Released on October 30th, Ari’s sixth studio album has been long awaited by fans and is breaking records in both her career and the music industry.
Following the success of her last two albums “Sweetener” (2018) and “Thank U, Next” (2019), Grande’s new album stays authentic to her body of music while incorporating more of an R&B feel and incredible vocals, as well as a romantic and contemplative theme.
Fans are especially thrilled over her hit single “positions” after anxiously waiting for months ever since it was reported in April that Grande was working on new music. While she announced in May during an interview with Zane Lowe on his Apple Music Beats 1 Show that she had recorded a song with Doja Cat, she also stated that she would not release an album during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Nonetheless, she shared on social media on October 14th that her music would actually come out later that month. Grande then released her hit single “positions” on October 23rd, and the complete “positions” album of fourteen tracks a week later, on October 30th.
The studio effort made No.1 on the Billboard 200 chart, making Grande the fastest female artist to collect three number one studio albums in a single decade. The title track “positions” debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her fifth number one single in the U.S. and expanding her record of being the first artist to have five number one debut singles on the chart.
Doja Cat, the Weeknd, and Ty Dolla Sign all make guest appearances in this album.
The opening track, “shut up”, in which Grande tells off people who are too concerned with how she spends her time, is similar to the intros of her other albums. It is one of the catchiest songs on the album and carries an upbeat energy, similar to “just like magic”.
In the second song, “34+35”, Grande uses more suggestive lyrics, breaking barriers and singing openly about intimacy, an often taboo topic. “nasty” also embraces the same sense of transparency about mature themes.
“Motive”, featuring Doja Cat, is a dance-pop song inspired by the struggle of figuring out someone’s intentions with you. This is her first ever collaboration with Doja Cat, which fans of the two were very excited about.
According to PopBuzz, fans suspect that the ballad “Off the Table” is about the singer’s late boyfriend, Mac Miller, though the artist has not confirmed this. Grande wonders if she will “ever love the same way again”, and the Weeknd sings as someone who is willing to wait for her. Some believe that the Weeknd’s perspective in the track is based on her current boyfriend, Dalton Gomez.
“positions” and “pov” make references to some of her past work, while simultaneously playing a role in the storyline of both personal and professional growth displayed in the album. The “positions” official music video was released on October 23rd and showcases Grande as the President, topically set in her version of the White House.
Critics and fans alike say that Ty Dolla Sign fits perfectly into “safety net”, a contemplative slow jam, only complaining that it doesn’t last longer.
“my hair” is different from other tracks on the album in that it features a part of Grande’s personal style: her hair; many know that she is recognized for her iconic high ponytail. She sings the lyrics that reassure someone that it is okay to touch her hair with extreme vocal range. The last repetition of the chorus is sung entirely in whistle notes.
Overall, listeners are enchanted by “positions”, charmed by the emotional story line throughout the tracks, Grande’s vocal ability, and authenticity to the artist’s specific sound as well as incorporation of other genres. The release is huge for the music industry, and it is exciting to see what Ariana Grande and other artists will come up with next.