RELEASED 30TH OCTOBER 2020
Favourite track: safety net
The production of this album is great, her vocals are THERE and she definitely presents a more ‘grown’ version of herself with these tracks only hinted at in her previous albums.
So Ariana Grande has dropped yet another album which everyone on social media has been buzzing about since it’s release so I just had to review it as I’ve become such a fan of her music, loving her last two albums Sweetener and thank u, next so much. I think she’s really grown into the female Pop icon of this generation and her brand has only continued to develop as she gets more daring and honest in her music. I’m sure we’ve all seen the memes about how she transforms every album which is often very much reflective of her personal life. Positions is a 14-track album and the cover art shows a green-tinted image of Ariana donning a new 60s Jackie Kennedy-esque hairstyle which makes a change from her classic high pony-tail that she’s become known for.
The first track ‘shut up’ opens with a sharp string solo and then stops to bring in her vocals accompanied by plucked strings and then staccato style strings with vocal harmonies. I think she says “shut up” in the most angelic way with riffs and layering – that’s one way to go about it. This one is a great one for the haters or critics as she questions how they’re spending their time and basically, why they’re so pressed. It then goes into this dreamy orchestral piece which is stunning but then slows down into a distorted version of it. ‘34+35’ is such a playful track (just add up the numbers) with a RnB style beat and flow along with vocal harmonies and layers. It’s catchy and will have you moving. It’s got this super feminine feel to it but she almost begins to rap in places which is so unexpected but it works. Doja Cat features on ‘motive’ which has a 80s Disco vocal structure in the chorus but the beat is more of a light House style which slows down and becomes sexy AF in the chorus. Doja Cat’s verse compliments it all and adds that playful, bad bitch vibe to the track.
‘just like magic’ opens with this kind of up-beat video-game FX and then a strong bassline and a Trap beat. This one is about how she manifests and attracts things she wants and the chorus is sooo catchy. I love the vocal work she does in the background too. ‘off the table’ opens dramatically and cinematically (it is no surprise that The Weeknd features on this one). It’s slow and honest as she confronts her emotions and approach to love based on what has happened to her. I love the slow strings and synths in the background that make this song so calming and beautiful. The Weeknd carries his weight in this song, vocally matching her and complimenting it offering the male perspective in this sad love song. ‘six thirty’ is a cute song with strings, quirky FX, lots of vocal harmonies and a catchy chorus. Ty Dolla $ign collabs with her on ‘safety net’ which opens with vocal FX, a good bassline and a solid beat that has a World music feel. It builds gradually and I love the flow of this song. It’s atmospheric and the rap element just worksss. I really love this song.
‘my hair’ has this Funk synth and vocal structure. It oozes a 60s/70s sound. The brass instruments and slower beat only add to this. Her whistle notes here are something else – I couldn’t quite believe she is singing the melody in whistle tone. They are also present in the opening of ‘nasty’ which has a RnB structure to it, heavy bass bounce and damn Ari is really out here talking about sex and “pussy” like this??? I’m kind of here for it to be honest. It’s got such an atmospheric, chaotic feel to it with so much going on in the background but this constant magical FX throughout. ‘west side’ has a very Summer Walker RnB vocal going on and I like how the beat comes in subtly and to allow for her voice to shine here.
‘love language’ opens with another retro Funk style with piano, strings, bassline and a drum-kit beat. The pace is there, you can dance to it and yet it’s something I think would work so well in a casino I don’t know why. It has a cinematic style that I really like. It’s another very catchy one and probably my other favourite of this album. ‘positions’ opens with plucked strings and then a harder beat and she sings about how she’s going to be “switching in positions for you”. This is the hit song from the album as I’ve definitely heard it on Instagram and promo for the album. ‘obvious’ has a very RnB sound to it with a slow, sexy beat and vocal. She sing/raps fast in some of her verses and then changes it up for the chorus to add that sass. The final track ‘pov’ opens with light muted xylophone synth sounds and then the sound of running water as she sings meaningfully and I LOVE the way she delivers this song. It’s just so romantic, sweet and vulnerable.
I think you can definitely listen to this one when you’re having a girls night, when you’re getting ready or just something you listen to when you’re on your way somewhere. It’s varied and has some great dancy, playful tracks but she does throw in one or two emotional, raw tracks so it’s got a bit of everything.