Ariana Grande “Positions” Review

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Antonio Mosby

In Spring of 2019, Ariana Grande posted her brain on Instagram. The image highlighted regions of her brain which shows PTSD.   “That’s why her hair’s so big,” she joked, referencing a line from Mean Girls. “It’s full of trauma.”

The way she manages to balance her hardships, address their impact and attempt to heal while making a top-charting song about a panic attack has become a formula in constructing her music.

Her new album, Positions, steers away from this train of thought, introducing more Pop and R&B inspired love songs. She sings 20 seconds into the album, “So don’t be sad for me.” That statement acts as a thesis which sets the tone for this record’s lighthearted tracks. 

On Positions, grief is instilled into Grande’s attempt to process love. Musically and spiritually, much of this album expands off of ghostin, a track well received from critics and fans about attempting to find love for a new partner. “Though I wish he were here instead/Don’t want that living in your head,” she sang then, before contrasting this statement with, “We’ll get through this, we’ll get past this.” 

On the new record, the hopeful conclusion is less immediate. She is attempting to take control. The record with Ty Dolla $ign, safety net, deals with the importance of fear:  she sings, “Don’t know if I should fight or fly,”  the physiological language set over constant and murky sighs. “Will I ever love the same way again?” she cries on “off the table,” a record with The Weeknd.

On six thirty, Grande’s beautiful harmonies fade in and out, “Are you down? What’s up?”, with these lyrics asking her new lover if they can handle the weight she carries from her previous relationships.

Many of these songs flow from anxiousness and balancing the risks of diving into a new relationship. The environment lives in the transitions between tracks, evidenced by the orchestral foundation at the end of shut up, and  the synths that end obvious

“I want to trust me the way that you trust me,” Grande exclaims on pov, her voice raw and exposed. This is the root of every love song on Positions, the root of the album. It’s the urge to take the pain and make something from it, to feel safe in your own head and trust yourself to love again.

Ariana Grande’s “Positions” soars in at No. 1 on both the Billboard Global 200 and Billboard Global Excl. U.S. charts.