GRAPHIC BY: CHRISTINA QUACH
By SIDNEY WONG
Two years after her Dangerous Woman album, Ariana Grande has successfully released another album titled Sweetener.
Four months prior to the release, Ariana released the lead single “No Tears Left To Cry.” At the same time, Ariana announced the new album would include 15 tracks featuring Nicki Minaj, Pharrell Williams and Missy Elliot. Now, Sweetener is Ariana’s third album to debut at number one on Billboard 200 following Yours Truly and My Everything. Sweetener received 15.1 million streams on Spotify, setting a US Spotify record for biggest opening day for a female artist. Ariana described the pop album in an interview with Jimmy Fallon, “It’s kind of about bringing light to a situation or to someone’s life-or somebody else who brings life to your life or, sweetening the situation.”
Supporters have been anticipating this album for years, especially following the Manchester attacks and her engagement.
The first song on the album, “raindrops (an angel cried),” is a melancholic acapella that shows off Ariana’s vocal skills, sure to give listeners chills. Some fans were upset, because the song was only 38 seconds long. The second song, “blazed” featuring Pharrell Williams, consists of a galloping funk beat that pairs well with Pharrell and Ariana’s vocals, creating a subtle pop track. In this song, Ariana sings about the gamble of true love between two souls.
The third tune, “the light is coming” featuring Nicki Minaj, is believed by some to be the worst song in the album, containing programmed beats and vocals to melodies that do not suit each other. Even Pharrell, who co-wrote seven songs on this album, suggested that “the light is coming” has overplayed instrumentals and vocals, telling USA Today that the song is, “…veering left when you expect them to veer right.”
Skipping to “sweetener,” many fans believe that Ariana took the inspiration from the game Bop It. The song has a catchy staccato beat, indeed making “sweetener” a bop. “Sweetener” focuses on finding positivity after troubling times. Speaking of bops, “successful” is indisputably a confident song about Ariana’s success. Ariana sings, “Yeah, it feels so good to be so young. And have this fun and be successful… I’m so successful.” Listeners can turn up “successful” and feel inspired. The ninth track, “breathin,” is a song about her feelings of anxiety, mainly focusing on the effects of the bombing during her show in Manchester last year. Ariana’s listeners who struggle with similar issues are able to relate to her lyrics. In comparison to her last album Dangerous Woman, Ariana has been more open with her emotions, allowing fans to feel closer to her.
Before the actual release of Sweetener, Ariana had already been surfacing on social media because of her engagement with actor Pete Davidson. Ariana previously dated rapper Mac Miller for two years until May of 2018, even collaborating on multiple hits, before dating Davidson. Before announcing their engagement in June, Ariana wrote a song about him titled- you guessed it- “pete davidson.”
Mac Miller himself released an album in August titled Swimming. The album reflected his personal struggles and swimming through the turbulences of life. Shortly after his breakup with Ariana, he was arrested for a DUI related car crash. He appeared on World Record on Beats 1 on Apple Music admitting, “…I made a stupid mistake. I’m a human being. Like, drove home drunk. But it was the best thing that could have happened. I needed that.” Especially in his new song “2009,” Mac emphasizes how he is thankful for his blessing in disguise, showing his mental recovery singing, “Now everyday I wake up and breathe. I don’t have it all but that’s alright with me.” Miller added that he and Ariana ended on good terms and remain extremely supportive of each others endeavours.
Through all the limelight, Ariana has received success and positivity following her engagement and release of the album. She has even hinted at a worldwide tour in 2019 for Sweetener on social media. Mac is also touring Canada and the US starting October 27, giving them both a “successful” ending to a tough year in their careers.
As Ariana concludes her Dangerous Woman tour later this month, fans hope she will “pick it up” again next year in preparation for the Sweetener tour.