The unapologetic honesty of “Positions”: Ariana Grande’s latest studio album


Photo Courtesy/ YouTube Ariana Grande

The wait is over –– Ariana Grande’s sixth studio album “Positions” is out, just two weeks after the singer first announced it. “Positions” is her third album release in the last two years, preceded by the albums “thank u, next” and “Sweetener.” However, outside of her “Rain On Me” and “stuck with u” collaborations with Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber and performance at the Grammy Awards, Grande has remained quiet throughout most of 2020. 

On Oct. 14, she tweeted “[I] can’t wait to give u my album this month,” which led to speculation and fan theories surrounding the new project. Grande released the title single and music video on Oct. 23 after displaying a countdown on her website. The music video imagines what life would look like if Grande were president, with looks inspired by the late Jackie Kennedy (including Jennedy’s iconic pearls and pillbox hat). Although Grande announced “Positions” just 16 days before its release, the album was highly anticipated among fans and music enthusiasts alike.

“Positions” is a departure from Grande’s traditional musical style of dance pop, with mature lyrics and distinct R&B instrumentals. The album includes collaborations from R&B and hip-hop artists like the Weeknd (“off the table”), Doja Cat (“motive”) and Ty Dolla $ign (“safety net”). Like her previous work, “Positions” is inspired by her highly publicized relationships, which gives fans an even closer look into the singer’s personal life. 

On the song “west side,”Grande sings “I don’t wanna think too much, I just wanna feel.” This lyric is symbolic of the rest of “Positions.” Throughout the album, Grande sings about topics such as the pressure of new love and healing from toxic relationships. On the opening track “shut up,” Grande sings “all them demons helped me see s— differently / So don’t be sad for me.” Grande’s insight into her past relationships is a more mature account of the Pete Davidson breakup that inspired “thank u,next,” a difference that shows the singer’s growth as an artist.

In addition to Grande’s new sound, “Positions” is different from her previous albums because the songs lack true star power. For example, “thank u, next” was filled with several standout tracks that made a notable impact on pop culture (including popular singles “7 rings” and the title track “thank u, next”). However, none of the songs on “Positions” seem to have the same reach as her previous work. Similar melodies and pacing in all of the tracks make them blend together and cause them to lack the potential to be as popular as her previous singles. Although this might be a dealbreaker for lesser-known artists, Grande’s unapologetic and personal lyrics allow this album to resonate with her large fanbase in ways that might not occur with the general public.

Despite the short amount of promotion before its release, “Positions” seems to be a hit among Grande’s fanbase. Although “Positions” is a retreat from the musical style that made Grande famous, her new sense of sound and maturity allows her to connect with her audience on a more personal level. All in all, Grande’s signature vocals and star-studded features make “Positions” an enjoyable listen.

“Positions” is available for streaming on all major music platforms now.