Ariana Grande Album Is No 'Problem'

12 September, 2014

Welcome to American Mosaic from VOA Learning English.

I'm Caty Weaver.

The first three albums on Billboard magazine's Top 200 best-selling albums list this week represent three major music styles.  The young singer Ariana Grande tops the list with her new pop record "My Everything." Country music star Brad Paisley follows at number two with "Moonshine In the Trunk." Next is a release from rhythm and blues artist Kem, "Promise to Love: Album IV." June Simms has more on the artists and their new music.

That is "Problem," Grande's first single from "My Everything." Grande said it was about a bad love relationship that a person wants to continue. Australian rapper Iggy Azalea also performs on the song.

Sales were no problem. The public bought more than 400,000 copies of the song within a week of its release.      

Some members of the Australian press seem to think Grande is a problem, however. The singer performed in that country this week. News media there said she cancelled a photo shoot shortly after it started. And, reporters protested that Grande had a long list of questions she would not permit, including anything about her love life or her television show "Sam and Cat."

The singer denied the reports.

Ariana Grande's name also appears on the top ten of Billboard's Hot 100 list...twice. She is at number seven with the song "Break Free" from her new album.  But she also shares the number four position for "Bang Bang." She performs the song with artists Nicki Minaj and Jessie J.  All three women work for the same recording company.

West Virginia native Brad Paisley is no stranger to Billboard's Top 200 list. Several of his 11 albums have enjoyed the number two position, in fact.  The country singer has sold more than 12 million albums in all. The Recording Academy has also honored him with three Grammy Awards.

Paisley is known for writing smart songs that are often funny. "River Bank" from his new album is a good example. The song talks about the fun to be had with simple things that do not cost a lot, like a rubber tube for floating on a river. It compares a rubber tube with a big high-priced boat called a yacht.

Paisley sings we're near the river and far from rich / but we have got each other and gas in the tank / we're laughing all the way to the river bank.  The river bank is the land alongside the river. But a bank is also a place that holds money. And, there is a common American saying that when people get rich they are "laughing all the way to the bank."

The singer Kem is from Detroit, the birthplace of Motown Records. The company is home to much great R&B music. Kem has recorded with Motown since his first album 10 years ago.

"Promise to Love" is his fourth. All the others have become gold records, meaning at least 500,000 copies were sold. "Promise to Love" is well on its way to gold. It sold more than 50,000 copies its first week on the market.

The song "It's You" is the first single released from the album. Like Paisley's "River Bank" it celebrates love over money. Kem sings I don't need diamonds / Nor the finest gold.  The song is about the love of a woman who is "more precious than anything."

So which of these three kinds of music do you like best? Is the pop sound your favorite, or do you listen to R&B or country more? And who are some of your favorite performers of these musical styles?

I'm June Simms. And I'm Caty Weaver.

Related Articles
  1. At 13, Youngest Designer Ever in NY Fashion Week (14/9/11)
  2. Americans Look for Art Everywhere (14/9/7)
  3. Security and Privacy Debated After Photo Hack (14/9/4)
  4. Katy Perry, Forever in Blue Jeans at Awards Show (14/8/29)
  5. English at the Movies: Robin Williams (14/8/16)
  6. From Huge to Extra Small, at New York City Museum (14/8/14)
  7. Movie Star, Comedian Robin Williams Dead at 63 (14/8/11)
  8. Training Hacking to Stop Hackers (14/8/7)
  9. Artist Turns Plastic Bags Into Art (14/7/31)
  10. Ice Cream Sweetens Visits to Maryland Farms (14/7/24)