Ariana Grande, “Focus”
As if it wasn’t clear enough already, “Focus” proves once again that Grande isn’t your typical child actor-turned-pop star. This single effectively employs Grande’s impressive vocal range and a strange but fitting cameo by Jamie Foxx. It features a grooving horn section reminiscent of Grande’s “Problem.” Grande doesn’t do anything drastically different here, but we’re certainly not complaining.
Ellie Goulding, “Army”
The single from Goulding’s forthcoming album Delirium offers a glimpse at another side of the singer. Rather than featuring the ethereal pop sound that has defined her thus far with hits like “Lights” and “Love Me Like You Do,” Goulding presents a more generic, storytelling love-song with lyrics that could have been pulled from Taylor Swift’s notebook. That said, something about the powerful, synth-heavy chorus complemented by Goulding’s yearning overdubbed vocals pulls you in whether you like it or not.
Adam Lambert, “Another Lonely Night”
It’s tough to put a finger on what exactly isn’t working in Lambert’s single. Maybe we have simply become spoiled by his otherworldly vocal range, and it no longer impresses us. Maybe it’s that Lambert has Freddie Mercury talent but is pouring it into songs that sound like they were penned by Selena Gomez. Whatever the case is, we have certainly heard better from Lambert, and this corny, throwaway pop song doesn’t live up to what we know he’s capable of producing.