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"Problem" is the lead single of Ariana Grande's second studio album, My Everything. The song features recording artist Iggy Azalea.[1] Big Sean whispers part of the chorus but is not a credited featured artist. It is currently her highest charting and also her most successful single. The song is about knowing you would be better off without someone but you can't resist them and want them no matter what.[2] The song is on Just Dance 2015. The song debuted at #3 and later peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, with combined sales and track-equivalent streams of 9 million units. (See Chart Performances)

Background

In late 2013, Ariana Grande began working on My Everything with producers from her previous album as well as new producers. It was announced on March 3, 2014 that Grande would be featured on the fifth single from Chris Brown's upcoming sixth studio album X titled "Don't Be Gone Too Long". The single was originally set for release on March 25, 2014, however was postponed due to Brown being sent to jail awaiting trail on assault charges. Grande had announced the songs delay on March 17, 2014 and two days later following the announcement Grande revealed due the songs delay, she would be releasing the first single from her upcoming sophomore studio album instead. After recording multiple songs for the album, Grande stated that she had chosen the first single from her album.[3] On April 15, 2014, it was officially announced that "Problem" would be the title of the lead single from the album.[4] Initially while recording songs for the album, after Grande had recorded "Problem" she "fell out of love" with the song and didn't want it to appear on her second album. However, following an album listening session with her management and record label, when "Problem" came on Grande realized her love for the song and decided to keep it for the album. The song was supposed to feature rapper Nicki Minaj but she said she was doing too many collaborations at the time. Ariana tried to make a remix of it featuring Iggy and Nicki, but Nicki refused as she vowed never to work with another female rapper. 

Promotion and release

BothCoverArtChoices

The two different cover art images that Ariana asked her fans to choose from.

Grande first released promotional images from the single's photo shoot all throughout March 2014. On April 10, 2014, Grande asked her fans to choose between two new possible images to be used for the single's artwork release.[5] After the votes were tallied, she revealed the winning cover artwork through her Instagram account the next day with the hashtag #10daystilproblem, and revealed that Iggy Azalea would be assisting her on the track.[6] Grande began an online countdown to the song's release with promotional posters made by Jones Crow.  All of the hashtags for the countdown to the song (#11DaysUntilProblem, #10DaysUntilProblem, etc.) trended on Twitter.[7][8] Grande released two teasers for the song; one features her singing the pre-chorus and the other features Iggy rapping her verse. The single was made available for pre-order on April 21, 2014. Following her debut performance of "Problem" at the Radio Disney Music Awards, the song was released at midnight on iTunes on April 28, 2014. Three hours after its release "Problem" shot to number one on the iTunes singles charts in over 30 countries. 

Lyric Video

Ariana Grande - Problem (Lyric Video) ft03:15

Ariana Grande - Problem (Lyric Video) ft. Iggy Azalea

Grande filmed the lyric video for the song on April 10, 2014.[9] Grande edited the video with Jones Crow, the video's director, and finished it on April 13, 2014.[10] The video was released onto Ariana's Vevo channel on May 1. The video features Grande and Azalea performing in noir black-and-white clip behind pinwheel go-go filters.

Music Video

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The official music video for "Problem" was filmed on the day after its release on April 29, 2014 with Nev Todorovic as the director, who has previously worked with Grande on her videos for "Right There" and "Almost Is Never Enough". On May 8, 2014, Grande previewed photos from the songs video shoot, which features Grande riding a motorcycle while Azalea rocks big blonde hair. The theme carries on the black, white and retro theme from that of the lyric video, and includes cameo appearance by Big Sean. The official music video was released on May 30, 2014. The video shows Grande dancing with her backup dancers, interlacing with her hanging out with Azalea and Big Sean.

Critical reception

Upon release, "Problem" received critical acclaim. Mike Wass of Idolator described the song as "an odd blend of '90s pop and current urban trends (the trap-lite breakdown and a sax hook a la Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty") but there's no denying that it's catchy." Entertainment Weekly called the song a "dramatic reinvention," and also notes, "The idea that Grande was collaborating with bad girl du jour Iggy Azalea prompted all kinds of speculation, and the result is more or less what everybody expected: Grande's enviable pipes are still the centerpiece, but she also invites a sax-drunk loop, sexy whisper tracks, and Azalea's Jay Z-referencing high-speed verse to the party as well." Music Times commented that "the saxophone-filled track continues the pattern set by Grande's 2013 debut album Yours Truly by being heavily influenced by the '90s R&B scene. This time, 'Problem' pulls from the funky, funky streets with a jazz-influenced riff. An overwhelming (but welcome) dose of saxophone leads the song before the more modern drum-filled beat drops." Pitchfork named it "Best New Track" saying the track "bears all the hallmarks of a future smash, as if the future wasn't actually right now."

