (feat. Zedd)” by Ariana Grande is. I mean, there is a line in the song that reads “Now that I’ve become who I really are,” when it should read “who I really am.” But I’m proud to say I am not a snob of any kind…at least, I try not to be. I still think “Break Free” has a great beat, a dynamic performance by Grande, and rather empowering lyrics (sans grammar) that should make it #PhillipsSongOfTheDay.
I initially bought this song because I thought it was good to bike to…I was going through a rather dry spell around July, and I needed a song to keep up my pace (in case you’re wondering, I bike like twenty miles a day…because I’m crazy). “Break Free” certainly is a great song to dance, bike, basically do any sort of physical activity. You really can hear Zedd’s work – the man that brought us “Clarity” and “Stay the Night” – given the fact that “Break Free” sounds rather different than Grande’s earlier hits “Problem (feat. Iggy Azalea)” and “The Way (feat. Mac Miller).” “Break Free” actually reminds me a little of Ellie Goulding’s song “Burn” during the verses…it has the same kind of dubstep/synth going on…
The real reason I have been listening to “Break Free” on repeat today is the following lyrics:
“I only wanna die alive
Never by the hands of a broken heart”
“This is the part when I say I don’t want ya
I’m stronger than I’ve been before
This is the part when I break free
‘Cause I can’t resist it no more”
I just find these lyrics rather refreshing and powerful. I feel like I have this tendency to really like songs where the narrator is more of a fighter; like Grande is not letting this person break her heart anymore, she’s going to leave him. Like Grande, I’d rather be the heart breaker than the heart broken.
Now to the grammar issue. So the lyric reads:
“I only wanna die alive
Never by the hands of a broken heart
Don’t wanna hear you lie tonight
Now that I’ve become who I really are”
Now, I never noticed Grande was singing “who I really are” until I read an article from Billboard about the mistake. I actually thought she was singing “Now that I’ve become who I really am.” According to Billboard, Grande fought with her co-writer Max Martin about the rhyme, but he insisted on making in “who I really are” to force the rhyme with “heart.” However, as a songwriter, I believe they could’ve gotten away with writing “Now that I’ve become who I really am” because the “am” would rhyme naturally with “hands” from two lines up. Even if it didn’t rhyme well, I personally choose not to force rhymes because they make the lyrics rather jagged.
However, you can’t bag on Max Martin; he’s the god that brought us hits like “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.” by Taylor Swift, “Who Knew” and “U + Ur Hand” by P!nk, and many more (see his full discography/songwriting credits here).
Anyway, I just wanted to give you my two cents…because that’s what I do…