I Finally Listened to Ariana Grande's New Album. And I Wasn't Disappointed.

Traditionally, I’m a person who doesn’t have a particular favorite music genre or artist—I tend to add all of my songs to one disastrous heap of a playlist and skip the 500 I don’t like at that moment to only shuffle between 10. Even more than that, I’m much less a devoted fan of Ariana Grande, besides occasionally being reminded of how much I really do love God Is a Woman, along with everybody else. So, when her newest album Positions was praised in Snapchat stories and Instagram posts after its release on October 30th, I eventually decided to take the long way home from a bout of errands to give myself time to see (or hear) what one of the world’s most widely-respected pop stars had in store for us this time. As someone who doesn’t follow new happenings and projects in the music industry very closely, I didn’t really know what I was going to end up writing about when I was finished, but here’s what I really got out of it. (Summary: I learned a lot.)

When I say there is truly no song I didn’t like, I whole-heartedly mean that, and that’s coming from someone who can traditionally is too impatient to wait more than 10 seconds to decide if it's worth investing in. While all opinions are subjective, of course, my top three favorites would have to be, if I had to really narrow it down, west side, motive, and safety net. As in her previous albums, Ariana succeeds in avoiding being an artist where all the songs seem to sound the same and you really can’t tell them apart—motive is a song I can see myself listening to for a boost of self-confidence or singing all the words to with my best friends during a 2am drive, where west side and safety net are songs that immediately got me, for lack of a better term, “in my feels.” They had me thinking of my memories with a particular person with a sense of reflection and bittersweetness in a matter of seconds, and I couldn't help but playing them over and over again to feel their messages deeply each time. And, of course, it helps she really does have the voice of an angel.

As what previously charmed the world when No Tears Left to Cry and Thank U, Next were released and instantly climbed charts in 2018 and 2019, respectively, Ariana isn’t an artist who adds to the widely but silently-accepted norm that modern music should revolve around a woman handing everything she has to a man in order to be even remotely redeemable. This album is a beautiful reinstatement of the theme she’s used her influential voice, literally, to promote in her recent music the last couple of years: a woman’s worth is determined on her own, and she should embrace the power she holds within herself to remind others she's a revelation, a muse, and a first, unmistakable choice, and if someone doesn't see that, they can shut that door on the way out of her life. The world, and more specifically young listeners who are faced with the unwinnable game of society's rigid opinions for what they “should be,” really does need music that isn’t one-sided and no longer makes women feel that they have to fit a fixed model of physical and emotional beauty. Positions, in my opinion, is an album that is rooted in a foundation that succeeds in eloquently telling millions, "Don't be afraid to love, but never forget who you are."

If this is Ariana's greatest album to date, I'll be here excitedly waiting for what's next.