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on September 3, 2013
Let me say first off, that it has been over a decade since I last bought an album. With the era of the internet and free music, it became an obsolete concept to me, like many in my generation. This is the first album that I felt compelled to shell out for, and honestly, I could not be more happy with my decision to do so.

Ariana Grande is one of the most underrated talents in a very long time. While other pop stars (who shall not be named) are out twerking, and selling sex, and messages about being as skanky and irresponsible as possible, Ariana is singing about being kind to your fellow human, love, life, and being true to the people you care about. She does this all with POWERFUL, natural, vocals. In most of the tracks on this album, there is not filter, no autotune, just a piano riff, and her booming, mariah-esque vocals. On other tracks, she has that classic, 90's, destinys child type R&B sound that brings you back to the days when music was still QUALITY!

This girl is the real deal. If you are on the fence about this album, seriously, pull the trigger. You will be glad you did. This girl deserves your support. One day she is going to be a top selling pop star, and you will be able to be that hipster saying "oh yeah, I liked her music wayyyy before the world jumped on board"
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on September 3, 2013
Like many others, I first discovered Ariana Grande on her hit show "Victorious." She only had two featured songs from the soundtracks ("Give It Up" and "LA Boyz") and I could tell she had an amazing singing voice but was overshadowed by Victoria Justice (the star of the series). I then discovered her youtube channel and realized that she is the real deal in terms of having singing talent.

Long story short, I have been anticipating the debut album for a very long time and it was well worth the wait. Here is a breakdown of my review:

VOICE: Her voice is definitely the highlight of the album. The range she has is incredible and she is basically doing vocal gymnastics with her 5-octave range. The Mariah Carey comparisons are getting a little old but seriously, who else can sound like that? Songs like "Lovin It," "Baby I," and "You'll Never Know" are all RNB throwback songs that have that early Mariah Carey sound. However, she doesn't sound Mariah-esque on all songs. "Tatooed Heart," and "Daydreamin'" are both 60's doo-bop inspired songs where Ariana sounds mature beyond her years.

PRODUCTION: The songs on the album are kept fresh and current with excellent production. At some points it seems like the songs are too-produced but it doesn't take away from enjoying them. The other thing about the production of these songs is that there is a variety. From simplistic ballads, to upbeat dance songs and even the EDM-inpsired track "Better Left Unsaid," one does not have to worry about the album sounding like it's stagnant.

TRACK LISTING: I love all the songs (there is only one I skip over). Many of these songs tell a love story (hence the album title) and her voice is so good that the songs sound very honest. It also didn't hurt that she co-wrote half of the album as well. The only track that just does not feel right is "Popular" with MIKA. That might have been a decision by the label to include it on the album and the song isn't bad, it just feels like it does not belong with the other tracks.

