Ariana Grande Loves Sentence Fragments, Baby I

By Chris McPherson

Ariana Grande’s follow-up single, “Baby I,” is not only an certified sentence fragment, but is also a killer hit.

In the wee hours of Sunday night, Grande released her second single from her debut album. Her fan base, often referred to as Arianators, could very well consider the tune their mid-summer night’s dream come true. Within the first hour, the track jumped to number 3 and has been sitting pretty at number 2 ever since.

Her first single, “The Way” debuted at number 10 on the Billboard hot 100 charts and also happened to feel like a sentence that is complete. Could this be a pattern for Ariana? Maybe her next single could be something like, “True to” or “He Makes.” Or maybe “This Day Was.”

Production-wise, the summer R&B pop song shimmers with pop sparkles with heavy R&B instrumental undertones, essentially the best of both worlds. The trajectory of Ariana’s successful music career is quite surprising. Yes, her vocals are unmatched, but you don’t really see many Nickelodeon stars hitting the big time on the music charts. There are comedic greats like Kenan Thompson, entertainment execs and hosts like Nick Cannon, and the recent tabloid nexus Amanda Bynes. But Ariana is reaching new territory for Nick alumni.

Grande has recently gotten a lot of comparison to Mariah Carey, but I’m infidelity feeling Christina Aguilera, circa “Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You) in this new song. I can just see a 90s inspired music video with an all white backdrop surrounded by a bunch of dancers in baggy jeans and neon sweats suits.

No doubt, “Baby I” is sure to thrust Ariana once again into the spotlight and send her well on her way to super stardom. And with a debut album slated to drop September 3rd, nothing can stop this powerhouse vocalist.

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Projecting Similarities, Ariana Vs. Jessica

By Chris McPherson

In 2013, it can be quite difficult task to maintain a successful career in music, while also maintaining originality. I mean, with centuries upon centuries of music, is there any melody or technique someone can use that is completely new? But it can get quite awkward when two similarities pop up around the same time. I’m talking about the music videos for young singers, Ariana Grande The Way ft. Mac Miller and Jessica Sanchez Tonight ft. Ne Yo.

If you watch both music videos, you’ll notice that they both feature the singers in front of a projector screen. Now this may not be the first time anyone has ever done this in a music video, and it probably won’t be the last time. But both of these music videos were filmed around the same time and premiered within a week of each other. So is this foul play? Did someone steal the idea from another? Or is it a mere coincidence?

Luckily this should be the least of the both girl’s worries. Grande, who got her start in 2010 on Nickelodeon’s Victorious playing the ditzy Cat Valentine, is ready to release her debut album almost two years after signing with Universal Republic Records. Sanchez on the other hand, just catapulted to fame a year ago as the runner up for 11th season of American Idol.

As far as the actual songs go, I can definitely say I side in favor of Grande. Although Sanchez’ Tonight  is a certified club banger, there isn’t much going on here besides a nice beat, a nice song, and a nice feature from Ne Yo. This comes as a suprise given than it was made by superstar production team of Mikkel Storleer Eriksen and Tor Erik Hermansen, better known as StarGate. These guys are the reasons for Billboard number ones like Rihanna’s Diamonds, Katy Perry’s Firework,  and Wiz Khalifa’s Black and Yellow along with a wide set of more heavy hitters. I would have liked more.

Grande on the other hand decided to delve in her inner R&B princess. A sample of the late Big Pun’s Still Not a Player,  I dub this song a homerun. It sounds familiar while also so new, and her power house voice steals the show. Who knew a little girl from Nickelodeon could belt some sweet notes like that?

All in all, do you think the similarities are too obvious?

The Truth Sinks In, Toni Braxton

By Chris McPherson

For some time now, I’ve tried to act like it didn’t effect. Like I’ve never spent evenings laying on the my living floor listening to Spanish Guitar after popping the CD in the stereo system. Like I don’t want to sway across the room when Breathe Again comes on. Or that Braxton Family Values is not only a show, but a popular search term in my YouTube account. I’m going to miss music from Toni Braxton.

Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic
Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Yes, she recently announced that she won’t be releasing new music, and that she just doesn’t feel the same way about it anymore, but I just feel so cheated, and this feeling has just started to sink in. The songstress that was once making me high, is now making me sad. Toni was an icon for not only people around my mother’s age cough cough – old. But she was a gem of 90s R&B music. And it wasn’t until recently that I went back into the vault of her era that I understood how much of a star she was.

Of course those money issues she ran into a number of times were somewhat embarrassing, but she came back with a dance hit this summer, I Heart You, that went number one on US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard). The fact that she wrote and produced such a great song independently without much promotion truly convinced me that she was going to reemerge and let these young gals know she can still deliver. But no. She said bye bye.

This may be a delayed reaction, but I have noticed that it tends to take a while for me to truly understand the gravity of some celebrity news when they occur. In fact, it wasn’t until this past December that Whitney Houston’s death really started to hit me.

The only bright side from all of this is that she is still set to release her eight studio album, Chapter VIII: The Encore of a Gemstone, this year. But after that, she plans to retire from music.

Here’s her first song to reach Billboard number 1.

New Frank, Same Ocean

By Chris McPherson

Well it’s safe to say that 2013 is the year of Frank. Hot off the tails of releasing a album in the top 10 on Billboard, and winning two Grammys, homeboy is on top of the world.

Courtesy of entertainxthis.wordpress.com
Courtesy of entertainxthis.wordpress.com

Although much of his media buzz stemmed from his coming out story, there is no question that Ocean has the talent to back it all up. Especially in his newly leaked track, Eyes like Sky.

Although this is a leak, it has not been confirmed when this song was recorded. If recorded recently, I would definitely think this is a glimpse into upcoming music to come for Ocean. The guitar strummed song is somewhat of a turn in direction for Ocean as an artist. A musician who has been universally praised for having such a unique musical style, I was a bit surprised at how main stream the song felt.

This could have easily been sung by Usher, Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, or any other male pop/R&B vocalist. I always saw Ocean to be in his own world when it came to his music, but, we all have to make money some how, and radio- friendly music is the fastest way to the bank.

I for one am excited to hear more. I’m a shameless slave to pop and mainstream top 40 music, so sing on Frank, sing on.