Ariana Grande’s new position


The cover art from Ariana Grande’s latest album, positions, which was released on October 30.

Nathan Mo, Team Leader

When it feels like the world is burning down, there’s really only one thing that can save us: Ariana Grande. We saw it first with her single “stuck with u” with Justin Bieber at the start of the pandemic, and now, she’s come out with her sixth studio album, “positions”. The album was an instant hit, topping the Billboard Hot 100 charts in addition to its titular song, “positions”, also taking the Number One spot on the charts. However, although it’s refreshing to hear new music from one of the queens of modern pop, I found myself wishing for something different in terms of the message of the music and the music itself.

Grande as an artist has always placed a focus on female empowerment and issues, and this one is no different, although the themes addressed with this album are a bit more racy. For example, on the song “34 + 35” (you know where this is heading), Grande sings about craving company. Only more confusing was the lighter, more childish and playful soundtrack, which served as a heavy contrast to the nature of the songs. I found myself scratching my head as I heard an orchestral that sounded like it came out of a Barbie movie, yet Grande sang about problems which every teenager will experience in their love life.

However, there were a few bright features which I enjoyed in the album – for example, “safety net” (featuring Ty Dolla $ign) gave off the same energy as the songs on her previous album, “sweetener”, which was a welcome surprise. Another song which I thoroughly enjoyed was “pov”, another song which seemed to be a throwback to “sweetener” with a focus on the bass rather than the lighter orchestral which was more characteristic of this new album.

There’s no doubt that Grande is one of the defining artists of the decade, with five of her six albums reaching the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 albums charts, but I felt that “positions” went against her identity as an artist. Grande has always been known for her wide vocal range and her ability to hit (nearly impossible) high notes, yet she restricted herself to two octaves with this new album. Despite its initial success, I think we might be seeing “positions” in a different position on the charts soon.