After unleashing one of the best singles of 2014 with "Problem," Ariana Grande has returned before the clock runs out on 2015, with Focus. Another saxophone laden "belty" track, "Focus" is irrefutably a Grande sounding work, carrying all the elements one has come to expect of Grande - except for sixth octave falsettos.
The first point of interest: the chorus. The funky "Focus on me / F-f-focus on me" will definitely polarize some, but it's also bound to inspire dorky car rides and terribly orchestrated vines across the globe. It's somewhere between Uptown Funk and Problem's level of energy, bursting through wind instruments and hand claps creating a transcendent aura of entertainment.
Where Focus seems to lack however, is in Grande's investment in the song. Her involvement seems to be the bare minimum, participating with some bare vocal lines in the verses and pre-chorus, only unleashing some expectedly easy upper fifth octave soprano belts. The attention that Focus is bound to garner isn't coming from Grande's work, it's coming from her name and that ridiculously quirky voice in the chorus.
While it's what we've come to expect from Grande, that in itself is Focus's disappointment: it meets the expectations but fails to exceed them.