Ariana Grande’s “Positions” offers newfound joy

By Olivia Espinoza

Ariana Grande gives us another collection of hits with her new album “Positions.” Although some songs are less memorable than others, Grande’s new R&B style is an overall hit. “Positions” also offers us a more explicitly joyous side of Grande compared to her last heartbreaking album “Thank U, Next.” The entire album is a flirtatious production with hints of soulful pop. “Positions” demonstrates the thrill and anxiety new love can bring. 

Grande felt that the release of her sixth studio album was a conflicting process. She debated whether or not it would be an appropriate time to release the album, given the pandemic and social crisis. After much consideration, however, she released “Positions” on Friday, October 30.

“You know what, everyone is aware of what’s happening– I’m aware of what’s happening– and this is also my job at the end of the day. I know that in my heart this will make a lot of people feel something good,” Grande said in a radio interview. 

Grande’s acclaimed break-up album “Thank U, Next” left  her with some big shoes to fill. It is still too early to define how much “Positions” will impact the music industry. However, 10 songs from the album have already made it on Apple Music’s Top 100 since its release just a week ago. 

Some of the magic the album has to offer is in its collaborations. The song “motive” featuring Doja Cat talks about the excitement of new love and questioning the new lover’s intentions. It has potential to be a big radio hit with its quicker paced beat and feature of another popular artist.

Other collaborations with The Weekend and Ty Dolla $ign show fans the more emotional side of finding a new romance. Both songs display the influence of Mariah Carey with their breathy romantic vocals and slower paced beat. These features tap into similar anxieties that were expressed in “Motive,” yet in a more vulnerable way. 

Many standout tracks from “Positions” have R&B sounds,  making the album different from Grande’s past releases which leaned more heavily toward pop. Particularly, “My Hair” is filled with flirty guitar strums and piano keys, complimented by her signature vocal runs. “POV” and “Love Language” have similar sounds, but in these songs Grande opens her soul to the listener with the addition of a violin that makes the listening experience feel more intimate. 

Collectively, the album gives you the feeling of being in Grande’s bedroom as she’s telling you the intimate details of her beautiful love story. From questioning if she’ll ever find love again to finding someone who loves her unconditionally, the album has the power to make you feel like you’re in love even if you’ve never been in a relationship.

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