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Turning growth into catchy songs: Ariana Grande's 'Positions'

"Positions" is Ariana Grande's latest album, and many have commented on the new album's sexual nature.  – Photo by Ariana Grande / Twitter

Ariana Grande’s latest album “Positions” is an instant chart topper. With all the songs lining up one after another on music charts the night after release, and the single "positions" at number one, it’s clear she delivered.

But what makes this album stand out among the rest? Unlike “thank u, next” and “Sweetener,” “Positions” is less about showing that Grande has found a new sound and more about her exploring the style she’s already known for. “Positions” isn’t an album reminiscing her past, but healing from it.

The album starts off with "shut up," one of my personal favorites. Right off the bat, Grande is asking listeners to leave their opinions at the door and enter the album as if they’re living in her world.

Following "shut up," "34+35" is a fun song that’s made for you to sing along! I found this true with many of the songs on her album. Grande’s skill in making songs that just get stuck in your head only gets better with each album. "nasty" and "my hair" continue this narrative.

The first feature on the album is "motive" with Doja Cat, which drastically changes the mood of the album. "motive" is much edgier that the other songs — think something you would play with your best friends before a night out.

All the features on this album stood out from the rest of her solo tracks. "off the table" featuring The Weeknd was so vulnerable, the first line being: “Will I ever love the same way again?” What I loved about "off the table" in particular is how The Weeknd and Grande mesh so perfectly. Neither of them sacrifice their music style for the song. 

Grande’s last album “thank u, next” released shortly after her breakup with Pete Davidson and the loss of her ex Mac Miller, echoing both her feeling of appreciation for her exes and having a broken heart. “Positions” is more about moving forward and how Grande is in the process of leaving behind those insecurities.

"obvious," "six thirty" and "love language" are some of the most beautiful and mature songs on the album. Grande sings about romanticizing falling in love, learning how to love someone in new ways and admitting that she is still learning what it means to love herself.

These songs remind me of the innocence in “Sweetener” and the powerful energy from “Dangerous Woman.” Grande is secure in her vocals and I love how she layers her voice and harmonizes with herself. It’s one of the classic trademarks of her songs and it’s not missing here for sure!

"just like magic" is the older sister to "successful," which premiered on the “Sweetener” album. "just like magic" is all about creating a life you love and it’s nice to hear that Grande is doing that for herself. After struggling so much with her mental health and relationships, the song reflects that Grande is growing for herself and that she's far more than her love life.

The album closes with "pov," arguably one of Grande’s best songs. This was the perfect song to close with in my opinion, as it wraps up the little world Grande created in “Positions” and mirrors the first song "shut up."

One of my favorite lyrics of the album is “I’d love to see me from your point of view,” which just encapsulates perfectly what this album is about. Grande is sharing how her past has shaped her but how she has found a new power in living outside her head.

This album is definitely made for the mainstream — it’s super catchy and oozes sex. But the intimate layers that exist underneath Grande's pop R&B (rhythm and blues) beats and high notes brings us closer to her life as it now.

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