The Listener

The only way to avoid Ariana Grande’s drivel is to move to Iran

2 March 2019

9:00 AM

2 March 2019

9:00 AM

Grade: D

Among the many reasons for moving to Iran is this vapid, talentless, derivative, hyperbolically oversexed drivel aimed at your 11-year-old daughter. The land of the mad mullahs is about the only place on earth you’ll be able to avoid this unmitigated crap, a collection of chemically processed ur-songs that make Taylor Swift seem like Debussy.


It’s No. 1 everywhere you look. The UK, the USA, Australia, Ireland… hell, you hear this stuff and think to yourself, Christ, I have to escape — maybe to some glacier in the far north of Iceland, or to the wolf-infested lower slopes of the Tatra mountains in Slovakia. Nah, sorry. No. 1 in those places too. Face it: Iran or bust. Forswear alcohol and infidelism. Anything to avoid this mind-sapping rot that she wants your children to buy. My guess is that they’ll only buy it if they’re thick and tone-deaf. But then that’s quite a few of them, isn’t it?

Yeah, Ariana behaved with some dignity in the wake of the Manchester bombings. Well done, etc. It doesn’t excuse this festival of generic electronic R&B, half the songs on the album marked sexually ‘explicit’ — and remember, her fan base is sub-teen. But it’s the numbing boredom more than the pouty pussy-flouting that grates. It is almost entirely vile. I can just about bear the first few bars of ‘Needy’, with its cute electric piano. ‘Bloodline’s pretend salsa and ‘Imagine’s vocodered pleasantries stopped me, briefly, from slashing my wrists. I know, I know. Pre-teen pop was never much cop. But compare this to the Monkees — or even Vanilla Ice. Tehran awaits. Get your visa now.

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