“Positions” Album Review: Miss Grande’s New Era

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Kayla Curtis-Evans

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Ariana Grande stunned fans with her sixth studio album, Positions, showing a carefree, playful side of her that was there all along but was always stifled by her past traumas. Miss Grande is without a doubt today’s princess of pop; she broke records previously held by none other than The Beatles and continues to top the Billboard charts with every new album release. But even the life of a princess is not picture perfect. 

Grande has dealt with a lot throughout her career. She lived through a deadly terrorist attack at one of her own concerts; broke off her engagement with “Saturday Night Live” star Pete Davidson in the public eye; and publicly experienced a traumatic loss with the passing of Mac Miller, her ex-boyfriend and long-time friend. Things with the potential to completely shatter any person’s life only motivated Grande. 

She channeled her anger, grief, sadness, and longing into two successful albums, “Sweetener” and “thank u, next.” “Sweetener” came about when Grande’s fling with Pete Davidson began. He was the light at the end of her tunnel. “Sweetener” features some brooding melodies — characteristics of her mental struggles — but it also includes some light-hearted riffs, indicative of her newfound happiness. 

The Sweetener era was short-lived, as Grande and Davidson called off their engagement less than five months later. During this time, Grande also learned of Mac Miller’s death. On thank u, next, Grande’s fifth studio album, she replaced some of the magical, love-drunk melodies that Sweetener possessed with some slower songs that conveyed her anguish for love loss. If Sweetener, thank u, next, and Positions are all markers of Grande’s emotional journey through recovery, then Sweetener is serendipity, thank u, next is healing, and Positions is celebration. Grande now seems as happy as ever and Positions debuted at number one on Billboard’s Hot 100. 

Grande’s departure from somber breakup to self-empowering lyrics seems to be a reflection of her improving mental health and a signal of an artist who is becoming more comfortable in her own skin. Positions gifted us with some racy lyrics and experimental R&B runs, showing us that Grande is more than reassured in her relationships, career, sexuality — and most of all, herself.

“Grande’s departure from somber breakup to self-empowering lyrics seems to be a reflection of her improving mental health, and also a signal of an artist who is becoming more comfortable in her own skin.”

Since she is entering a new era in her life, it only makes sense that she became more explorative in her discography as well. The slower beats and R&B influence included in this album are a new style for Grande — but with a voice like hers, she can tackle anything. 

The album also includes features by The Weeknd, Doja Cat, and Ty Dolla $ign. Even though Grande gave her fans a new sound, she still made sure to include her classic nightclub numbers that you just can’t help but dance along.

To break things down even further, The Bottom Line included some standout songs from Positions that are sure to be fan favorites. 

Coming in hot at number one in the rankings is the album’s namesake song, “positions.” This song was the first single released from the album and it did not disappoint. The experimental R&B sound Grande is going for is very evident in this catchy tune.  

At number two is “34+35,” a fun song to sing in the shower with a clever explicit message (34 + 35 equals ?). Yeah, she really went for it on that one. 

“The slower beats and R&B influence included in this album are a new style for Grande — but with a voice like hers she can tackle anything.”

At number three is the subdued, slowed down little sister of “34 + 35″: “nasty.” This song is equally sex-positive but features some deeper bass, making it less bubblegum-pop and more hip-hop inspired.

At number four is an inspirational pop track titled, “just like magic.” This song follows Grande’s traditional pop tendencies and the lyrics are likely linked to her newfound positivity. Grande shows listeners that she has no space for negativity in her life singing, “Good karma, my aesthetic / Keep my conscience clear that’s why I’m so magnetic.” 

Lastly, ranking at number five, is the album’s opener, “shut up.” Grande flexed her creative muscle in this song showing-off her incredibly wide range while intricate strings flutter in the background.

Overall, this album is a refreshing addition to Ariana Grande’s catalogue of impressive albums. She seems to top herself with every new release, leaving fans everywhere excited to see what comes next.

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