Written by: Max Martin, Savan Kotecha, Alexander Kronlund, Ilya Salmanzadeh and Ariana Grande
Produced by: Max Martin and Ilya
Album: Dangerous Woman
UK release: May 2016
UK chart peak: 14
The first single from Ariana Grande‘s Dangerous Woman – its slinky, dramatic title track – was fairly well received, but didn’t make too much of an impact when compared to, say, Problem or Bang Bang. And even though follow-up single Into You wasn’t an all-conquering chart smash either… boy did it make a big impression.
The hysteria among The Gays™ when this came out was frankly apocalyptic: we were obsessing over each and every part of the backing vocals, dissecting the instrumentation and picking out our favourite elements, lambasting the video for not being epic enough… this was such a huge EVENT song in our bubble that it still surprises me when I remember it didn’t quite bother the Top 10 on either side of the Atlantic.
It’s just absolutely phenomenal, from the “PAH! PAH! PAH! PAH!” intro to the clean, sharp ending. The blaring bassy synths on the chorus are perfect for sweaty homo-packed dancefloors in the middle of the night; the vocal hooks destined to run round and round your head for weeks at a time. Ariana’s exceptional vocals are all restrained and sensual in the beginning and then all fiery and yearning in those wonderful final harmonies; and the “LI! TTLE! DANGEROUS!” part is simply iconic.
This isn’t anywhere close to being Ariana’s biggest-selling hit, but any pop superfan will tell you it’s arguably her best.