Ariana Grande is the current queen of pop radio, thanks to the unstoppable My Everything album and its multiple hit singles including Break Free and Love Me Harder. One Last Time is a partly David Guetta-penned track that starts with and repeats throughout the song an ear-catching synth riff designed to jump out on the radio.
Grande’s characteristically raspy, slightly-autotuned whisper adds honey to the verses, adding anticipation to the rumbling ‘and I know and I know’ pre-chorus. Surprisingly for a Guetta track and Grande (used to big euphoric beat drops after Zedd’s work on Break Free) however, the choruses just pass listeners by. Grande’s voice never really gets much of a chance to erupt apart from the final chorus where she navigates higher notes. A full throated belted vocal on this song would have been more forceful and created a bit more drama. Grande therefore doesn’t quite nail it here, even though she clearly has the chops to knock it out of the ballpark.
She does however perform a clever melody variation at the end of the second chorus for variety. And listeners can’t deny the earnest romantic sentiment on this track, which is otherwise well written apart from an unmemorable, recycled bridge.
One Last Time has further consolidated Grande’s success, which shows no signs of letting up. A few more production changes would have made this an even finer recording.