Yours Truly (Tenth Anniversary Edition)

Yours Truly (Tenth Anniversary Edition)

On her 2013 debut album Yours Truly, Ariana Grande reintroduced herself. Before working in music full-time, she had worked on both Broadway’s 13 and Nickelodeon’s Victorious, eventually earning lead status on the network’s spinoff series Sam & Cat. Plans for her first full-length were already underway when she released her debut single “Put Your Hearts Up” in 2011, but Grande felt its bubblegum-pop sound was at odds with her self-image. As she neared 20, she needed her music to grow up with her. Yours Truly did that and more. Assisted by Babyface, Grande created an album that’s more mentally—and sonically—in sync with her spirit: sleek pop-R&B that approaches love from a sweet, almost coy perspective. “Hey, what happened to the butterflies?” she asks on “Honeymoon Avenue,” the strings-led opener about fading feelings. But those butterflies return in full force on songs like “Baby I,” “Right There” (featuring Big Sean), and “The Way” (featuring Mac Miller), fluttering alongside skittering percussion and bright piano chords. The R&B here is a throwback to the ’90s, while on “Tattooed Heart” Grande croons and shoops over ’50s-inspired doo-wop: “I wanna say we're going steady like it's 1954.” Whether she’s serving her now-signature “yeh” ad-libs or effortlessly slaying whistle notes, her vocals are as playful as they are powerful. Vestiges of Grande’s past are sprinkled throughout the LP, too: Leon Thomas III, her Victorious co-star and a musician in his own right, has several writing credits (“Honeymoon Avenue,” “Tattooed Heart,” etc.), and “Popular Song” with MIKA samples “Popular” from the Broadway musical Wicked—a prescient moment as Grande would later be cast as Glinda the Good Witch in the film adaptation. Ultimately, Yours Truly helped Grande make a successful transition from child actor to full-on pop artist, punctuated by a No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 chart. Even as she spent her next albums fine-tuning her sound and finding herself, her debut laid the foundation for a future star.

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