Ariana Grande began her career on Broadway, starring in Jason Robert Brown’s musical 13, but most loyal fans remember her from her Nickelodeon days, when she played sweet, yet oblivious Cat Valentine on Victorious and Sam & Cat.
In 2013 her debut single, “The Way,” made its way to the airwaves, prompting listeners to wonder: Who’s the new girl with the Mariah Carey-esque pipes? The next year, it was near impossible to escape the singer, whose smash singles “Problem” and “Bang Bang” were blowing up on the radio. With some hits under her belt and vocals to match, Grande was suddenly a superstar.
Since breaking out, Grande has also used her platform to support the LGBTQ community and feminist movement, speaking out on the double standards and misogyny that female pop stars and women face every day. Her activism led her to be among TIME’s Most Influential People in 2016, and the following year, she was praised for her display of solidarity with the victims of the Manchester attack by organizing the One Love Manchester concert.
The “Love Me Harder” singer is a force to be reckoned with, and there’s no stopping her now: In April 2018, she released her joyful, inspirational comeback single, “No Tears Left to Cry.” We can’t wait to hear what she has in store for us with AG4.
For now, though, dive into eleven of her most underrated songs, from “Honeymoon Avenue” to “Greedy.”
The first song on her debut album, Yours Truly, “Honeymoon Avenue” offers a throwback to several different genres, from classical to barbershop quartet to hip-hop. Ariana seems to find a way to blend the diverse sounds into a great song.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Ariana stated the song is inspired by a time she was in “a very confused relationship.” “I stayed in for all the wrong reasons,” she shared. “I was so incredibly sad while I was with this person.”
Featuring a catchy repeating chorus and some subtle rapping from Ariana, you’ll have trouble getting “Be My Baby” out of your head. Producer Cashmere Cat, who also gets billed as a feature, filtered Grande’s vocals exquisitely, serving some sultry echo along with clashing sound effects and synths on this My Everything cut.
Written by Harry Styles, “Just a little Bit of Your Heart” is a beautiful ballad that makes you fall in love with Ariana’s vocals. Featuring a strong, melodic chorus and beautiful vocal arrangements, the My Everything song is one of the pop star’s best ballads and proves Styles is more than just a former boy band member.
“Almost Is Never Enough” is a sweet duet featuring Nathan Sykes of The Wanted. The stripped-down production showcases and blends both of their powerful vocals. During Ariana’s early days, she was compared to a younger Mariah Carey, and “Almost Is Never Enough” sounds similar to Carey’s “Never Forget.”
“Best Mistake” is the second song that features Ariana’s former beau, Big Sean. Produced by Key Wane and featuring haunting piano riffs and trap beats, the My Everything cut is a solid mid-tempo R&B song about a couple who can’t figure out if they want to be together or not.
There’s something magical about Ariana’s vocals on “Thinking About You.” Featuring a whimsical beat, you can’t help but love the closing track off her third album, Dangerous Woman.
Ariana was unable to pick between the two, so she decided to feature both songs together on Dangerous Woman. Despite both tracks sounding completely different, they complement each other: “Knew Better” lyrically shows how much Ariana has grown in her confidence, while the EDM-tinged “Forever Boy” shows that she can’t get away from being a hopeless romantic.
The sound of “Touch It” is completely different than what we’ve heard before from Ariana. Courtesy of Swedish production team Max Martin and Ali Payami, the Dangerous Woman track features a more futuristic sound that reminds somewhat of Katy Perry’s “E.T.”
“Hands on Me,” off My Everything, could have easily marked another hit for Ariana. Produced by the hitmaker of the 2000s, Darkchild, the dance track offers listeners some of the singer’s sexiest lyrics. Plus, the bridge features one of Ariana’s most beautiful falsetto performances.
A standout from Dangerous Woman, “Greedy” features blaring horns and a hint of disco, proving Ariana is, once more, a certifiable diva and bop provider. Plus, Drag Race fans may remember this song being featured when Nina Bo’Nina Brown and Valentina were up for elimination after Nina killed the lip sync to “Greedy” in Season 9.
Produced by Pop and Oak, this fun, light pop song off My Everything samples “Mo Money Mo Problems” by Notorious B.I.G. and Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out.”