After the mayhem of mid-2020, Ariana Grande came to surprise fans nationwide by dropping yet another sensational studio album this past Friday.
Her new masterpiece “Positions” features 14 incredibly heartfelt and bold tracks along with guest appearances from pop stars The Weeknd, Doja Cat and Ty Dolla $ign. In her sixth studio album following the drop of “Thank U, Next” in February of 2019, Grande’s malleability as a singer as well as her vulnerability creates a rather intimate listening experience.
Perhaps her most personal and exclusive album to date, “Positions” bears no shyness in its disclosure of emotion. The album opens with the track “shut up,” one filled with angelic harmonies and delicately plucked strings. In her lyrics, Grande forcefully rejects the role of the victim that has repeatedly been placed on her from the media over the past few years.
Having gone through very traumatic experiences in the public eye, including the bombing of her Manchester show, the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller and her breakup with fiancé Pete Davidson, Grande chooses to rebel against societal labels of pity placed upon her. Hence, the opening lines of the first verse read “All them demons helped me see shit differently / So don’t be sad for me.”
Through various themes including finding inner peace and strength, “Positions” showcases Grande’s strong vocals and ability to be a marvelous storyteller through music. “Just like magic,” the fourth track on the album, is quite possibly one of the best songs overall and certainly highlights the lyrical creativity Grande continues to illustrate in her narratives. The production features on “just like magic” craft a beautiful, dreamy aura that encompasses the passion of the song.
Following the pattern of orchestral notes, “Positions” concludes with yet another iconic tune, “pov,” a bittersweet summation of Grande’s self-love journey towards complete happiness. She powerfully sings “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,” explaining that although this is the end of an album about receiving new love, this is simply the very beginning in her new relationship with herself.
Ironically enough, for an album where some of the strongest, most popular tracks are those featuring guest stars, “Positions” proves itself to be much more than an album about relying on others. As Grande continues to belt out tunes that make it to the top of the Billboard charts, “Positions” sends us the reminder that we need for a wild year like 2020: to process heartache and struggle at our own pace, but to never let it hold us back from growth and self-love.
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