This album is refreshing to hear and Ariana definitely deserves all the success! In the end, I say buy it because there are not too many quality, pop albums available now-a-days. In comparison to her other teen peers, she's definitely has it all together (and rightfully so).
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on September 3, 2013
There are some voices that just grab hold of you the moment you first hear them. Hearing Mariah Carey's Vision of Love for the first time was one of those moments for me. I can say the same thing about hearing The Way for the first time. Ariana Grande is a talent we will talking about for years to come. So how is the record? Here is my take on each song:
1) Honeymoon Avenue: This midtempo cut opens with lush orchestrations that perfectly complement Grande's light airy pitch-perfect instrument. Clean uncluttered production pushes her voice front and center where it should be. Great opener.
2)Baby I: Killer groove. Her vocals here are unmistakably reminiscent of early Mariah Carey. This song feels like Grande's tribute to Carey's Emotions.
3) Right There: Grande's vocals float over the addictive melody and the hook is strong. She tosses off multi-octave leaps and flips from head to chest voice without breaking a sweat.
4)Tattooed Heart: This feels like a 2013 take on a '50's doo-wop song. Here Ariana enters into Bruno Mars territory with retro-soul. A flawless vocal.
5) Lovin' It: Grande's lush vocals elevate this uptempo pop confection. Slick production lays her dazzling multi-tracked vocals over a sizzling rhythmic beat.
6) Piano: I love this cut. It hearkens back to the work Clivilles and Cole did with Mariah Carey. It reminds me of Make It Happen-inspirational pop at its best.
7) Daydreamin': Another song with a 50s doo-wop feel. Listen to the way she bends the notes on the words "I'll be yours" in the chorus. This is a singer with SERIOUS musical chops.
8) The Way: Irresistible pop, killer hook, perfectly produced. And those whistle tones-OMG.It was love at first listen. And the torch is passed from Minnie Riperton to Mariah Carey to Ariana Grande.
9) You'll Never Know: The vocals are spot-on but this tune feels generic to me, nothing memorable.
10)Almost Is Never Enough: Finally a ballad and she caresses the melody with her warm silky tones-meltingly beautiful. Nathan Sykes acquits himself well as her duet partner. Reminds me of Boyz II Men's End of the Road.
11) Popular Song: This was one of my favorite cuts on Mika's CD The Origins of Love. Mika's vocal dominates this song and she plays more of a supporting role. But another flawless vocal from Grande. ("Wicked" fans will hear a snippet from the musical)
12)Better Left Unsaid: Ariana meets Black Eyed Peas. She seriously wails on this but the song is kind of a throwaway.
I highly recommend this album to fans of either of the first two singles. Not all of the material is as strong as her vocal talents are deserving of, but this is one of those instruments that doesn't come along very often. Grande, I am yours truly!
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on February 5, 2014
Man oh man oh man. Ariana Grande. I love saying that name now. Just a week ago, I didn't really care much for her. But last week, on January 29, I listened to Ariana's debut album for the first time. I'm honestly sorry that I had not listened to it sooner (her single The Way didn't really catch my attention and her character Cat Valentine threw me off too (how can Cat sing?)), because as soon as Honeymoon Avenue was wrapping up, I KNEW that what was up ahead (11 other tracks) was going to be SHEER genius. I was not disappointed at all! I have underestimated this girl's musical talent. SHE IS TRULY THE REAL DEAL. People, give this album a listen. I guarantee you that you won't be disappointed.
All of the songs are FAN-tastic (Right There music video - I love it).
She definitely deserved to win the best new artist award at the AMA's last year. Her killer performance of Tattooed Heart....goosies...
Seriously, if Ariana was on American Idol, she would wipe the floor with all the contestants. You wouldn't be able to tell her nothing.
That voice is just stellar. One of the best voices I have ever heard coming from someone who's only 20 years old. Ariana has so much control, so much character, so much tone...I can tell it's her singing (even though thousands of people say she sounds like Mariah Carey)...
Mmmh mmmh mmmh....I just can go on and on and on about how great Ariana Grande is.
This past week has just been Ariana overload. I can't get enough of her.
And she's just too cute and seems like she has a really great personality.
I'm definitely an ARIANATOR now.
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on October 26, 2013
Almost 30 year old woman and can listen to this cd from beginning to end. Didn't know who she was until my daughter explained who she was (actress from nickelodeon) and that she had a song in the radio. Her voice is like an angel and I even confuse her with Mariah Carey sometimes from back in the day. Very nice cd. You will be pleased.
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on September 13, 2013
The first time I saw Ariana perform was on TV a few weeks ago. I thought wow, not only is this girl really pretty she has a beautiful voice too! I bought her album as soon as it came out. I can't stop listening to it.
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on January 2, 2014
I really like the CD. Unfortunately for the family, I play it non-stop. I have to learn all the words before I can go to another one. You won't be disappointed. She has a couple of tunes on it that sounds like a doo-wop sound from the 50's. I'm told she is close to her grandparents, so I figured she recorded those for them. She has a contemporary spin on them, so everyone in my family loves them. I just can't get enough of this artist. I can't wait until she records another one.
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on June 19, 2014
Ariana is an amazing talent and it is SO easy to compare her to Mariah Carey with her four octave range and a smooth style that combines pop and r&b and a debut album release at 20 years old, the same age as Mariah's. But comparing the two is not fair because Ariana has a style that is quite unique. She proves on this album that she can sing every style of music from Jazz to Broadway to Pop to Hip Hop and R&B. Yours Truly shows all that she is capable of.

