A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that "Problem is an R&B/dance single by actress and pop singer Ariana Grande, who stars in the Nickelodeon series Sam & Cat. On this track, Grande trades vocal parts with rappers Iggy Azalea (aka Iggy Iggz) and Big Sean, though the official video for the song shows only Grande in a stylized black-and-white close-up with shadows and song lyrics playing across her face. The song expresses the conflicted feelings of a young woman who desires a lover who has hurt her or won't commit. She knows that she would have "one less problem" without the person, but she can't walk away. Azalea's voice represents the character's tougher side, while Grande vocalizes about love and inner confusion. The song mentions touching once, but there are no overt references to sex or other iffy content. However, note that the press on this song mentions that Grande admires Azalea's vocal phrasing on the song "Work," which is a graphic and profane song about a prostitute.
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What's the story?
PROBLEM is about wanting to be with someone romantically even though the person was hurtful. Lyrics include "Baby even though I hate ya/ I wanna love ya/ I want you/ And even though I can't forgive ya/ I really want to." As the song progresses, Grande becomes more resolved to end the relationship, saying that without this lover, she will have "one less problem." As Grande trades vocal parts with rappers Iggy Azalea and Big Sean, Azalea's voice expresses the singer's tougher side, while Big Sean repeats "one less problem." However, the singer admits she has her "head in the clouds," even though she "should be wiser." It's not clear whether or not the woman actually ends the relationship.
Is it any good?
"Problem" is a hook-y dance track that's made more interesting by the interchanging vocalists and trumpet riffs. The inner conflict expressed in the song is definitely relatable for teens navigating romantic relationships, but it's a clean enough for tweens whose interest in Ariana Grande stems from watching her on Nickelodeon.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about relationships. What kind of behavior by a boyfriend or girlfriend would be a deal-breaker for you? Can you understand the impulse to stay with someone even knowing he or she isn't the best match?
This song includes three different vocalists. What effect does that have on the impact of different lyrics in the song?
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