Single Review: Baby I by Ariana Grande

It is extremely charming that Ariana Grande's musical aesthetic is such a throwback to the 80s and 90s, especially because she can carry the material with ease. Her new single, "Baby I," will continue comparisons with Mariah Carey, and Grande does owe a lot of her vocal style to the diva, namely her tendency to move the from breathy moments to high-pitched belting. While Carey may be her most obvious influence, Grande also pays nods to Destiny's Child and TLC, particularly in her production choices. "Baby I" is wonderfully paced and not too cluttered, featuring synthesizer, drums, snaps, and a chorus of "yeah yeah yeahs" and other soft backing vocals that parallel late 90s girl-group R and B. "Baby I" also echoes early Whitney Houston, its pacing and joyfulness sharing DNA with classics, "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" and "How Will Know." Perhaps not since Houston's early work has pop music had such a talented, earnest, and celebratory vocalist. Not to mention, notably, the singer is creating music without the aid of auto-tune, making her sound fresh and emotive in comparison to the cold music that has dominated a lot of the summer. Ariana Grande's debut album is going to be huge.

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