Female Singers R Us

Monday, 25 March 2013

[Review] Ariana Grande "The Way"



It's finally appeared, people! Ariana Grande’s rumoured material has surfaced and has fans both squealing with excitement and frowning in concern.

The Way is a piano-led pop Rnb record that carries some inspiration from the 90’s- something helped, in a big way, by the use of its sample, Not a Player by Big Pun. The Lyrics are more catchy than well written but what more can be expected of a children’s sitcom star?

Ariana’s vocals are both very light and airy but also full and resonant, with some instances of whistle register at the songs climax. However, the vocals are also what some may label "bothersome" because although the singer has shown us, in live performances, a glimpse of the character her own voice possesses, this record doesn't build on that, instead being extremely “Mariah Carey-esque” in its delivery.

This could be seen as both good and bad for the young singer. Ultimately it shows Ariana is a very capable vocalist, I mean you'd have to be to emulate Mariah. But, there's also a danger of being branded a "cheap knock-off" if she fails to establish her own sound and keeps trying to mimic other singers.

Even so, The Way is a great first attempt and should do its job of building recognition for the budding popstar as it's undeniably a catchy song! It just needs more Ariana in it and less "Song Bird Supreme" (AKA Mariah).

Rating: C+

Thanks to Brian [better known as "Flylikeabrian" on this site] for penning the review!





67 comments:

  1. There's no denying she can sing very well. I don't think she sounds similar to Mariah Carey though. She sounds more like Jojo. My concern is that her facial expressions annoy me LOL. She seems to have that miss perfect attitude. hahaha

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  2. oh god! So outdated and cheap.

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  3. I liked it! As you said, it hasn't really got much of her character, but I liked the vocals and it was really catchy.

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  4. A poor man's Mariah Carey. Her delivery and breathy vocals are totally ripped off of Mimi. She has an amazing voice, but until she gets some originality... NEXT!

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  5. Apparently Jordin Sparks was one of the co writers for the single.

    Jordin Sparks ‏@JordinSparks22 Mar

    Hey loves! Check out @ArianaGrande's new single The Way, out March 26th, written by me, @sevyn & @AyeRodGMM! It's so fun & fresh!! :D

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  6. Agreed. Cannot stand the facial expressions. She looks snotty.

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  7. The version you posted is pitched, by the way. I agree with all the above, but this isn't the official audio. Her voice sounds so chipmunky in it, haha!

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  8. It's sped up and pitched higher, so the girl won't have her video blocked.

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  9. LOLL yes yes yes!!! She's like the little popular chearleader bitches in teen movies. BTW do you recognize me now? :P I'm maybemab from youtube.

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  10. Yeah, lol, i recognize you.

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  11. I like her tone but I'd wish she could throw some weight around when she sings.

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  12. Shouldn't Demi Lovato or Paramore get som review instead of this little girly?? I mean both their singles have gotten wonderfull critics/review

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  13. Yes it's written at the end of the article :P. I listened to the tumblr link that's unaltered :)

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  14. I've been meaning to do the Demi Lavato one for weeks. I've kind of gotten to the point where I'm waiting for the video so I can post the review with that. But who knows, I might write the review sometime this week.

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  15. If her debut was earlier than Mariah, this would be quite a good recording.
    But sadly, this is seriously just too Mariah-esque from her late 90's.
    Probably even one of Mariah's signature sound.
    Kudos to her thin and light vocals with proper delivery, but just like any other songs that's "hot" right now, there's no kick to it.
    But this is something quite different from current radio songs, though.

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  16. Why would they?

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  18. Ariana should be mighty flattered that all of these people are comparing her to Mariah. I would love to hear HER own take on HER music though. She's obviously heavily Mariah influenced, and it's clear that she's channeling Mrs. "Songbird Supreme," but I would like to her some weight in her voice; and some more individual phrasing. I'm sure she's capable of that.

