By now, we are getting used to having a new Ariana Grande album every year. On the 30th of October, she released Positions, her third studio album in little more than two years (and we are not complaining!). The album debuted at No. 1 at the Billboard Hot #200, which is the singer’s fifth time achieving this goal.
In Positions, Ariana confirms herself as an artist that can go from pop to R&B with perfection. With features like The Weeknd, Doja Cat and Ty Dolla $ign, she creates a work filled with intimacy, whether it’s about sex and how much fun she’s having or about vulnerabilty and fear of a new relationship. It’s safe to say that this is not her best album, but it does show a hint of everything she does best.
Shut up, the intro, definitely makes a statement and lyrically it is a great start, but musically is not the strongest. It’s a good song, but it’s easily forgotten when we get to 34+35, the most explicit, but also fun track from the album. Ariana is not taking herself too seriously and that’s what makes it work.
The next one, motive, featuring Doja Cat, brings that 90s groove vibe and reminds me of Dua Lipa’s latest album, Future Nostalgia. I did expect something bigger from this feat, but it’s very catchy after a few listens. Just like magic sounds like 7 rings 2.0, it feels like Ariana is talking to you and just saying “you know, i keep positive, so I attract good things”.
Also, there’s no way you can put Ariana Grande and The Weeknd together and get something bad – Love Me Harder was the proof of that, but with off the table, they achieve something more mature and beautiful. It’s an R&B ballad that sounds like a conversation between two people afraid of falling in love after being hurt. This is probably why the next track, six thirty, doesn’t stand out much. However, it’s a really fun song, especially if you pay attention to the lyrics.
The big surprise in this album is safety net, featuring Ty Dolla $ign. Ariana confesses that after all she’s been through, she is falling in love again and scared of it. “I’ve never been this scared before / Feelings I just can’t ignore”, she sings. It’s a highlight not only lyrically, but also in the dynamic, as the feat brings extra emotion to the song. My hair is also an outstanding track in the album, in which Grande shows two of the best things in her music: amazing vocals and production. The trumpets and the whistles in the background are a great combo.
Nasty, west side and love language are individually good songs, but they don’t add much to the album as a whole. Positions has 14 tracks, but it could be easily reduced to 12 or 11 and not much would change. It’s also interesting to point out that only five of those are more than three minutes long, which seems like something more and more recurring in pop music.
It’s rare for Ariana to have a lead single that doesn’t stick with you after the first listen. She did it with Problem, no tears left to cry and, of course, thank u, next. Positions – the track that titles the album – doesn’t disappoint on that. It’s not as strong as the ones mentioned before, but it did the job, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot #100. Getting to the end of the album, obvious is good summary of what she is saying with this record, making subtle sex references and saying how much she is in love with her significant other.
pov is the perfect closure for this album and my personal favorite. In this song, Ariana opens her heart about wanting to love herself as much as her partner does. Everything seems to be on point in this track: vocals, the r&b ballad style and some deep relatable lyrics.
Overall, you can say that, even though Positions is fun and has a lot of allusions to sex, Ariana’s best work comes from when she opens her heart and gets vulnerable about love and life. She did it with thank u, next – her best album so far – and got something that made a big impact on the industry. However, she was having a really hard time back then and now she is feeling good, having fun and falling in love again, which is exactly what this album feels like.
The article above was edited by Isabella Gemignani.
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