If there are two things Ariana Grande will do, they are: create amazing music, and shine while doing it. There are not many who could endure the last couple of years she had. From experiencing a terrorist attack during her live show, to the sudden death of her ex, Mac Miller, to the ending of her budding romance with then-fiancé, Pete Davidson, Ariana has been through much under the public eye. Despite it all, she continued to maintain her grace, smile, and light creating hit album after album for the world to soak up. With her third album in 2 years, Ariana is back with her joyous, cheerful sixth studio album, Positions.
Released Friday (Oct. 30), Positions follows after Ari’s 2019 hit album, thank u, next & 2018’s Sweetener. However, unlike its predecessor, Positions exhibits a more… healed and serene (and nasty) Ariana. While still navigating her course to reaching further healing, Positions allows Ariana to be lighthearted and more upbeat. Instead of dealing with loss and pain, her focus this time around is on love, sex, and peace.
With a run time of approximately 41 minutes, Positions holds 14 songs and contains only 3 features from Ty Dolla $ign (“safety net), Doja Cat (“motive”), and The Weeknd (“off the table).” The album maintains the same themes of vulnerability seen in Grande’s previous works as Positions highlights Ariana’s fear of falling in love, re-trusting, experiencing new feelings, and her ravenous sexual appetite. The atmosphere is set on the album’s opener, “shut up.” With orchestral production, Ariana addresses critics while updating her fans with her current state of mind since her previous album. The production truly creates this quirky yet cinematic appeal.
My presence sweet and my aura bright
Diamonds good for my appetite
Guess it f*ckin’ just clicked one night
All them demons helped me see sh*t differently
So don’t be sad for me“shut up” by ariana grande
Immediately following the monumental opener, listeners are quickly greeted with the more flirty, sexual side of Ariana. Bold and blatant, Ariana gets straight to the point on the provocative “34+35.” A play on the sexual act, Ariana’s focus is simple… She wants to engage in pure relations with her partner. Infectious and upbeat, Ariana sings about both giving and receiving pleasure to her lover. This might be the most obvious and transparent she has ever been about her sexual desires. She even ends the song singing, “Means I wanna “69” with you, Aww sh*t.” This sexual bliss continues throughout the album with other records like the hazy, trap-infused “nasty” & the groovy “my hair.” Ariana puts her rightfully deserved joy on display for the entire world to see and it’s great to hear.
A personal favorite arrives at the spacy, “just like magic.” Ariana focuses on meditation, manifestation, and the law of attraction. She reflects on the abundance of accomplishments in her life. Hopeful and optimistic, Ariana’s focus is not on the wrongdoings of past friends or the critics. Instead, she maintains her light and aims her sights continuing to spread love.
Just like magic (Baby), just like magic (Oh yeah)
Middle finger to my thumb and then I snap it
Just like magic (Yeah), I’m attractive (Oh yeah)
I get everything I want ’cause I attract it (Oh)“Just Like Magic” by Ariana Grande
Another noticeable tone in the album is that of internal conflict on risking love. After several public relationships and breakups, the 27 year-old struggles both internally and externally with giving love another chance and allowing herself to be loved. “Off the table” finds Ariana questioning whether or not her heart is truly ready for love. Teaming with The Weeknd, the two create a truly moving ballad. The Weeknd assures her that he will wait for her and love her exactly how she should be loved. This undertone of uncertainty continues on the outstanding Ty Dolla $ign-assisted, “safety net.”
With their first collaboration, Ariana is again internally questioning her feelings and actions. She never expected to feel the way she does but she can’t help it. However, she’s willing to give this relationship everything despite the risks involved. Ari and Ty Dolla $ign simply create pure harmony as their voices flow together flawlessly. Reassurance shows on the smooth “six thirty.” With her silky vocals, Ariana asks her lover if he’s down for her. She wants to know if he’s all in when it comes to the relationship despite her chaotic ways. Catchy and bubbly, Ariana creates yet another anthem for the ladies. The song’s title is a play on the clock as both hands face down at the time of 6:30 (she’s a genius).
As the album nears the end, Ariana begins to assert her control On “west side,” Ariana is more demanding with her love. She knows she cannot control her feelings at this point, but she still maintains her power. Enticing and sexual she sensually sings about learning her partner’s love language on “love language.” She’s willing to do whatever necessary to keep the fuel ignited.
The album’s lead single, “positions” arrives as the 12th track. However, despite its actual positioning (ha), this track might be one of the best tracks on the entire album. Along with the visual for the track, the contagious song serves as a double entendre as Ariana sings about switching the positions for her lover both sexually and domestically. The visual displays her being the President of the United States but still maintaining her sexual charm for her lover. She shows she can be the boss in charge and still submit to her man while maintaining her power. She swoons listeners with her buttery vocals on “obvious” singing about being evidently in love. This love feels just right and she wants nothing but to preserve it.
On Positions final track, “pov,” Ariana peels back the layers to her heart even more. Heartfelt and moving, “pov” is the most vulnerable and transparent record on the album. Thankful and appreciative, Ari sings about having a partner who loves and wants her for exactly who she is. She longs to see things from their perspective to see what it is about her that makes them love her so much. In spite of her flaws, mistakes, and issues, her lover makes her feel like she’s floating. The track is one of the most beautiful songs on the album and ends Positions perfectly.
Unlike much of her recent music in the past, Positions‘ base is not trauma and loss. The album sets a new era in Ariana Grande’s life. 2019’s thank u, next stemmed from the suffering she dealt with over losing her a former love. 2018’s Sweetener saw Ariana trying to piece herself together after the awful tragic terrorist attack during her Manchester show in 2017. While continuing on the path to healing, Ariana utilizes Positions to simply tell the story of where she is currently. She’s experienced much pain at only 27. However, regardless of the pain in the past, she continues to elevate, shine, and prevail.
Positions takes that pain of loss and uses that to create a bright future for the young star. No one has a manual for life; Ups and downs occur but it is important that we continue to live. Positions allows Ariana to do just that and enjoy the present time even for a brief moment. The album also allows us to see that Ariana is truly all grown up. From beginning to end, the songs strike the core, make you want to sing, dance, feel, etc. And with each play, they only grow better like a fine wine. Positions scores an 8/10.
Top 5 Tracks from Positions:
- just like magic
- safety net
- off the table
Honorable Mentions: six thirty, 34+35, pov, west side, obvious