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  19. Most of us don't intend to flatter though. We mean it in a more, "Oh-Ariana-you-copycat" sort of way.

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  22. Thats sounds fair enough :)
    But I/we stand to wait a little longer so you can review the video too ;)
    Do you like the song? I think it's brilliant and a super leadsingle

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  23. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O3AOhEufyo

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  24. Lolo Turqoise27 March 2013 11:58

    You guys do realize that Ariana has nothing to say about which songs she sings, what image she gets etc It's her management which makes her become Mariah Carey No. 2 (aka America's Darling in the 90's).

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  25. She has SOME control over her material. Seeing as she co-wrote the song. Plus she speaks about her admiration for Mariah repeatedly on her youtube channel and has done an independent cover of emotions.

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  26. I actually prefer her voice to Mariah's

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  27. So what...she signed her ''soul'' away? Then she is even more to blame...she is an idiot.

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  28. Oh naww you didn't. No you don't. No you don't.

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  29. I know. No weight to her voice.
    Sometimes, I even wish she'd shove her tongue back to gain some artificial weight. Her voice is soooo thin...

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  30. Then I'd say you have peculiar tastes that few share ;)

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  31. I think she just chooses to sing weightlessly as an artistic preference, if you look at some of her other youtube videos she is very capable.

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  32. Haha I know that is a sacrilegious thing to say on this site but honestly I just prefer her tone and versatility

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  33. "Sacrilegious thing to say on this site"
    Truest statement I have heard all day

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  34. Even when she tried to sing with weight she lacked a significant amount too... Her weightlessness is not an issue for me because her tone is all girly and she has gorgeous nasal quality which compensates. She sounds great regardless but the reason I would want to add weight to her voice is because she sounds infantile. It just a small gripe about her voice.

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  35. I'm fine with the thinness as long as she retians the gorgeous nasal quality in all parts of her voice. It'd be nice to see her roll her larynx to sing with warmth once and a while rather then relying in her unique nasal quality.

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  38. Tone I can understand, but Mariah has arguably more versatility

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  39. Lol I haven't heard much of Grande but strictly vocally, is Mariah having greater versatilty really arguable?
    I would have thought there not to be any argument there.:-)

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  40. Thanks for the link Brian. I will check it out.

    Cute and bubbly don't exclude maturity. Kelly Clarkson is cute and bubbly aswell. But, I anyway, woudn't call her immature.
    The cute and bubbly isn't what made me say that. The answers she gave made me think so.

    Maturity definitely goes to personality development. Personality shows in what and how you choose to sing.

    Btw I don't ''hate her guts'' at all. But the fact that a search uncovers lots of videos but very little of her doing something other than covering Mariah or other divas....well, it raises questions for me regarding her singing so far.
    And it gives me the impression it's all hype based on clever marketing rather than anything real.
    Sort of Kardasians for teens. :-b

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  41. Listened to that vid and can't say heard much versatility there. Pretty much everything got the same ''today's belting pop diva'' treatment. Never heard for instance some soul or jazz in her voice. Let alone country/Americana lol.
    Consequently also didn't hear much personality in it either.
    But I will give you and mperry...I did hear that weight some said she is lacking.

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  42. I have to agree with Opie. I like Ariana; I think's she's pretty and has a good voice, but I don't find her particularly interesting. Although I did enjoy her cover of Justin Beiber's Die In Your Arms. In terms of her singing, she's better than a majority of today's mainstream pop singers but not amazing. I think she still has a lot of growing to do as a person and as an artist; I also watched some of her interviews and she struck me as someone that isn't quite sure how she wants to be portrayed as a person or an artist. I found that a lot of her answers to questions lacked any depth or insight.

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  43. Yes, that's how her answers struck me as well but I was trying to put it in the least offensive way I could think of. ;-)

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  44. I have never heard of her, but I just youtubed some videos and the girl can play! I found her guitar playing extremely captivating, especially during Song Up In Her Head. I watched the video several times Lol. Watching it actually inspired me to pick up an instrument again ( I used to play violin). Also, judging by her lyricism she's definitely wise beyond her years.

