Ariana Grande's Sweetener Review

On August 17th of 2018, Ariana Grande graced us with the release of her fourth debut album Sweetener. The title gives us a sense of what to expect in each song. The album includes 15 songs that feature various artists such as Pharrell Williams and Nicki Minaj, who has made an appearance on Grande’s previous albums.

 

The cover of the album features her classic upside down image, a style that became well known after the release of her first single off the album called “no tears left to cry.” The image is simple and sweet, a testament to the content of AG4.

 

  1. “raindrops (an angel cried)”- Raindrops serves as the intro for Ariana’s fourth album. On most of her albums, Grande includes an intro track that only runs for about a minute. I was extremely impressed with how beautiful this intro was. The song is almost 40 seconds of pure vocals and reminds us all of that important person we lost.

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  1. “blazed” (Featuring Pharrell Williams)- Blazed is one of the few tracks that I listen to less often than the others, however I still enjoy listening to the song from time to time. Something about it is very catchy so a warning: it will get stuck in your head. Pharrell adds nice decoration to the track and you’ll most likely find yourself singing “Shawty you can get blazed” every time you hear the song.

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  1. “the light is coming” (Featuring Nicki Minaj)- I have to admit, this is probably the only track on the album that I’m personally disappointed with. The beat is a little strange for my taste and I wasn’t a huge fan of the man chanting “You wouldn’t let anybody speak and instead-.” However, I was happy to see an Ariana/Nicki collaboration because there’s no denying that the pair are great together. Not to mention, it holds a positive message of spreading positivity and light to the world.

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  1. “R.E.M”- I have to say, R.E.M is probably my favorite song on the album (other than Goodnight n Go, Breathin, and Pete Davidson). It was the first song I listened to when the album first came out, and it’s the perfect example of the dreamy sound that Ariana presents on almost every album. Every time you hear it, you’ll think of that special someone in your life. This song includes one of my favorite lines on the album: “You’re such a dream to me.”

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  1. “God is a woman”- This song is the perfect anthem for any strong woman. It’s no wonder that this was one of the many songs on the album to reach top ten on the Billboard charts. One listen to this song and you’ll believe that God is a woman.

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  1. “sweetener”- Overall, the message behind this song makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Ariana fills us with light and positivity, reminding us of the importance of spreading love in difficult situations. We all know of a person who can sweeten any situation, and this song is the perfect tribute to them.

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  1. “successful”- Another uplifting anthem for any powerful woman, successful is one of my all time favorite tracks on the album. Grande not only prides herself on her own successful career, but lifts up the other amazing women in her life with the lyrics “And girl, you too, you are so young / And beautiful and so successful…” This song is a great addition to any empowering playlist.

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  1. “everytime”- I don’t think Ariana could have written a more relatable song if she tried. We all have that one ex who gets the best of us, the one we fall for every time they reach out. It’s easy to get weak and fall to the feet of someone who we know is toxic for us. Combine a great beat with some of the most relatable lyrics you’ve ever heard and you get one of my personal favorites on the album, “everytime.”

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  1. “breathin”- Anxiety. Something that millions of us deal with on a daily basis. Grande opened up to TIME in an interview about her struggle dealing with anxiety following the Manchester bombing. She said, “I think a lot of people have anxiety, especially right now. My anxiety has anxiety… I’ve always had anxiety. I’ve never really spoken about it because I thought everyone had it, but when I got home from tour it was the most severe I think it’s ever been.” Breathin is a song I find myself listening to every time I’m feeling overwhelmed. The meaning is extremely significant and it’s the perfect go to song when you’re going through a hard time in your life. Fun fact: If you reverse the intro of the song you can hear Grande’s late grandpa say, “Tonight is your special night, do something magical.”

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  1. “no tears left to cry”- This song has a special place in my heart not only because it reminds me of a good period of my life, but it also helped me get through the bad ones. After going through some tough things in my personal life, I ended up in a place where I truly felt like I had no tears left to cry. Once you’re on the other end of a hard time, you realize the strength and joy you have. This song allows you to share that joy with the people you care about the most. It’s no surprise that the first single off Sweetener was played on the radio for weeks.  

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  1. “borderline” (Featuring Missy Elliott)- I will admit that “borderline” is one of my least listened to songs on the album. It’s not that I necessarily don’t like it, but it’s definitely not my go to when I’m listening to Sweetener. This is one of the more upbeat songs on the album and has less of a significant meaning than some of the other tracks. It has a catchy tune that’s sure to get stuck in your head, but I would definitely recommend listening to other songs on the album before this one.

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  1. “better off”- Ariana didn’t really hit us with a super depressing song on the album- at least that’s what I thought until I listened to this song and learned the lyrics. Although it doesn’t sound like a traditionally sad song, “better off” describes what it’s like to find the strength to leave someone who you know isn’t right for you. Grande originally cut the song off her album and then put it back on explaining to a fan on Twitter, “bc at first i was nervous about like....... it coming true. if that makes sense. more honest than i was ready to be w myself at the time (its v old). but it’s beautiful and has always been one of my favs and i’m very happy she’s on there. excited to share it w you.”

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  1. “goodnight n go”- Unknown to many, the song “Goodnight n Go” is actually a cover of a song from one of Ariana’s inspirations, Imogen Heap. The lyrics, “Why do you have to be so cute / It’s impossible to ignore you / Why must you make me laugh so much? / It’s bad enough we get along so well” are a heartfelt tribute to Grande’s fiance Pete Davidson. I think she speaks for us all when we find that extremely special person who we’re head over heels for.

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  1. “pete davidson”- By now we’re all pretty aware of Ariana’s very public relationship with fiance Pete Davidson. This song wasn’t originally set to be released with the album, but an ever so infatuated Grande quickly whipped up this song to express her feelings for the love of her life. This song encaptures exactly what it means to fall so purely for someone. It reminds us that the universe has a way of putting the right people into our lives at the right time- soulmates included.

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  1. “get well soon”- All you need to know about “Get Well Soon” is that it was dedicated to the victims of the Manchester bombing that occurred on May 22, 2017 at one of Ariana’s concerts. If you’re wondering why the song ends with almost over thirty seconds of silence, it’s because Grande purposely made the song 5 minutes and 22 seconds to commemorate those who died at the concert on 5/22. The gesture alone is enough to make this song a staple in any playlist.    

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Overall, one of my favorite things about this album is that it feels like Ariana Grande truly found her style as an artist. The first few albums were an experimentation of mixing a sweet daydream with some edgy sass, and I truly believe that she found the perfect formula in Sweetener. We still get the sweet sound of violins and the vibe that we’re dreaming, while also feeling the empowerment of being a woman who takes control of her own destiny. With a snippet of a possible new song to come (watch the clip on twitter here), I can safely say that whatever is coming will not disappoint.