Ariana Grande Showcases Growth And Maturity In New Album ‘Positions’

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Published November 14, 2020
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Ariana Grande released her new album, "Positions," on Oct. 30, 2020. Photo courtesy of Republic Records

After the success of her last two projects, “Sweetener” and “Thank U, Next,” Ariana Grande is back again with her sixth studio album, “Positions.” Grande showcases her growth, not only as an artist, but as a person experiencing the excitement and hardships that come with falling in love.

Over the last two years, Grande has worked nonstop and continued to release new projects with various artists, including Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. With the amount of music she has been releasing, her growth and improvement have become increasingly evident with each new track.

A week before the album’s Oct. 30 release, Grande released the music video for the title track, “Positions.” The video kept fans on edge and the anticipation for the new project grew even bigger.

Following the music video release, Grande dropped the track list online. The song titles were very telling of what kind of album her fans should prepare for. With titles like “34+35,” “Nasty” and “My Hair,” fans began to speculate that “Positions” was going to be an album about sex.

While sex is a common theme throughout “Positions,” there are many other themes which coincide and mend together to tell a story, with an intelligibly musical through line. Similarly to her previous albums, Grande reflects on how her past experiences have affected her. Despite the eagerness to spark a new flame, it can be difficult to take down the walls that she has built around herself and become vulnerable again.

There was also excitement regarding the abundance of features on the new album, with artists Doja Cat, The Weeknd and Ty Dolla $ign making appearances on several songs.

The album begins with “Shut Up,” which accurately sets the tone for the feel of the album. The string orchestra and its use of pizzicato sparks flashbacks to opening themes of Disney fantasy movies.

The album’s second track, “34+35,” is one of the steamier songs on the album. The lyrics are much more full-fledged than Grande’s previous works. The romantic orchestral sounds, which give off a pure and sweet ambience, juxtaposes the risqué lyrics for a perfect blend of flirty and seductive.

"Positions" features artists such as Doja Cat, The Weeknd and Ty Dolla $ign. Photo courtesy of Dave Meyers

“Positions” features artists such as Doja Cat, The Weeknd and Ty Dolla $ign.
Photo courtesy of Dave Meyers

One track that I looked forward to the most was “Motive,” particularly because of the Doja Cat feature. While the song itself is catchy and likable, Doja Cat misses the mark with her verse and is easily overseen in the song. The track was not the right fit for her, despite how versatile she is as an artist.

“Off the Table,” featuring The Weeknd, is one of Grande’s most personal songs from the album. The change in tempo from the four previous songs gives a more sentimental, ethereal vibe.

With it, Grande reflects on her insecurities and fears of falling in love again, considering her previous plights. This is a big change of pace from the previous songs, which cover the early stages of love.

“Will I ever love the same way again / Will I ever love somebody like the way I did you,” Grande sings.

These sentiments that Grande channels, combined with The Weeknd’s strong and heart-rending vocals, make for a go-to track that people can cry to.

On “My Hair,” Grande goes for a more jazzy and soulful vibe, which is fresh and exciting, but very much quintessential when she utilizes her full vocal range. Grande sings in her lowest vocal range which complements the song’s smooth sounds. She also utilizes one of her most impressive vocal abilities, known as whistle notes.

The smooth guitar and slick bass, fused with the recurring orchestral sounds and a surprising trumpet feature, give this track a sophisticated and mature feel.

Grande ends the album with “POV,” a beautifully written song that steps away from the more sexual themes and delves into what it means to be loved by a significant other and to simultaneously love yourself.

She speaks on the experience of love, as a person who is fallible and has flaws.

“I wanna love me / The way that you love me / For all of my pretty and all of my ugly too / I’d love to see me from your point of view,” Grande sings.

The dreamy kalimba-sounding melody, paired with the various harmonies, makes for a satisfying ending to a sublime album.

“Positions” does not fail to show Grande’s growth as an artist and is easily one of her best projects to date. The multifaceted sounds and relatable lyrics will take listeners away to a pop fairy tale dream.

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