Ariana's New "Focus" Snippet Sounds Familiar...

by Alex Kritselis

Let the teasing continue: On Monday, another Ariana Grande "Focus" snippet hit the Web, and it sounds... familiar. The upcoming song, which premieres on Oct. 30, is featured in the 22-year-old singer's latest ad for her new perfume, Ari by Ariana Grande. Based on what we've heard so far, it seems likely that brass instruments will play a prominent role in "Focus," which is bound to remind some listeners of the funky saxophone breaks from the young star's 2014 smash hit, "Problem." Therefore, we must ask: Is Grande relying on a past "winning formula" with "Focus"? Will it help launch her forthcoming new album, Moonlight ? Or will it get the whole campaign started off on the wrong foot? Let's talk about it.

When "Problem" debuted in April 2014, it represented a new sound for Grande. It was fresh; there wasn't anything else like it on the radio at the time. Now, however, we've heard the diva do the jazzy brass thing a couple of times (see: "Bang Bang"), so the novelty has begun to wear off. Even though we've only heard what amounts to a few seconds of "Focus," some pop music fans are already accusing Grande of recording a "Problem" rehash. Are they right? Or are they getting ahead of themselves? Check out the new "Focus" clip below.

Obviously, I think these particular fans should reserve judgment of "Focus" until it premieres in full, but I understand (and share) their desire to hear something a little more innovative from Grande. Something like the song she teased on Snapchat back in June (which may or may not be called "We'll Be Alright"), for instance. That song — a fizzy mix of '90s Mariah Carey–esque R&B and house — definitely sounds more progressive (and more exciting) than "Focus."

But, then again, it's entirely possible that the "Focus" previews Grande has shared thus far are not indicative of the track's overall vibe, and people are getting bent out of shape for no reason. Of course, it's also possible that the general public will welcome Grande back with open arms, regardless of any similarities between "Focus" and "Problem." As they say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Oct. 30 can't get here soon enough.

Images: ArianaGrandeMusic/YouTube (2)