Ariana Grande’s “Positions” album proves to be “Just Like Magic”


Dave Myers

Ariana Grande’s new album “Positions” takes on a different vocal and production style than her previous work. A neutral/pastel color palette is highlighted in the music videos for her two singles, “Positions” and “34+35”.

“Dangerous Woman”, “Thank U, Next”, “Sweetener” and now “Positions.” Friday, Oct. 30, Ariana Grande released another stunning album with a total of 14 tracks two of them as singles for millions of fans around the world. 

A week before the release of the complete album, the “Positions” music video dropped, immediately gaining millions of views and glowing reviews. However, the real surprise would come with the release of the rest of the album. Featuring R&B style production, unapologetically sensual lyrics and matured vocals, “Positions” drastically differs from any of Grande’s previous albums, which generally featured sweet lyrics and cutesy production.

“On her sixth studio release, her third in three years, Grande emerges with a decidedly mature and distinct R&B sound,” LaTesha Harris from NPR writes. “Early releases found the singer clumsily balancing sweet innocence with a budding sensuality, but ‘Positions’ is fearless and unapologetic.”

Regardless of the drastic change in Grande’s style, fans are not disappointed in the slightest. Many agree that the R&B sound fits Grande’s voice well and decided that if her music continued to evolve in this direction, they would happily embrace it.

“I really liked her more R&B sound,” Vance Gieselmann (12) said. “I like all her sounds but I think this one was a little bit different for her, and it wasn’t really what I was expecting but I liked it.”

Of the 14 songs in the album, “Just Like Magic”, “My Hair” and “Love Language” have to be my favorites. I admire the vocal range Grande displays in all three of these songs along with production that enhances her vocals and allows them to sound noticeably different than the other tracks. Fan favorite “Pov” and “Off the Table” (featuring The Weeknd) are also songs that stand out due to Grande’s impressive vocals and in the case of “Off the Table” a successful collaboration.

“‘Off the Table’ [is one of my favorites because] she’s went through a lot of heartbreak and a lot of personal troubles, and I think she puts that in her lyrics,” Gahana Nagireddy (11) said. “Also, her vocals are just so good.”

However, there are a few songs that I did not enjoy as much. Although “Shut Up” features vibrant strings and a catchy beat in the chorus, the lyrics are shallow throughout, and the chorus is mostly digital with little time where Grande can truly show off her voice. “Motive” (featuring Doja Cat) was also not a favorite of mine. While the trap production was well done and Grande’s part was enjoyable, the collaboration with Doja Cat did not sit right with me due to the difference in her musicality from Grande. This contrast in style did not play off well and led to Doja’s verse feeling forced into the song.

“I don’t like the collaboration,” Kara Taylor (12) said. “I think Doja’s voice is too strong, and I think it had the potential to be a really good song but Doja ruined it for me. Don’t get me wrong, Doja Cat is a good artist, but it didn’t fit right in [‘Motive’].”

Grande’s “Positions” is a unique album that deserves its positive reception. The clever, playful lyrics throughout the album are supported with phenomenal vocals and production that make for an enjoyable listen and allow you to truly experience Ariana Grande.

“I feel like this album was a really personal album that she just released to us,” Harini Gopi (10) said. “She didn’t write it for us. She was talking about herself and decided to release it.”