Sunday, October 1, 2023

Album review: Ariana Grande is all grown-up on “Positions”


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Photo Courtesy of Consequence of Sound

Story by Peyton Tranas/Contributing Writer

If you had not already separated Ariana Grande’s solo music career from her days at Nickelodeon, she has now made it very clear that she is no longer that red-haired girl with a giggly, high pitched voice.

On Friday, Grande released her sixth studio album “Positions.” Having just announced the album a little over a week ago, it came as a pleasant surprise to her fans. Grande released the first single, “positions,” last week. The 14 track album is full of collaborations and rather explicit material.

The album begins with the song “shut up.” The message of the song is relatively clear: people need to mind their own business.

One outstanding difference “Positions” has compared to her previous albums is that well over half the songs have one central theme: sex. Tracks such as “34 + 35,” “nasty,” “west side” and “love language” are geared towards those who are 18+. Grande is not afraid to tell her partners exactly what she wants, and she’s not hiding that from her fans either.

There are three collaborations on this album. Past collaborator The Weeknd joined Grande on “off the table,” a well-written breakup song from the perspective of both parties.

Within the next month or so, I would not be surprised if, while scrolling through the For You Page on TikTok, you will hear many different songs from “Positions.” “Motive” featuring Doja Cat is a shoo-in for the next TikTok dance craze with its club-like beat.

Grande’s third collaboration, “safety net,” features Ty Dolla $ign. Grande sings about her past of having difficult relationships but gaining feelings for someone new. The two sing about the fear of starting a new relationship. “Is it real this time or is it in my head,” is a thought nearly everyone has had at the beginning of a new relationship.

Fans know that Grande had a devastating year in 2018. She suffered heartbreak and loss many times over, including the death of her ex-boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller. Grande has several hints towards Miller on her new album. In “just like magic,” Grande sings, “take my pen and write some love letters to heaven.”

Her album closer, “pov,” is a perfectly encapsulated love song in reference to her current boyfriend. Grande sings about what many who have anxiety and self-esteem issues worry about when they are in new relationships. “I wanna love me (Ooh). The way that you love me (Ooh). Ooh, for all of my pretty. And all of my ugly too. I’d love to see me from your point of view.”

While I personally am still an advocate for “thank u, next” as Grande’s best album, “Positions” is a well-developed follow-up. Fans are seemingly very impressed with her sixth album, with all 14 tracks being the top 14 songs on Spotify’s United States Top 50 chart. If you are looking for a more family-friendly sound from Grande, I recommend going back and listening to her first two albums. However, if you have grown up with Grande and are now into your early adulthood, “Positions” may be the album for you.


To contact Lifestyles Editor Brandon Black, email

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