Ari Positions herself above the rest

by morgan miles, staff writer
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
Ariana Grande’s new album Positions combines Grande’s stellar vocals with the varied voices of her several male collaborations such as the Weeknd and Ty Dolla Sign to create an effective and enjoyable sound experience.

Ariana Grande’s album Positions was released on Oct. 30. It’s her sixth album and features a variety of music from trap-pop to hip-hop and funk. Grande exudes confidence, maturity and shows off her range of not only vocals, but also her ability to fit in nearly any genre. 

 Lyrically, two or three songs dig a bit deeper emotionally, but I failed to encounter any lyrics significantly impactful to listen to.  Instrumentally and vocally, Grande blew each track out of the park. 

The first song is “Shut Up.” I really do want Grande to shut up during the song so I can listen to the background music instead. It’s beautiful. As an intro, I found “Shut Up” to be catchy but not a song I’d willingly go back to.

“34+35” is next, and I had no idea what Grande meant by the title of the song. To me, nothing came out of “34+35” other than my mathematical discovery that it equals 69. Ultimately, this is the beginning of the many odes to her comfort with expressing sexuality. 

I was excited for the collaboration on “Motive” with Doja Cat and pleased with the results. It’s not too soft. Grande and Doja Cat compliment each other’s energies and voices. The beat hits hard throughout the entire song. What got me excited the most was the chorus. A comment on Youtube mentioned “Motive” resembles a song you’d hear in a store like Forever 21. I agree, but it’s not pre-teen cringey – just peppy. 

“Just Like Magic” follows as an equally entertaining song. At first, the lyrics come off as cocky, but if anything I realized Grande deserves her well-earned fame. She can sing about being hot, getting everything and flipping people off while sounding pretty if she wants to.

I like The Weeknd, but can’t say I liked “Off The Table.” Probably because of the album’s sudden switch from a quick-to-slow pace. It reminded me of choralier competitions where a ballad is a requirement so one is thrown in. The lyrics were some of my favorites, though. I could connect with the lyrics: “Am I too cold, am I not nice? / Might not be quite yet healed already.” However, I disliked their voices together, hich was totally unexpected and I can’t explain why The collaboration just didn’t sound good, especially compared to the others on Positions.

“Six Thirty” was boring. Nothing special.

In “Safety Net”, Ty Dolla Sign’s vocals grabbed my attention more than The Weeknd’s,sounding so natural alongside Grande’s. In both collabs with the male artists, the two artists  sang back and forth, and I like that element. “Safety Net” is superior, though. I love when the two sing, “I’ve never been this scared before / Feelings I just can’t ignore” together. Or Grande’s, “I came to peace with my path,” which holds emotional depth in terms of her traumatic past experiences.

“My Hair” is funky and unexpected from who I’ve seen mainly as a pop artist. I feel that Grande is releasing what she enjoys – not just what songs will go on the radio.

“Nasty”’s intro makes me smile because Ariana’s laugh in the background is adorable, and her whistles are mind blowing. It’s very repetitive, so not my favorite, but serves as another ode to sexuality.

“West Side” gave me good background noise for homework. 

“Love Language” is another funky song, and it’s fun from the beginning. I felt it had the most unique variety of lyrics. Nothing felt repetitive or sounded like recurring mumble rap.

“Positions” pulled me in with the intro but kept me listening with the lyrics. Lyrics such as, “Cooking in the kitchen and I’m in the bedroom,” or, “Said boy I’m tryna meet your mama / On a Sunday,” are funny when sung in a passionate voice. I wonder if the lyrics make Grande laugh or if she was just horny when she wrote it.

“Obvious” is a nice change thematically. Grande’s singing about genuine love in conjunction with sex. Personal concerns for her mental health subsided considering she highlights aspects of a decent relationship. The longer ending was beautiful, though I’m biased towards a longer, solely instrumental finish.
“POV” is an understandably popular track on Positions. A universal message of wanting to see yourself through someone else’s point of view is admirable and applicable to listeners who view themselves insecurely. “POV” flows as a vulnerable, slow ballad with a short, snappy chorus that dissolves back into the softness. I would 100% go back to listen over and over.