For the third consecutive year, Ariana Grande has released yet another studio album, this one titled ‘Positions’. She is one of many artists taking advantage of quarantine to make new art and content. Unfortunately though, I feel like a lot of artists had that pressure to provide or to feel like they need to give us a new project. Let me get it out of the way and say that I actually liked Positions but that couldn’t help but pop into my head when listening to this album and part of the reason why is because it feels rushed.
Whenever Ariana Grande releases a new album, it feels like an event. She is a global pop icon and so a lot of people will be listening. She changes her look and sound for each era and makes it feel special. Despite loving half of ‘Sweetener’, I will look back on that era with fondness because it was such an iconic era. From the album itself to the singles to the music videos and even the visual approach to it all, it was all about establishing how different this era was. Even the follow-up ‘thank u, next’, one of my favourite albums of all time had a distinct sound and look to it. It sounded new and exciting and it changed the aesthetic completely from the previous album. Despite being released only six months apart, they contrast each other. When it comes to ‘Positions’, it didn’t feel like an event and it wasn’t made to sound like something that you have to listen to. While Grande changed her entire aesthetic wonderfully, the album itself sounds dull in comparison to her other work. That being said, it doesn’t stop her from making some amazing tracks.
The way I would describe Positions is that it has the softness and elegant nature of ‘thank u, next’ but it suffers from the same problems that ‘Sweetener’ had. If you had to ask me what my thoughts on the latter are, I would tell you I absolutely love half of it and ignore the other. With ‘Positions’ I can safely say that the half that I don’t like is actually not bad it just doesn’t exciting or new, it’s all very dull and inspired which is an incredible shame because lyrically and vocally, these could have been amazing. However the half that I do like, I like a lot. If ‘Positions’, the album were to be a six to seven song EP with the same concept and sound and everything I would have been obsessed. It wouldn’t have been the next big album from her because it would’ve been a smaller scale project. This is further proved by how dispensable the other songs feel.
Not to compare artists in the slightest but I feel like ever since Taylor Swift released ‘folklore’, arguably the biggest album of 2020, it feels like every artist wants to hop on that train and release something. Despite having some truly amazing songs in there, Positions feels like leftovers from ‘Sweetener’ and ‘thank u, next’. I’m not gonna lie, I got bored during a couple songs because I’ve heard it before. There was nothing keeping my attention. Tracks like ‘Love Language’, ‘Shut Up’, ‘West Side’ and ‘six thirty’ feel like Sweetener rejects. Even down to the decisions like the jarring and unnecessary ending to ‘Love Language’. It just felt very odd comparing it to the other half of the album which is such an improvement.
The sound from the best half of ‘Positions’ is still not worthy enough for a whole album. Yes, the songs sound great and I will definitely be listening to them for a while but I can’t lie and say I would listen to a twelve song album with that production. Again, I feel like if she slapped ‘Stuck with U’ along with the best songs from this album, she would have a fanstastic EP. Tracks like ‘off the table’, ‘safety net’ and ‘pov’ sound incredible and in line with ‘Stuck with U’ which is why it surprises me that the other half sounds so different. Let’s be real vocally, they all sound amazing. Lyrically I enjoyed most of them, they have a ton of personality to them. It’s only the musical aspect where everything got complicated.
Overall I definitely wouldn’t call this a bad album, this is by no means bad. However I would go so far as to say that it can be very dull and uninspired at times. It feels rushed and put together without the maximum effort and I feel like if they cut this album in half and put more effort into making a cohesive EP, it would’ve been a far better time. That being said with the finished product that we got, it’s quite literally a mixed bag. I will definitely be streaming that good half though!
Ranking of Songs:
2. safety net (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)
3. off the table (with The Weeknd)
4. just like magic
5. my hair
8. shut up
9. motive (with Doja Cat)
10. love language
11. six thirthy
14. west side
‘Positions’ is available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music and Youtube Music.
thumbnail photo provided by @lovinlockscren on twitter!