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  45. Haha not everything is a stab, Opie! I wasn't disagreeing with you, at all, but I'll find some videos now - I was on my break at work when I commented and didnt have the facilities to find them before.

    The "weight" remark was, as I wrote, in response to "a lot of people's issues" - I didn't say you! I just didn't want to make two comments when I could do it with one :P.

    She is definitely quite immature, but she's only 19 and she's been a star on a kids show forever - we can't expect much. It's not justification, but I forgive her for it.

    Links:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMyxzje3j_Q 1:33, she's imitating Judy Garland. It's a poor imitation, but it shows that she can sing with different tonal and resonating stylings.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE6txRRW64I shows a bit more of a chestier belt annnnnnd

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rUBVUzHiD8 at 3:03, she sings a music theatre song and she sounds different again. BE WARNED the audio quality is poor so i'd recommend turning the volume down ;)



    As for versatility, yeah.. she can sing music theatre, she can sing with classical tone and influence, she can sing RnB and Pop (though the two terms seem to be becoming interchangeable) and we haven't had much of a chance to see how she fares with some other styles. She's certainly not a Barbra or a Dion or anyone, but she's not completely one genre.

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  46. Lol I didn't think that was a stab at me from you but I don't trust on all Grande fans understanding that my criticism does not mean I hate her.
    I figured , better take the opportunity for an disclaimer while it presents itself.

    Like I say, I find her age not really to be sufficient explanation for it. There are too many of the same age or even younger showing much more advanced personality development.
    It's not something I ''blame' her for. I don't think such things are within a person's control. It's genetics combined with environment and personal history I would think.
    I'm just observing and suggesting it might explain this impression many have of her being nothing but an impersonator.

    Since you went through the trouble...I will check out those links now. :-b

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  47. It's an octave mandolin she is playing on Song up in her head. I love the sound of that instrument.
    You are correct...she sue can play. Which no doubt explains a full scholarship at one of the best schools of music and that grammy nomination for best instrumental for a tune on her first album (though strictly speaking it was for the composing of it).
    Here's a vid of her sitting in with a great band called The Greencards. How about that for improvisation by a 16 year old?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-5nCzuefvU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    That should further inspire you to pick up that violin again ( were you playing classical or some other genre? Violin is my favorite instrument)

    Here are a couple of vids I think go to her sylistic versatility.
    A Paul Simon cover..
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_qTieY5uu0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    A bluegrass classic at 14/15 years old
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04imW6h9ORs&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    A Jerome Kern classic..
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R47a9s5glnA&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    An Joanne Newsom cover



    And finally an Otis Reading cover.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R47a9s5glnA&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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  48. Oops, forgot the actual link to the Newsom cover...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsRhn2f5WmI&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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  49. She honestly reminds me of Christina's debut. Like the way she presents herself. Christina wasnt always the provocative personality we all know today. She used to play it very safe and be quite off in interviews...I wonder if Ariana's contract with Nickelodeon is still in play. I mean they had her sell the rights to her hair so I wonder what else they got from her :( . As for her personality I guess Im just biased because im subbed to her vlog channel so I get to see her real personality quite often. :)

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  50. Well coming from a guy subscribed to god knows how many channels- those are Ariana's tagged videos, basically videos that trend on the youtube community. All sorts of people do them and they usually start with unknown youtubers. Plus with the quality of her videos I doubt she is being marketed on them. I mean sure as a celebrity she will get more views than the average youtuber- but shes had that channel since before she got famous. But what do I know- I havent read her contract with Nickelodeon or her label so idk how much control they have over her. Although I do know that if Nickelodeon wanted to shave her head, she'd have no choice but to oblige. :) She is a self proclaimed lover of the big divas like Whitney and Mariah- like a lot of musical kids from my generation so maybe she just hasnt had much exposure outside of them. Or maybe she has and she just loves the divas more.

