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Ariana Grande-Positions

  • Release date: 30 October 2020
  • Label: Republic
  • Catalog #: #33341

Her third album in two years explores the peaceful process of putting oneself together and taking joy in a thrilling new romance at the same time as she strives for tranquilly.


Sweetener sparkled because of its rebellious delight.Thank you, Next, who transitioned from pink Champagne arrogance to sombre confessions while singing through stages of joy and grief.Her third album in two years, Positions, is a search for tranquilly.It chronicles the arduous process of putting yourself back together and the dread of having to relearn how to trust.She sings, “Don’t be sad for me,” 20 seconds into the record, “All them demons help me see shit differently.”This assertion serves as a kind of thesis and opens the door for some of the record’s sillier moments.
The album’s giddiness amplifies its tension while giving it momentum.The fervour of a new romance animates the conflict between her feelings of being in love and being afraid of it.On “34+35,” a song built around an almost-subtle joke until the very last second, she yells, “Just give me them babies!”“That means I’m trying to get 69 with you,” she hums.“No shit.”The title tune, “my hair,” and “nasty,” among others, drape her harmonies over hazy synths.She crosses off tasks from her to-do list on “just like magic,” including meetings, meditations, “read a fucking book,” and ardent manifesting.A follow-up to the shimmering “successful” by Sweetener that emerges from underneath volleys of drums, the song is simultaneously winking and not.But as soon as she starts singing about “love letters to heaven,” the instruments start to fade.
Many of these songs are the result of hesitation, of rejecting risks or of explaining their price, and they are typically produced in a sleek, subdued manner.The flourishes are the bursts of orchestral sound that close “shut up” and “obvious” in a Broadway-style manner, respectively.The breathy sway that characterises Grande’s voice persists, with sporadic stretches into rap-like cadences.There is still depth to these songs’ glazed reveries, even if they don’t have the same staying power as her stadium power ballads.(The quiet, smouldering highlight is the “west side” in particular.)“motive” might have been written as an internet-shattering blast in any other year (Murda Beatz! Doja Cat! ), but it is sparkling and subdued now.Positions’ sanitised accuracy and the way the slick harmonies spiral around the trap-drum are somewhat detrimental.
Grief creeps up on you, and Grande weaves it into her attempt to understand love on Positions. The majority of the record builds musically and spiritually off of “ghostin,” a beautiful, throbbing thank u, next song about negotiating a past love with a present one. She continued, “Though I wish he were here instead/Don’t want that living in your head,” before launching into the repetitive refrain, “We’ll get through this, we’ll get past this.” On the new album, the optimistic conclusion is less abrupt. She is battling for control and asking questions rather than providing answers. The magnificent “safety net” with Ty Dolla $ign
Will I ever feel the same about love? On the Weeknd’s sugary ballad “off the table,” she sobs. Do I simply wait for the next life and sit this one out? The song blossoms over light, airy string accents and dense, enveloping percussion, seeming like a remnant from his Trilogy mixtapes. Even if it seems like I’ll always be second in line to someone you can’t hold any longer, he sings, “I’ll wait for you.” Throughout the song “six thirty,” Grande’s sultry vocals repeatedly question, “Are you down? What’s up?” however the song’s lyrics make clear how important the question is. She murmurs, “I know this shit kinda heavy,” doubting whether her partner will be able to help her and debating whether she should even ask.
However, perhaps that isn’t appropriate here.Positions doesn’t expand Ariana Grande’s musical range the way her previous albums have, and it isn’t bolstered by a heroic hymn like “no tears left to cry” or driven by a specific objective the way “thank u, next” honoured her romantic past.The record has resonance in part because it focuses on the shaky route of pleading with yourself, the begging and bargaining of recovery rather than weld great assertions out of living with tragedy.With a throbbing, raspy voice on “pov,” Grande sings, “I want you to trust me the way you do.”Every love song on Positions stems from this ache, which also serves as the album’s central theme.
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Ariana Grande’s Positions Tracklist
1. “Shut Up”
2. “34+35”
3. “Motive” feat. Doja Cat
4. “Just Like Magic”
5. “Off the Table” feat. The Weeknd
6. “Six Thirty”
7. “Safety Net” feat. Ty Dolla $ign
8. “My Hair”
9. “Nasty”
10. “West Side”
11. “Love Language”
12. “Positions”
13. “Obvious”
14. “POV”