Commercial performance

Ariana holding platinum certificate for problem

Ariana holding the certification for "Problem" going platinum

Upon its release, the song reached the number one position on the US iTunes Store song chart in 37 minutes, breaking the previous record, which reached number one within 50 minutes. In the United States, "Problem" debuted at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, eventually peaking at #2, and sold 438,000 copies in its first week. This was the fourth largest first week sales for a female in history and the tenth largest overall. The song has also sold over a million copies and has earned platinum certification.

Promotional posters

Gallery

Ari2014-mod2 "I'll give you all I have and nothing less, I promise."
To view the Problem gallery, click here.

Trivia

  • This is the second song that Big Sean provided vocals for, with the first being "Right There", however, he wasn't credited unlike in "Right There".
  • Problem's Album Cover is actually heels with socks while some people thought it was boots. But in the music video, Ariana Grande used boots.

Lyrics

Iggy:
Uh huh!
It's Iggy Iggs!
I got one more problem with you girl (One less, one less! Problem)

Ariana:
Hey baby even though I hate ya!
I wanna love ya
I want you!!!
And even though I can't forgive you
I really want ta
I want you!!!
Tell me, tell me baby
Why can't you leave me?
Cuz even though I shouldn't want it
I gotta have it
I want you!!!

Head in the clouds
Got no weight on my shoulders
I should be wiser and realize that I've got

Big Sean & Ariana:
One less problem without ya!
I got!! One less problem without ya!
I got!! One less problem without ya
I got one less, one less problem
One less problem without ya!
I got!! One less problem without ya!
I got!! One less problem without ya
I got one less, one less problem

Ariana:
I know you're never gonna wake up
I gotta give up
But it's you!!!
I know I shouldn't ever call back
Or let you come back
But it's you!!!
Every time you touch me
And say you love me
I get a little bit breathless
I shouldn't want it
But it's you!!!

Head in the clouds
Got no weight on my shoulders
I should be wiser and realize that I've got

Big Sean & Ariana:
One less problem without ya!
I got!! One less problem without ya!
I got!! One less problem without ya
I got one less, one less problem
One less problem without ya!
I got!! One less problem without ya!
I got!! One less problem without ya
I got one less, one less problem

Iggy:
It's Iggy Iggs!
Uh!!! What you got?
Smart money bettin', I'll be better off without you
In no time, I'll be forgettin' all about you
You sayin' that you know but I really, really doubt you
Understand my life is easy when I ain't around you
Iggy, Iggy to biggie to be her stressin'
I'm thinkin' I love the thought of you more than I love your presence
And the best thing now is prolly for you to exit
I let you go, let you back
I finally learned my lesson!
No half steppin', either you want it or you just playin'
I'm listening to you knowin' I can't believe what you're sayin'
There's a million you's, baby boo, so don't be dumb
I got 99 problems but you won't be one, like what!

Ariana:
One less, one less problem
One less, one less problem

Head in the clouds
Got no weight on my shoulders
I should be wiser and realize that I've got

Big Sean & Ariana:
One less problem without ya!
I got!! One less problem without ya!
I got!! One less problem without ya
I got one less, one less problem
One less problem without ya!
I got!! One less problem without ya!
I got!! One less problem without ya
I got one less, one less problem
One less problem without ya!
I got!! One less problem without ya!
I got!! One less problem without ya
I got one less, one less problem

References

My Everything
August 25, 2014 • 40:31 • Republic Records
Songs
Released Bang BangBe My BabyBest MistakeBreak FreeBreak Your Heart Right BackCadillac SongHands On MeIntroJust a Little Bit of Your HeartLove Me HarderMy EverythingOne Last TimeOnly 1ProblemToo CloseWhy TryYou Don't Know Me
Unreleased RidiculousThe Way It Is
Artists
Ariana GrandeA$AP FergBig SeanCashmere CatChildish GambinoIggy AzaleaJessie JNicki MinajThe WeekndZedd
Tour
The Honeymoon Tour

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