Many of today’s biggest pop stars started out as teen idols. From his days as a 12-year-old Mouseketeer through his teenage years as a member of the superstar boy band ’NSync, Justin Timberlake experienced fame even before he learned to shave. Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera also both sported mouse ears at one time on Walt Disney's TV production of TheMickey Mouse Club. More recently, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande all launched their careers as teens on either Disney or Nickelodeon and now work hard to project more adult images. The same is true of Zayn Malik, who left One Direction last year and is already convincing fans that he’s all grown up from his boy-band days. The “Pillowtalk” singer, who is going by “Zayn” now, and Ariana have new singles out this week with decidedly more mature themes.
Ariana Grande: “Dangerous Woman”
Striking a similar sound to The Weeknd’s Oscar-nominated “Earned It,” Ariana hits a sultry vibe on the mid-tempo title track from her forthcoming album. “Somethin’ ’bout you makes me wanna do things that I shouldn’t,” goes the song’s refrain. Explains the “Love Me Harder” singer: “I want to be empowering my fans. To me, a dangerous woman is someone who’s not afraid to take a stand, be herself and to be honest.”
Not sure how “dangerous” it is, but new photos of Ariana show her looking seductively sweet in her patent leather bunny mask.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) March 11, 2016
Zayn: “Like I Would”
After a slow-burning intro, Zayn cranks up an infectious club-worthy dance number in which he boasts that his ex’s new boyfriend won’t measure up to him. “He won’t touch you like I do, won’t love you like I would,” Zayn croons, “he don’t know your body, he don’t do you right.”
How autobiographical is the song? Zayn essentially admitted via Twitter that the object of his desires is none other than Gigi Hadad who is, yes, his ex-girlfriend.
Saw your face and got inspired pic.twitter.com/AQ59Y4e5lG
— zayn (@zaynmalik) March 10, 2016
Hello! music columnist Nicholas Jennings surveys the pop landscape each week to find the most dynamic tracks to add to your playlist.