Song: ‘Dangerous Woman’
Artist: Ariana Grande
US chart peak: 8
Release date: March 11, 2016
Writers: Johan Carlsson, Ross Golan, Max Martin
Producers: Johan Carlsson, Max Martin
Quintessential Max moment: The ad-lib bit about Argos towards the end
Video synopsis: Grainy tape recorder footage of Ariana deciding what to wear
As I type this, the glorious Max-assisted ‘Into You’, the second single from Ariana Grande’s third album ‘Dangerous Woman’, has so far only peaked at Number 33 in America. NUMBER THIRTY THREE. 33! That’s twenty three places below the Top Ten. Thirty two spots below the Number One spot where it belongs and where it should really stay for at least ten weeks (Drake dependent). Honestly, if I don’t eventually get to write about this song on this here website then I will do something incredibly stupid* (*nothing really, just get angry when people bring the song up).
Now that’s out of the way we can move on to discussing the album’s first single, ‘Dangerous Woman’. As discussed here, the album’s lead single (back when it was called ‘Moonlight’) was meant to be ‘Focus’. So much so that when that song entered in the US Top Ten, Grande broke some sort of long-winded chart record for having all the lead singles from her albums enter in the Top Ten. Only it wasn’t the lead single because that lead single is actually ‘Dangerous Woman’. Thankfully ‘Dangerous Woman’ then went on to enter at Number 10 (peaking at Number 8 ten weeks later), which then made Grande the first artist to have all three lead singles enter in the Top Ten then have one song dropped from said album only to have the proper lead single enter in the Top Ten anyway so it’s fine really.
Anyway, this is all by the by. As with ‘Problem’, but in a slightly different way, ‘Dangerous Woman’ is a statement song. Having lost her way slightly towards the end of the second album campaign, the slow-burn, near-rock ballad ‘vibes’ of ‘Dangerous Woman’ flash credibility and ‘I’m in charge’ in big letters (opening a lead single with “don’t need permission” is good move, isn’t it). It suggests to people who assume she ditched them after the first album that Ariana is capable of doing more than just ripping off ‘Problem’ (which she’d sort of done with ‘Problem’). Similar to The Weeknd’s ‘Earned It’, it has that drip-feed feel that can lapse into boring if the songwriting isn’t good enough. As is the way with most Max songs, the songwriting is most definitely up to scratch, the immaculate chorus piercing through the song like an elegant crochet needle. But who are those other people I hear you cry? Well, Johan Carlsson is from Carolina Liar, ie the ill-fated ‘rock band’ Max launched in 2008. Ross Golan has basically written for everyone and his or her mother or father. Golan and Carlsson combined most recently for Flo Rida’s massive US single, ‘My House’.
My favourite section by far is the post-chorus bit about two-thirds of the way through where Grande starts singing what definitely sounds like “Argos wanna be like that, badgers underneath like that”, while someone with an electric guitar tries to emulate their favourite 90s rock band. Mind you, none of it is as good as ‘Into You’ which is being CRIMINALLY IGNORED JESUS HELP US ALL.