I recently listened to this song and watched the accompanying music video this week, and I have to say, this might be the turning point for me with Ariana Grande. I’ve never disliked her, and in fact I’ve liked the majority of her singles up until this point. However, I’ve always been a little unsure about her. In all of her songs, performances, and music videos, it seemed as if she was almost trying to be a pop star, trying to prove herself. Whether it was her sex appeal, her vocal abilities, or her dancing, it always seemed to me that Ariana Grande was trying to play the role of pop star rather than being the genuine article. To me, her music and style has been overall very forced.
But, with “Focus,” for the first time I feel that Ariana is truly letting go and allowing herself to be free. I see liberation in this music video. I see the confidence of a young woman who is finally realizing she doesn’t have to care what people have to say about how sexy she is or how petite her body is or how well she can dance. And for once, I don’t think this song will be a massive hit; it doesn’t have quite the banger quality of all of her previous songs. Even still, the song is different enough to be a standout in her singles chronology. I love the male voice yelping out the “Focus on me!” in the chorus, and the sexy breakdown of horns in the bridge. In the video, I really like the black and white dance breakdown with Ariana leading a chorus line of carefree women in leotards. The video sells the lighthearted attitude of the song with its pastel colors, but Ariana and her dancers sell the sexy, flirtatious undertones with their moves and knowing glances.
All in all, I believe “Focus” is Ariana Grande’s coming-of-age anthem that has wholly convinced me she is a singer to be taken seriously. So, do as she commands, and focus on her.