Written by Reem Abumeri
A review of the recent “Positions” album released by Ariana Grande.
On October 30, 2020 (the day before reaching the best time of the year!), I woke up to an immense amount of messages, as it was my birthday. Never in my life had I forgotten my birthday; yet this year has done nothing but distract me and others from having a positive mental state. Fortunately for me, waking up, showered with love by friends and family was the perfect way to start my day; but what came next would make things even more exciting…
“Positions (the album) is out now,” posted on Ariana Grande’s social media made my heart glow! The Positions album was a moment that redefined what kind of music we, as listeners, should expect from the pop superstar. Grande explained in a recent interview on the Zach Sang Show that she questioned whether now was the right time to release an album, but she decided that was the exact reason why she should release an album. Music is medicine to the soul, and not only was the news of her album fresh and positive, but the album itself broke records. The title track of “Positions” is her fifth number one single, extending her record for the most number one debuts, and the most number one singles in 2020. The album consists of 14 tracks that take listeners through an emotional roller coaster as Grande shares personal emotions on her lost relationships, while creating an empowering feeling as she discusses sex.
The tracks include:
motive (feat. Doja Cat)
just like magic
off the table (feat. The Weeknd)
safety net (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)
Grande further explained her process with songwriting as more sporadic than consistently working on one song at a time. Additionally, she began writing all songs in the album with a heavy focus on strings. She would bounce ideas off her co-writer, sharing different tracks of string melodies. In songs such as “shut up”, “love language,” “positions,” and “34+35” strings are featured heavily, whether with slimy chords that almost crunch from how perfectly lined up they are, or a quick plucking of string that urges us to dance. As Grande continues to push out one successful album after another, the style of her music has evolved.
Whether you have a professional background with the production of music or are an average teen hearing one of the album’s songs on the radio, you can agree that this album is a stylistic shift. Beginning her music career starring in the musical “13” on Broadway, her musical training has evolved as she produced albums targeting younger crowds (“Yours Truly” in 2013 and “My Everything” in 2014), has become more confident and vulnerable, (“Dangerous Woman” in 2016, “Sweetener” in 2018, and “thank u, next in 2019), and ventured beyond her pop roots into more R&B territory. Although the “Dangerous Woman” album will always be my favorite Ariana Grande album, I am loving the jam sessions I’ve been having thanks to her latest album.