By HALO KWOK
Pop queen Ariana Grande is back!
On Oct. 30, Republic Records released Ariana Grande's sixth official album, Positions. The album includes 14 songs and features collaborations with famous singers Doja Cat, the Weekend and Ty Dolla $ign. As of late, it is deemed by critics as being her most “explicit” album, showcasing her raw, unfiltered feelings that flow effortlessly with the help of her smooth vocals. The album marks another point in the artist's journey as Ariana shares her desire to live peacefully after all the pain she has endured in the past.
Above all, Positions is surely an album to jam out to during quarantine.
The studio album starts with the leading R&B song, "positions." In the title track, Ariana talks about her love for her boyfriend, conveying that her love is “infinite” and there is nothing she would not do for him. From the distinctly ethereal atmosphere of the artist's angelic voice, Ariana pours out her heart to the listeners when she shares the lengths she will go to as a woman to prove her love to him. From being a President in the morning to a loving wife at night, the pattern within the lyrics showcases how serious their relationship is as she is willing to "switch positions" for him. Combined with Ariana's mesmerizing voice, listeners are already immersed within the album's beat and story.
In contrast to the sweet lyrics of the previous song, the album follows with the drastically explicit track, “34+35,” where Ariana discusses the euphoria associated with feeling excited and free. She teases her fans with a more intense recollection of her thoughts, leaving them yearning for more. She directly notes what she desires and does not hold back, leaving fans stunned. Ariana’s signature enchanting voice in this song sounds especially captivating, as her perceived innocence evaporates in the blink of an eye, showing that she is not the little girl that people saw before—she is now a grown woman.
In another track, “shut up,” Ariana starts giving her own advice to her listeners to not care about what others think. The song reflects the same tone as the rest of the album, with the lyrics filled with cotton candy vibes and pink, cloudy skies. Her cushiony voice easily accompanies the lyrics, as her alluring vocals flood through the track. The song starts with Ariana singing, “My presence sweet and my aura bright, diamonds good for my appetite.” Noting her worth to state that even diamonds are fit for her to eat, she urges the listeners to do the same, inspiring them to grasp the idea of being self-confident.
This new style of music marks the beginning of another era for Grande, as the singer advances from one stage to the next. Not looking back, she decides to pursue a future filled with happiness. Instead of singing in the solemn, heart-wrenching style her songs were previously known for, she turns over a new leaf and decides to look straight ahead without focusing on the past.
Despite all the rave reviews from fans, her characteristically different approach to her new album generated a lot of backlash from critics. To many, “Positions” lacked Ariana’s “trademark sparkle,” essentially meaning that the release was not nearly as captivating or thrilling as the others.
Nevertheless, Ariana is evolving as an individual. It is unfair to believe that someone will retain the same mental state for their entire lifetime, and people constantly change by the minute. Hence, to portray her ever-changing self, Ariana dives deep into her roots of humanity through her music in order to reveal her true nature. To say that Ariana’s new album lacks emotion and “punch” is simply incorrect.
Within music, people usually assume that sadness is the only emotion that is impactful, and as a result, happiness is often overlooked. Yet, happiness can be just as moving, evident by the fact that humans can cry out of both overwhelming joy and despair. Therefore, while Ariana’s new tracks may not seem exhilarating to some people, it is indisputable that she gave it her all and let her inner feelings shine through when creating “Positives.”
In conclusion, Ariana Grande is not as overrated as people may believe. Her success in the entertainment industry is deserved and well-earned. With her powerful words able to tug at heartstrings, Ariana Grande is a role model to all people alike in this day and age.
“Positives” is yet another one of Ariana’s albums bound to top the charts, and its release is one of the highlights of 2020.