By: Gabriella Patino
Ariana Grande has become a household name and one of the biggest pop artists today, with her career spanning over a decade. On October 14th, Ariana Grande posted a picture on Instagram saying, “i can’t wait to give u my album this month,” sending everyone on social media into a frenzy. She made many more posts leading up to the release of her sixth studio album, entitled “Positions.” The album, which was released on October 30th, marks an introduction to a new era for Grande, following her two recent albums, “Sweetener” and “thank u, next,” both of which she took on tour for the majority of 2019.
I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I’ve grown up watching Ariana Grande. Whether it was on her Nickelodeon shows “Victorious” and “Sam and Cat,” or watching her latest music video, we have seen her evolve and grow right in front of our eyes. Like many other celebrities, we’ve also watched her go through many hardships in her life, such as the death of her ex-boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, or the bombing at her 2017 concert in Manchester. She has inspired so many people all around the world, not only with her music, but how she handles the obstacles life has thrown at her with class and grace.
On the surface, “Positions” sounds like a classic pop album, with many catchy, lighthearted songs you can picture hearing on the radio, but as you delve deeper into both the melodies and the lyrics, it is so much more than that. “Positions” opens with “shut up,” a track filled with orchestral strings. The title tells you everything you need to know about the song, and gives a very carefree introduction to the album itself. She then follows it up with three romantic, but lighthearted songs; “34+35”, “motive” featuring Doja Cat, and “just like magic.” Those three songs then lead into one of the most vulnerable tracks on the album, “off the table” featuring The Weeknd. A song filled with R&B influences that she began to explore in her recent projects, she sings about the pain and uncertainty of losing a past love. “If I can have you, is love completely off the table?”, she sings, alluding to the passing of Miller.
The next two tracks, “six thirty” and “safety net” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, reference her new relationship, and being able to let your guard down with someone new. She continues to sing about falling in love again, with playful songs like “my hair” and “nasty,” while “west side” and “obvious” carry on the R&B atmosphere. One of my personal favorites on the album, “love language,” brings an upbeat, retro-funk feel, while you continue to hear the strings that are so prevalent throughout the album. The lead single for the album, “positions,” is the most similar to her past work, with catchy lyrics and a beat built for radio listening. The final song, “pov,” brings the album full circle, where she reflects on her past and current relationship, singing “For all of my pretty, and all of my ugly too; I’d love to see me from your point of view”. The track boasts her impressive vocals, and brings closure to the album as a whole.
Personally, I think “Positions” is one Grande’s most open and vulnerable albums to date. Grande’s last album, “thank u, next,” was written from a place of pain and sorrow, directly following the passing of ex-boyfriend Miller, and breaking off her engagement to ex-fiance Pete Davidson, but “Positions” seems to come from a place of self-reflection. COVID-19 has forced everyone to step back and put their lives on hold, and the world has seemingly been on pause. Grande seemed to use her time in quarantine to self reflect on her career as a whole, and you can hear that in this album. Her past projects have been filled with her iconic belting and high notes, but “Positions” takes a more mellow approach, with orchestral strings, runs, and harmonies to fill the void. “Positions” brings a different sound for Grande, while still staying true to her pop roots, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for her new projects.