Review: Ariana Grande’s ‘Positions’

Grande seeks long-term commitment and continued pop stardom on her new album.

by Meg Bishop, Arts and Entertainment Reporter

Ariana Grande has returned yet again with her boisterous vocals and pop backbeats. Grande released her newest album, “Positions,” on Oct. 30. The album’s hit single and title track, “positions” crowned Grande as the first artist in history to debut five songs at No. 1 on Billboard’s The Hot 100 chart.

Grande chose to go a different route with this new project. On it, she pleads to settle down after experiencing a tumultuous love life in recent years. Grande and Mac Miller ended their two year relationship in 2018, with Miller passing away shortly after. In 2019, Grande and Pete Davidson broke off their engagement after about five months. This album is a stark contrast from her 2019 project “thank u, next,” which featured tracks like “ghostin” and “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored.”

The album kicks off with the song “shut up.” Her vocals are strong and smooth, comparable to Mariah Carey’s. Surprisingly for the tone of its lyrics — Grande continuously saying “shut up” and complaining about the public’s negativity toward her fame — the song carries a dreamy orchestral background.

Right after “shut up” comes “34+35.” It acts as an intro to the album’s message about her need for genuine affection and the dedication she would bring to her partner’s life. It’s another one of Grande’s signature pop-style ballads. Although the song is an innuendo for sex, the word “wifey” is dropped halfway through the song. Later in the song she says,

“But who’s counting the time/
When we got it for life.”

The album’s fifth track, “off the table,” features The Weeknd and has all the R&B flair one would expect from a track with the Canadian artist. In the song Grande worries whether she will love again as deeply as she has in her past.

“If you let me in your arms/
If you let me in your heart/
I don’t think that love’s completely off the table.”

On “positions,” the album’s 12th track, all of the lyrics center around her stepping into the role of homemaker.

“Switchin’ the positions for you/
Cookin’ in the kitchen, and I’m in the bedroom/
I’m in the Olympics, way I’m jumping through hoops/
Know my love infinite, nothin’ I wouldn’t do.”

As Grande’s sound continues to evolve further into the R&B spectrum, she continues to master topics like femininity, sex and romance. On “positions” the mix of dramatic emotions, relatable lyrics and dance-pop beats come together to create a project that maintains Grande’s trajectory to stardom.

Grade: B