Positions by Ariana Grande
It’s no secret that Ariana Grande has revolutionized traditional pop music, but recently she’s transitioned into a style more similar to that of R&B. Positions was released in October 2020 and is the third album Grande has produced in the past two years.
Positions leans even more heavily into an R&B sound than any of her other albums. It completely abandons the structure of radio-friendly pop music and classical composition.
On initial listen, the album may leave you wanting more because it is not overtly pop with a loud, upbeat sound. Upon digesting the album, though, you realize that it’s not supposed to be a pop radio album. The sound is intentionally chill and brings more focus to what she is saying.
I also made the transition this year from listening to strictly pop music to modern R&B. This album reminds me of so many of the other artists I’ve come to love, but it still holds onto her distinct Ariana feel due to her vocals. Grande perfectly blends her naturally higher vocals with a darker, deeper sound to create an amazing vibe.
This album holds a level of seriousness but simultaneously is extremely playful. Her lyrics are not as deep as some of her past albums, but that wasn’t the intention of the album. It is so apparent that Grande had fun making this album. Positions was created to show her healing and moving on from the grief discussed in her past two albums. There is something so beautiful about that.
Positions feels like Grande’s “sexual awakening album” that most female artists historically go through and is done very tastefully for being as explicit as it is. Many of the tracks are sexual, but it feels so natural and not like she’s forcing it to be something to fit an agenda. This album also explores new romance which balances out the more explicit songs and also shows her healing process.
Positions is definitely one of Grande’s most understated albums, but there is something so entrancing about how relaxed it is. I think it is Grande’s most well-rounded album and one I listen to on repeat, putting it at the top of my list for this past year.