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  51. How many times do I need to repeat this truth before it sinks in with you guys???
    She had a choice BEFORE signing a contract ( though up to a certain age that would be her legal guardians signing), she has a choice now!!!
    There is a big big difference between being contractually obliged and having ''no choice''.

    But that again goes to maturity.

    Unlike immaturity, if she lacks exposure to music outside of today's biggest selling singles of the biggest selling popstars...by 19 years old....that can definitely be put on her. Even one who only listens to the charts should have a little wider exposure than that....if they cared to. And imo whether they care to....that goes to how deep their musical interest actually is.

    Anyway...I think you hit the nail on the head with that ''as a celebrity'' ;-)

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  52. Serendipity.-30 March 2013 16:21

    She is a light lyric, don't expect too much out of her lol.
    She has one of the lightest voices I've heard in Pop music, even more so than Minnie Riperton.

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  53. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdmFOwLolJo

    When I said have no choice, I literally mean no choice. Should you contractually sign over the rights to something- you cannot defy the will of the current owners of that item unless you can come to a compromise or return. At least in American law. But theres always a loophole. Im not saying that she was slaved into changing her appearance. I mean she made the decision to change by signing the contract. But should they come to an idealistic image for her that she doesnt agree with completely she has to go along with it or she will be in a legal fight with her management. Which may end with her losing. Thats what I mean by no choice. Against her complete will. She apprently listens to a lot of Judy Garland and old divas. But thats all Ive heard about her tastes in music but idk her so I cant speak for her. And as for the whole Kardashian thing, I find there to be a big difference between the two. Kim Kardashian is a woman who is managed by her mother who became famous because of a sex tape and remains famous because of controversy. Ariana is famous because of her work as an actress and live performer. I don't recall there being the same type of media attention between the two. For Kim its always "What shes wearing, who shes talking to blah blah blah" Ariana is more "If youve seen her show you were amazed, or she is working in the studio to bring music to her fanbase from victorious". Ariana actually works like an artist, whereas Kim just has a big publicity bubble wrapped around her all the time.

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  54. What you mean Brian is...no EASY choice. Not making the hard choice really is still completely your will.
    Ps if she is a fan of Garland...she should be even more aware of any contract she signs.;-)
    Also please, if you ever hit it big, do find yourself a really good lawyer before you sign anything

    As, again, I hardly find videos of Grande performing as a singer in a professional capacity...I find your claim she has some real accomplishments as a singer to match her '' celebrity'' unconvincing.
    And she had a role in a teenshow on a children's channel.

    So here we go again Brian....that is actually an audience which is really small and specific. Teen fame means very little in the world at large. There is a reason for that....it has to do with the composition of the world population And the developmental stages of the human brain.

    Just for fun, head on over to Wikipedia, search ''victorious'' and scroll down to what the critics had to say about it. And it's ''talent''.

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  55. In the american music and entertainment industry (which is also the center of successful music) the largest and most affordable entertainment audience is female, children, and young adult which oddly enough also view those types of television shows and composes most of Arianas fanbase. I never said that Victorious was a fantastic show. Or that it was even well written. I just mean that whether it was critically acclaimed or not- it was successful. At least for a short while. Which is how Ariana got her exposure. Btw- Ariana isn't even very famous. Or at least what Im going to assume you think her fame level is at. She isnt nearly as famous as any kardashion (not that I think they deserve fame) and this single is her first breakthrough into the mainstream american music charts (Outside of "Teen Pop"). So- we'll see as she grows whether or not she will become the type of artist you say is deserving of fame and recognition. :) Edit* Now I see why you think I said victorious was good. By "her show" I mean live performing. Not any network show shes starred in. God no. I could barely handle the first episode.

