Tag Archives: Ariana Grande

Bang Bang: I Just Realized Something

I was listening to “Bang Bang,” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj, and I noticed something in the production which I thought was cool but also curious.  It’s rather subtle, but they added a sax or some type of horn to the last chorus of the song.  It starts around 3:02 in the clip below:

Personally, I think the horns add power to the chorus and really fill it out.  It also seems to emphasize the beat more.  So, I’m wondering: why did they only add those horns in the last chorus?  Why not every chorus?

Perhaps it’s like that old saying, too much of a good thing…

Apple Picking Playlist

Whenever my family and I do something and take a road trip, I always make a cd with different songs.  Since we’re going apple picking tomorrow, I made this playlist for our ride, so I thought I’d share…especially because it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged…this semester is legit killing me (#stressed).  Normally I put upbeat/happy songs and a wide range of genres on the playlists for my family so there’s something for everyone, but I think I kind of dropped the ball on this one.  Oh well. I’m an artist.

If you’re wondering why I randomly added “Ew!,” the Jimmy Fallon skit/song, my family like Jimmy Fallon…so it was meant as a joke…although I do think the song is actually quite good because of will.i.am’s production.  Plus, Jimmy Fallon rapping as a teenage girl is hilarious.

Ariana Grande May “Break” Grammar Rules, but She Still Gets a #PhillipsSongOfTheDay

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…

#PhillipRadio: Single Edition

So, if you’re like me, you’re single while everyone you know is in a loving relationship.  Which is absolutely lovely (#sarcasm).  I decided to play off this awkward situation and create a new playlist where we would celebrate our independence (we can do whatever we want!), we can reminisce with songs of why being in a  relationship isn’t all bliss like my friends would like to make me believe, and listen to songs that would just take us away from feeling so lonely (which we aren’t feeling…ahem).  Happy listening!

P.S. I don’t know if you noticed this, but I chose only songs that were released as singles…get it?

The Problem with “Problem”

Today I ran some errands, and I managed to listen to “Problem” by Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea the whole time because every radio station was playing it.  And I do have to admit it’s a pretty catchy song, despite a few…um, problems with it.  Regardless, let’s call it #PhillipsSongOfTheDay.

The synthed-saxophone beats and Iggy Azalea really make this song POP; both give the song a very spirited effervescence.  They make you shake your head (or booty…if that’s your thing), and make you want to throw your hands up in the air and forget about your cares.  After all, it causes you to “realize [you’ve] got one less problem” after listening to the song.  Iggy Azalea especially has this great confidence and attitude in her rap; she seems like a cool chick to hang out with (you should check out her new album, The New Classic).  The sax really pushes the song through, giving it a good beat and rhythm to dance to.

“Problem,” by Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea


However, I do have two main critiques for this song.  First, we absolutely have no idea what Ariana Grande is singing.  I mean, this may not be a big deal, given the fact this is a song more meant for the beat, not the lyrics.  However, it does become a problem for me because when you look up the lyrics, you realize she is singing words that you couldn’t even imagine her saying.  For example, in the prechorus/hook she sings at 0:29, I thought she was saying “heaven is a place where [blah blah, something I couldn’t understand],” and she’s actually saying:

Head in the clouds
Got no weight on my shoulders
I should be wiser
And realize that I’ve got

Like, when I googled those lyrics I was like, “Damn, really?  That’s what’s going on?  Okay…”  Ariana Grande really needs to work on her diction.  I mean, we can understand Iggy Azalea, which somewhat allows for Iggy Azalea to upstage Grande.

The other issue I have with this song is a simple production decision point.  While Max Martin and Shellback are like music gods (they co-wrote/produced hits like Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.,” Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok,” P!nk’s “So What” and “Who Knew,” etc.), I have to say I disagree with what they did in the ten seconds after Iggy Azalea’s rap (2:20-2:30).  They pull back after Iggy Azalea raps “I’ve got 99 problems but you won’t be one, like what!” to an almost complete stop.  It’s rather an unfortunate 180, because they got their audience dancing along, jamming out for two and half minutes, then we’re left in an awkward dead space.  They should have just gone right into the prechorus/hook of “head in the clouds.”  That would have really kept the pace of the song, and let us continue on with our dance party.  Other than that, the production is pretty much phenomenal; as I said before, the sax really drives the song and the beats make you want to get up and forget about your problems.