Ariana Grande's summer jam “Problem” was successful because it was an amalgam of a things we already knew we liked. She reminds us of classic Mariah Carey in her range; there's that four-part harmony that's like the Andrews sister; there's hints of New Jack Swing and the funk of the horns section from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' “Thrift Shop”; even if you don't know the verse, everyone can sing “you-hoo-HOO!”; Iggy Azalea is/was on fire at time of impact.
Grande has released a new song, “Best Mistake,” ahead of her second album “My Everything,” out on Aug. 25. This song may similarly ring a couple bells. There's a particular treatment to the keyboards that are reminiscent of Miley Cyrus' “Wrecking Ball.” The vocal bend and auto-tune filter is a reminder of Rihanna. Those chimes make us think our princess is in another castle.
But unlike her first big number, this is a song I have listened to many times now and keep forgetting I've heard it. Big Sean turns in a verse that gets a C+ — hey, slightly above average without sticking out in the crowd! — and Grande's voice is appropriately if not robotically melancholy.
So to answer the question what happens when the water dries up? You wait until Aug. 25 to get a real gulp of what Grande can really offer. This is a pretty, easy song. The next hit's in another castle.