Of course the music industry is very different now than in 1990 when the album Mariah Carey debuted. The competition has grown immense from numerous alternate sources ranging from pros to homegrown artists on the web. Now with the instant gratification on line, fans are not as patient as before willing to wait for an artist to grow, mature and experiment. So thanks to a team which includes co- producers Scooter Braun and Harmony Samuels and co-writers, Samuels, Babyface(!) and even Jordin Sparks on "The Way," with Yours Truly we get the mature sound and a wonderful showcase of her bag of tricks.

What is so impressive about Ariana on this album is how everything fits together so well as she morphs from old fashioned R&B (Honeymoon Avenue, Tatooed Heart) to contemporary Hip Hop (Right There, The Way) to Pop (Baby I, Almost is Never Enough) to Dance (Better Left Unsaid) and even Broadway (Popular Song). Her executive producer credit proves how involved she was in creating this consistency.
"Popular Song" is really more pop than show tune, a reworking of Popular from the show Wicked complete with auto tune vocals and synth programming. But throughout it all we never lose Ariana's smooth style. And like the rest of the disc, she never loses her sense of pure enjoyment of the music. Most of the tracks showcase her pure vocals with no audible auto tuning and many jazz influences such as finger snaps.

Interestingly while her debut single from Yours Truly "The Way" is a Hip Hop track, that groove is not the most ideal for her artistry. The track with Mac Miller still works very well because it sounds like a collaboration. The vocals sound like they are coming from the same studio and the romantic text is consistent between her vocals and his rap. On "Right There" Big Sean sounds like he is literally phoning it in as a guest artist and the song could still succeed without him. Not surprising considering how many sung/ rap collaborations have the rap taken out for certain radio formats.

Her best collaboration on the disc is Almost is Never Enough with Nathan Sykes formerly of the Wanted which was originally released on the Mortal Instruments soundtrack. Their harmonies blend so well it is as if they were an actual act and not just separate artists coming together on one song. Perhaps their harmonious blend translated into more when they became a couple. With this song and the 11 others, Ariana has your attention, brings you in and then never lets you go. Her vocal artistry makes her very easy to enjoy and has me looking forward to her next release later this year.
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Imitation sure is a funny thing. On one hand you are paying homage to your idol, on the other hand you are ripping them off mercilessly. It is no secret that imitation runs rampant in Pop music. There have been numerous artists who have built their entire careers on invoking a past artists style (Lady GaGa anyone?) Some do it well and some don't do it well at all, but the trick to imitation is to never let it appear too obvious that you are the copycat. True artists know how to invoke an era or artist, without sacrificing their creativity (and getting sued.)

Ariana Grande is a relative newcomer on the scene and most people are familiar with her because of an acting role on Nickelodeon's sitcoms Victorious and ICarly. In the early part of 2013 she released her first single "The Way" and it became a surprise top ten hit in the US. It was clear to anyone who heard the track, that Ariana was inspired heavily by divas Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. Especially Mariah Carey, whom she attempts to emulate with whistle register like high notes throughout the track. This caused quite a few people to accuse her stealing Mariah's act, while others were delighted at the thought of a new Mariah. I must say as a Mariah fan, that I can always use more singers like Mariah Carey to add to my collection. So in general I like her, Although I have a slight difficulty in calling her "the new Mariah Carey."

"Honeymoon Avenue" - Starts the album on a high note. I love the lyrical metaphors about driving and Ariana sounds really good here. A lot of people have remarked how this gives them an early 90's feeling, which isn't surprising because Babyface (whom Mariah worked with on her Daydream and Music Box albums) helped produce and write the majority of "Yours Truly." For me though, I hear more of a '06 era Danity Kane vibe throughout the album and it's refreshing to hear vocals that aren't drenched in electronic sound effects. 4.5/5

"Baby I" - Is a vocal workout, but I don't feel it was as good of a single as The Way. On this track the melody speeds, slows and whirls and the end result is slightly sloppy. The lyrics are nice, the production is decent, but there's just a tad too much going on at once. The track can't seem to decide whether it wants to be a mid-tempo or and an uptempo. Also it's kinda hard to understand what Ariana is singing in the chorus. 4/5

