Grande ventures a new chapter full of love and growth in Positions

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JPN PixxShooter-XLVII | Flickr

Angelica Tejada

Ariana Grande gave a peek into her healing journey and unapologetically tells the world that she’s head over heels in love on her sixth studio album Positions.

Filled with female-empowerment, love and sex anthems, Positions flows organically mimicking a modern love story — it’s all fun and games until feelings get involved.

The highly anticipated and semi-surprise album was released on Oct. 30, just two weeks after Grande announced the news on Twitter.

“I can’t wait to give u my album this month,” Grande tweeted.

Grande released the lead single and title track “positions” non-coincidentally on the same night as the final 2020 presidential debate.

In the song’s music video, Grande is the president of the United States and her diverse and mostly women-led cabinet contrasts with what the inside of the White House looks like right now.

The song “positions” speaks to how versatile women can be, “Switchin’ them positions for you /

Cookin’ in the kitchen and I’m in the bedroom,” Grande sings.

Having multiple titles is not new for Grande as she’s credited on the album not only as the primary artist but also as an engineer, producer, writer and vocal arranger on various tracks.

This is the first time Grande’s collaborated with hip-hop producer London On Da Track, who introduces R&B and trap beats that calls back to Grande’s previous albums Sweetener and thank u, next.

Canadian producer Murda Beatz is also new to Grande’s musical record and produced the third track on the album “motive,” which features singer and rapper Doja Cat.

Doja Cat is a perfect feature on this groovy track, adding her spin with raspy rhythms that showcases her ability to hop on any record and make it her own.

Grande’s lyrics center around understanding her partner’s motives, whether they’re here to stay or play games. Even further down the album on “six thirty,” she wants to know straight up, “Are you down? / What’s up?”

In an interview with radio host Zach Sang, Grande spoke on the making of the pop diva track, which isn’t a normal sound for Murda Beatz who’s produced numerous songs for rappers Drake, Travis Scott and hip-hop trio Migos.

“I think it’s so cool that someone like him made that beat you know,” Grande said. “I think it’s always so exciting you push each other to try new things and someone can push you and you can push them, and it makes something refreshing.”

The song aligns with another track on the album titled “love language,” which takes the listener back a few decades to a disco moment.

“My presence sweet and my aura bright,” is the first line Grande sings on the album’s opening song “shut up.”

With Cinderella-esque orchestral strings background, Grande expresses that she doesn’t want pity for her traumatic past but rather wants the listener to just sit back and listen to what she has to say.

The album is its own project, while certain songs reminisce on Grande’s previous work, it’s unique in sound and shows maturity.

Sex is a large theme throughout the album, which isn’t much of a surprise considering past Grande songs like “Side to Side,” “make up” and “Everyday.”

However, with the second track on the album, “34+35,” one can just do the math.

Grande doesn’t hold back. The track opens up with, “You might think I’m crazy / The way I’ve been cravin’ / If I put it quite plainly / Just gimme them babies.”

Tracks like “nasty” and “my hair” also fall under the same umbrella, Grande gets intimate in a giddy yet grown-up way.

Grande’s impeccable vocals do not fail, and she reassures listeners that she can still hit those Mariah Carey high notes.

Surprise whistle and high notes are sprinkled throughout the album’s tracks, but she showed off and showed out on “my hair” by singing the last chorus entirely in a whistle tone register.

On “just like magic” the fourth track on the album, Grande proudly introduces the Law of Attraction philosophy into her life. She’s manifested this present state, one where she’s happy with herself and those around her.

Like a superpower, Grande sings, “Just like magic / just like magic / Middle finger to my thumb and then I snap it / Just like magic / I’m attractive / I get everything I want ’cause I attract it.”

The tone of Positions contrasts with her previous album thank u, next.

Positions is bright and airy but doesn’t fail to pull at the heart-strings as Grande becomes vulnerable with fears of falling in love again.

Grande, now 27, is at a new stage of her life where she’s in love with her real estate agent boyfriend Dalton Gomez and continuing her self-growth journey.

In her previous albums, she addresses her traumatic past like the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing, the death of her ex-boyfriend rapper Mac Miller and engagement break-off with comedian Pete Davidson.

Vulnerability and transparency remain a strong component of Grande’s music. On the track “safety net” featuring singer Ty Dolla $ign, she admits to falling in love with her heart on her sleeve only to getting hurt again by someone she’s in love with.

Grande also references back to her song “in my head,” with the line “Is it real this time or is it in my head?” Calling back to the tripped deception of her partner at the time, where she pictured him as someone he was not.

The Weeknd and Grande meet again on the track “off the table,” a beautiful ballad composed of two astonishing vocalists. With heavy drums and a delayed beginning, the suspense swallows the listener and brings them into a state of the unknown.

Grande questions her ability to love again, “If I can’t have you, is love completely off the table?,” she sings. “If you let me in your heart / I don’t think that love’s completely off the table,” The Weeknd sings in response to Grande in his verse as he plays the part of her reassuring partner.

Getting past the fear of love and towards the final tracks of the album, Grande makes it clear to her partner that he’s the one in the track “obvious.”

When Grande presents herself in this state of infatuation it calls back to Sweetener where Grande is on the brighter side of mentality.

The last track on the album “pov” adds a new perspective to love that traditional love songs haven’t touched upon.

An intimate ballad that sounds like it’s just meant for her partner to listen to, capturing the intensity of love that she’s receiving from him — one that she’d like to feel for herself one day.

“I wanna love me / The way that you love me / Ooh, for all of my pretty and all of my ugly too / I’d love to see me from your point of view,” Grande sings.

Sonically, it’s the best song of the album with the sweet relaxing melody, which is then built upon percussion and strings. Her vocals on the last chorus hit a rasp tone that is new for Grande that conveys the raw meaning behind the song.

Grande continues to show her range as an artist with Positions and it only adds to her successful career.