Ariana Grande releases new studio album

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Chloe Forbes, editor-in-chief

Ms. Ponytail doesn’t miss a beat.
Even in the midst of a pandemic and an election, she’s putting out a new album, her fourth in three years and sixth overall.
Her newest album, “Positions,” is as if the orchestral tones of “Yours Truly,” the jazzy chords of “Dangerous Woman” and the ever-so-delicate harmonies of “Sweetener” met the hard-hitting lyrics of “thank u, next” to create a new standard for pop music. The walk down Honeymoon Avenue has never been so rewarding.
The album opens with “shut up,” setting the mood for the album as she sings of her newfound maturity and self-acceptance, telling her critics to shut up overtop pizzicato plucks and cascading sweet harmonies. I imagine this to be the way Julie Andrews might tell someone to shut up as well.
The next song is “34+35,” a quiet yet empowering sexual anthem, singing of a consensual romp. While other artists are tending to lean toward an in-your-face, disco-driven rhythm, Grande croons to the tune of R&B.
This sound continues as she transitions to “motive” featuring Doja Cat. She sings of meeting someone almost too good to be true and trying to find out their underlying motive in a relationship.
Her past albums have covered life events including a terrorist bombing at one of her concerts, the overdose death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller and her broken engagement to Pete Davidson.
This album emits a cooler feeling of contentment, even as she sings of manifesting happiness. She sticks to her history in “just like magic” as she sings, “manifest it, I finessed it. Take my pen and write some love letters to heaven,” referencing the loss of Miller.
The following song, “off the table,” features the Weeknd and his slower-tempo tendencies. They sing of the fear of not being able to love another person, written after Grande lost Miller.
The sixth track is “six thirty,” a song about being “down” for another person, like the hands on a clock at 6:30. This repetitive yet refreshing break in the midst of the track list will be running through the back of your mind all day.
The next song is “safety net” featuring Ty Dolla $ign. Here she reveals what could be the question of the album – even though she’s scared of falling in love again, should she? She grapples with this thought as she prepares for love again.
This vulnerability shows in “my hair” as Grande sings of her most famous attribute, inviting someone to run their hands through her hair, set to an old-school soul vibe. It’s the song you might listen to on a rainy day, missing the touch of the one you love.
Whistle tone runs reminiscent of Grande and Miller’s “The Way” introduce the bass-induced groove of “nasty,” preaching sultry bedroom aerobics.
The steady tempo holds the album down in “west side” as Grande fixates on the playful back and forth of a relationship.
The disco-dancing, retro roller-blading pulse comes out to play in “love language,” providing an airy layering of melodies on top of a fast-paced tempo.
She mentions her “baggage” for the first time in “love language,” stating “leave my baggage at the door, I’ll claim you mine, all mine.” The second time appears in “pov” when she sings, “all my baggage waitin’, safely, and if my eyes deceive me, won’t let them stray too far away,” paying homage to her song “ghostin” from a previous album when she said, “I’m a girl with a whole lot of baggage.” The song references her emotional trauma come to light and now sings about it with acceptance in a new, matured tone.
By this time, fans are ready for the album’s hit-single “positions.” It flaunts Grande’s versatility with lyrics “Boy I wanna meet your momma on a Sunday and make a lotta love on a Monday,” exploring the theme of sexuality in a safe and comfortable space.
Debuted already, the music video also hints at switching political positions, coming soon after Grande endorsed Joe Biden for the 2020 presidential election.
Next to last, “obvious” is another song that counteracts her past albums stand-outs. “Positions’” music although solid, is still not what I would call mundane. The album is held down by powerful ballads with spikes of excitement, bringing the focus to her lyrics as opposed to the rest of her discography.
The album closes out with the power-ballad “pov.” Grande is a powerhouse as she belts out lyrics about seeing and accepting herself the way her loved ones do, singing “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.”
The emotionally fueled song brings the album to its climax and slowly back down as she sings the last chorus in a fading whistle tone, bringing the 47-minute work of art to a close.
And as much as I’d love to listen to the album over and over again, there is so much to absorb lyrically that my emotions don’t have that ability. You don’t sit in front of a painting for hours trying to analyze every single stroke. Instead you admire it over time, finding something to cherish each time you see it.
This Monet proves to be a delicacy to those familiar with Grande’s past discography, introducing a new era of AG.