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  56. Lol ''succesfull' is in the eye of the beholder. Clearly you are one beholder who thinks of recordsales and teen adulation as being succesful. I view respect of peers and a discerning audience, critical acclaim and lasting value as being succesful.
    And in that realm...the center is way bigger than the American,most affluent, target audience.

    But my whole point was that indeed...this single, she hopes, is her breakthrough. I feel until it has proven to indeed be that breakthrough, one cannot act as if she is a succesful singer.

    You used Victorious as an example of an accomplishment by Grande. I made the point it doesn't really rate very highly as an accomplishment.

    I have extremely little doubt she will never be what I consider to be an artist, let alone one I personally feel deserves fame and recognition. But that is of little consequence as we all know.
    About 80% of the musicians/actors getting fame and recognition aren't worthy of it by my standards. LOL

    But I understand the reality that is and therefor only hope in future there will at least once again be a little more corelation between the amount of fame/recognition and the actual accomplishments.
    And I think that hope is not entirely in vain since until just a few decades ago, that was the case. Plus more and more people are desiring for a return to that balance being more even as well. :-)

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  57. I think her having been on Broadway since she was 15 while still completing high school etc is a fairly large accomplishment. It's no mean feat getting in on a big broadway musical, especially for an actual role (other than ensemble/chorus).

    Aside from that, I agree wholeheartedly that her fame pretty much extends to watchers of Nickelodeon and people who have heard about her via YouTube. She's the real deal when it comes to vocals - her technique is utterly unimpeachable. But we'll just have to wait for a couple of albums worth of content to see if she's the real deal with musical and vocal artistry.

    I don't think she doesn't deserve her fame - anybody with that kind of control over their instrument has worked bloody hard for it, and if she's been actively trying for performance opportunities since she was 8 (when she sang the national anthem at a nationally televised game). She's then been in small-ish productions and movies but all having had a major role in, and co-starred with celebrities such as Neil Patrick Harris and duetted on record with people like MIKA. All the while acting and singing over four seasons of that Victorious show (I haven't seen it, haha, I won't comment on its content).


    My view of her, in summary: phenomenal talent/skill in regard to technical vocals, lack of artistic identity that leads to constant impressions but will hopefully develop one as a solo artist, has worked hard(er than some, less hard than others) to get where she is and is hopefully going to be a huge hit. The girl isn't even legally allowed to drink yet (no relevance, just an age comment), so maybe she'll mature a little later and sort her artistic self out. I'm shelving her there until I hear more material :)

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  58. No doubt just getting to be on Broadway is an accomplishment in itself. But I was speaking of accomplishments in contrast to the amount of fame/attention. In that light it is not the kind of accomplishment I meant.

    Anyway, Ariana already has at least two staunch fans. :-)
    Though, like I said, I have severe doubts she'll ever be ringing my bells as an artist, I hope she will prove to fulfill the hopes and expectations you and Brian hold for her and bring you much joy. :-)

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  59. ANTHONYSAVAGE1 April 2013 00:56

    Mac Miller looks like Robert Pattison

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  60. Is anyone else creeped out by mac miller and ariana making out in the video?

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  63. i don't like her voice.. it's nasally and i don't like the song...

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  64. ARE YOU DUMB? There is no artist in this industry that has total control of what kind of music they release unless they own their own independent company or they have put in enough time and energy into their musical career in which they have more of a say. Ariana is an actress and aspiring singer. Therefore she has other shit to worry about. And you can eat your words now because her song went PLATNUM

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  65. You've obviously been judging her solely on this song...

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  66. Nope. I am not dumb. I am in fact ,it seems, more knowledgeable than you are. :-)


    And I am sorry but the fact that there are enough fools to buy anything they are told to buy to make a song platinum, has no bearing whatsoever on my opinion.

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  67. No no no, not a Stan. Lol But thank you for clearing it up. But I'm still a little confused about the "non musical personality" part.

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