"Right There" - Screams out Paula Deanda circa 2006! This rap collaboration features a playful rap by Big Sean and they work very well together. There's not much more to say about this track. It's a good track, but it's nothing we haven't heard Paula Deanda or Tynisha Keli do before. 4/5

"Tattooed Heart" - a lot has been said about this fifties Doo-wop tinged, Forever (Mariah Carey) soundalike and most of it is not good. A lot of reviewers have derided its slow, shuffle-like pace. I actually found the track quite likable. I like the fifties style production and cutesy lyrics. Ariana's vocals on this track are exceptionally strong and the track comes off well. 4/5

"Lovin' It" - For some reason doesn't stand out in my mind as much as the other tracks do and I have to listen to the track right now, so I can tell you my thoughts. I must say though, that from the times I listened to the track, I was satisfied. This track is a nice r&b and pop hybrid and I think it's one of the better songs on the album. 4/5

"Piano" - I didn't immediately like the track, but I must say it's grown on me. This track is about trying to give the world an anthem and song that will make people feel good about themselves. This track makes me feel happy. 3/5

"Daydreamin'" - is my favorite song on the album. I adore its cutesy lyrics and gentle melody. Just like track #4, Daydreamin' features this 50's shuffle like sound, but While Tattooed heart sounded unfinished, Daydreamin' sounds well thought out. Ariana's vocals slip and slide around in between a strong belt and a soft coo, that is highly reminiscent of Mariah Carey. Great track! 5/5

"The Way" - Is the highest performing single of Ariana's career thus far and it's not hard to understand why...It's also the most top 40 sounding track of anything she's recorded. Mac Miller gives a playful rap here and the track is just bouncy and great fun. 4.5/5

"You'll Never Know" - reached its chorus and I felt like I was sixteen again, living in 2006 and listening to Paula DeAnda or Danity Kane. This track is like a retro throwback to before electro/european pop music became hugely popular in 2008. I must say I'm kinda torn between thinking the retro sound is cool and innovative or just old and dated, but I do like the track and its ability to give me nostalgia. 4/5

"Almost is Never Enough" - is a duet between Grande's current boy friend Nathan Sykes, from the pop boyband The Wanted. Before I bought the album, I was already familiar with this song, as I saw a live performance on Youtube. The melody is organic and the lyrics are smart and not overly cheesy. Both vocalists put enough of their hearts into the song, without oversinging and it's refreshing that they let the melody serve as the main attraction and did not clutter the song with unnecessary runs or vocal gymnastics. 5/5

"Popular Song" - I was aware of this song before I got the album, but had no idea Ariana was behind it. I don't know really what to say about this song. While apart of me is glad it's on the album, another half of me says it should've been left off. I like the song (in a quirky kind of way), but it sounds even more of an oddball than "Piano." Still it's a nice song, regardless of its eccentricities. 3.5/5

"Better Left Unsaid" - Not really a fan of this song. It sounds to much like top 40, but it's a nice way to close out the album. 2.5/5

In conclusion, I found Ariana Grande's album to be a generally refreshing and enjoyable pop album. I was kinda let down on the 90's influence promise though, as "Yours Truly" sounds like a relic from my early high school days. As for the Mariah Carey comparisons, While they are welcome, they are not entirely valid in my opinion. Mariah has a far better vocal technique and range than Ariana. I think that the reason they're getting compared is Ariana continually tries to use her whistle register (key word: Tries) and when she softly coos, her tone sounds unmistakably like MC. I must admit that initially my reaction to Ariana was "Who does this chick think she's kidding? She's no Mariah!", but at the end of the day I think she knows that.

So, I urge everyone to put their views aside when listening this album. Whether you think she's a copycat or the second coming, suspend all of those beliefs and just judge the music. If You do, I promise you'll find something to like about "Yours Truly."
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on December 31, 2015
If you like Maria Carey's voice, you will love this young woman's cd. She reminds me of a younger version of MC. Ariana is going to be in this industry for a very long time. You want some good tunes whenever relaxing, driving, or working, this is your girl.
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