Ariana Grande Channels Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston In The Best Way On 'Dangerous Woman's "Greedy"

If you're not actively listening to Ariana Grande's new album Dangerous Woman today, then what are you doing with your life? Track for track, Grande has delivered one of the best pop albums of the year. Helping to cement this status is song number seven, "Greedy." It's a thoroughly upbeat song reveling in the confidence that comes with being with the person you love and wanting to show it off. It's a song that luxuriates in the magic of good chemistry while also being a little cheeky. Best of all, "Greedy" is pure throwback goodness.

It's easy to call any song that sounds remotely like a hit of yesteryear a "throwback," but the alarm bells should rightfully be ringing for "Greedy." Why? Because Grande is hitting the mark with those previously made Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston comparisons in both the lyricism and musical stylings of this particular song. "Greedy" celebrates being in love the way Carey's "Emotions" does while the music hearkens back to the best celebratory '80s Houston (think "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"). There's the confident swagger — a swagger we've come to love — in Grande's voice and lyrics the feels like a natural continuation of the exhilaration of love expressed by Carey and Houston in their own songs. In this way, "Greedy" comes together to give life to the comparisons of diva greatness that have followed Grande around for years. Trust me, this is a good thing because Grande as a diva somehow just works.

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Look no further than the chorus for "Greedy" and you'll see some Carey-ness starting to flourish in the confidence of the lyrics:

Baby, you got lucky 'cuz you're rockin' with the best

And I'm greedy, so greedy

I ain't talkin' money, I'm just physically obsessed

And I'm greedy, so greedy

You know that I'm greedy for love, you know that I'm greedy for love

Now, flip back in time to Mariah Carey's "Emotions":

You've got me feeling emotions

Deeper than I've ever dreamed of

You've got me feeling emotions

Higher than the heavens above

Grande is swooning for her musical beau, just like Carey is, and with a voice to match. The fleeting exhilaration of love is not necessarily specific to either of these artists, nor is it groundbreaking. But "Greedy" is reminiscent of "Emotions" in its nostalgia for the all-consuming experiences of love. Moreover, it speaks loudly to listeners who are old enough to understand these feelings and still remember listening to "Emotions" take over the airwaves. The fluffy, sunshine-y '90s pop has been transformed into a sleeker, more chilled iteration and Grande is leaning into it. Lyrically, "Greedy" capitalizes on the pop music commentary of needing to quench that love-thirst people tend to get when they simply can't wait to be with their partner. Carey and Grande both lean into that thirst and man, they do it well.

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On a purely musical note (pun intended), "Greedy" exudes the kind of joy of Houston's '80s pop. There's a bounciness and lightness in both "Greedy" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" that's literally infused into every line with synths and horns. The bridges to both songs feature a staccato build-up the overflows into a joyous proclamation of love. Grande wants to devour her man, Houston wants to dance all night with hers; both women want nothing more than to, respectively, make sweet music. The giddiness of both choruses is matched again by the chilled nature of the verses. Both Grande and Houston are full of cool demeanor as the revel in their romantic pursuits.

Whether Grande is knowingly leaning into the Carey/Houston comparisons with "Greedy" I'll never know. What I do know is that this song is definitively a brilliant throwback to the pop music we grew up with while still being very adult (in a good way) in its message. Grande improves on the classics and boy, I'm here for it all the way.

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