There’s no denying that Ariana Grande’s “The Way” not only snatched the luscious golden tresses from Mariah’s #beautiful head, but also the wigs ‘n’ weaves of every Disney and Nickelodeon actress-turned-singer that released music this year.
While many other artists are trying to be cool with ’90s house music throwbacks and Aaliyah-esque alt-R&B, Ariana’s decision to tap into divafied ’90s urban-pop was a genius move that led to record-breaking success for “The Way,” so her decision to follow up with a Babyface-produced single is a no-brainer.
Few people know ’90s R&B like Babyface, so Ariana’s latest, “Baby I,” naturally surpasses the trendy throwback sound into something more authentically old-school. Sure, there’s a few modern twists, like the hip-hop snares and twerkable hand claps, but it’s pretty much straight classic ’90s for the most part. Ariana has wisely toned down the Mariah-isms and gone for a broader sound that could be linked to a dozen or more different urban acts from the decade — the most notable being early Destiny’s Child thanks to the “No No No” era yeah yeah yeahs.
“Baby I” already sounds like it’s going to be another huge hit for Ariana. She’s shown that she can still serve up more of the same without having to emulate Mariah Carey to do so. Everybody wins.