Today marks the fifth anniversary of Ariana Grande’s sophomore album, My Everything. The 2x-Grammy nominated album housed four top ten hits and was a major turning point in the star’s career.
Grande’s debut, Yours Truly, introduced her trademark blend of R&B and pop with production from Babyface and The Rascals. On My Everything, Ariana turned to pop production titans like Max Martin, Ilya, and Savan Kotecha to helm the album. By far her most mainstream and pop-driven record, My Everything was crafted for hits. In a recent interview with Vogue, Ariana said “There was a two-album period where I was doing half the songs for me and half the songs to solidify my spot in pop music.” Without My Everything we probably we would have never gotten Sweetener (review here) or thank u, next (review here). Some would call it a necessary evil, and some would call it her best record. To commemorate the anniversary of one of the biggest pop albums of the decade, here is a (unranked) list of the top five songs on My Everything.
Love Me Harder
This collaboration with The Weeknd really opened the door for the more explicit Ariana we would come to know on her later albums. The chugging bass and explosive chorus lifted this R&B/pop track to #7 on the Hot 100. The Weeknd and Ariana didn’t have particularly great chemistry, but their voices blended very well and their ad-libs were perfectly placed. Also, it’s well-documented that Rihanna likes this song, so it should always be Top 5.
Be My Baby
Ariana introduced Cashmere Cat to legions of new fans with “Be My Baby.” The Norwegian DJ’s soft electronica and trap blend fit beautifully with Ariana’s voice. Although this is maybe the worst Ariana has ever enunciated, the song is incredibly smooth and the climax is unmatched.
This seems to be the only song from My Everything that Ariana enjoys performing nowadays. On this bonus track from the album, Ariana leans into the 90s and stacks this track with so many harmonies you might get dizzy. Not many songs from this album aged very well, but “Only 1” still sounds incredibly fresh.
You Don’t Know Me
Personally, I love when pop stars sing about how clueless the tabloids are. Song with that subject matter are always much more fun to listen to and dissect than your typical love song or break up anthem. I’d also argue that this is one of Ariana’s catchiest verse melodies. Furthermore, on an album on which Ariana struggled to effectively emote, “You Don’t Know Me” packs a healthy dose of authenticity.
One Last Time
This is the only official radio single from My Everything to not reach the Top 10 on the Hot 100… it’s also the best. Ariana has a voice made for ballads but she still doesn’t really have a signature one, but “One Last Time” is her de facto defining ballad. This thumping drum-laden midtempo provides a place for Ariana to showcase her upper belts and overall vocal agility. Simply put, this song is an anthem. Also, after Manchester, how could this not be Top 5 on the album?