Ariana Grande: “Positions” Review
November 16, 2020
Ariana’s sixth studio album, “Positions”, has already topped the charts. It’s her fifth album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200. Her title track of the same name also debuted at No. 1. Her chart achievements come only a year after she made history as the first solo artist to hold the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 spots simultaneously on the Billboard Top 100, a feat only ever achieved before by the Beatles.
“I think this album of Ariana’s is more upbeat than some of her past albums but it still is one of my fav albums of hers,” says Colleen Buckhorn (‘23). “Because of Covid, I have definitely had more time to listen to the songs and appreciate the lyrics.”
“For the overall album,” says junior Claire Wong, “I very much enjoy it. I don’t usually listen to a whole album a singer releases… I’m glad to see Ariana Grande listening to something different.”
Alyssa Ellis (‘22) says, “Positions is definitely one of Ariana’s best albums so far. I began to like her music much more after hearing positions.”
Although her last track on the album, “pov” is not to be overlooked. A slow, powerful song, “pov” explores finally entering a stable relationship, seemingly referring to her new romance with real estate agent Dalton Gomez. The song is about how the recipient sees Grande from a different point of view than she can. She sings, “I wanna love me, the way that you love me”, clearly hinting that the song’s inspiration is helping her find herself again She discusses jumping into the relationship head-first saying, “and if my eyes deceive me, won’t let them stray too far” before transitioning to some of her famously high vocals. The song is beautifully sung and by far her best song on the album.
“My favorite song from the album is pov. It’s such a beautiful close to the album and really shows how much Ariana has grown through all her hardships,” says sophomore Ellie Martinez. “I really love the water/rain sounds and the calm feeling of it!”
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The lyrics (not to mention the fantastic vocals on both Grande’s and The Weeknd’s parts) are by far what makes “off the table” so remarkable. Grande’s last breakup with her ex-boyfriend Pete Davidson was nothing short of public, with many speculating the cause to be the tragic death of rapper Mac Miller, her ex-boyfriend from before her and Davidson’s relationship. “Off the table” has Grande questioning if she deserves to love again, asking if she should “sit this one out and wait for the next life?”. The Weeknd takes the position of a new boyfriend assuring that “I’ll wait for you Even though it always feels like I’ll be number two To someone you can’t hold anymore.” This seemingly refers to the death of Miller. Though a slow ballad, “off the table” is by far one of the most brilliantly written tracks on the album.
“Off the table is one of my favorite songs,” says Alyssa Ellis (‘22). “I think the Weeknd and Ariana Grande working together creates a great dynamic and makes the song super interesting.”
The meaning behind “shut up” is exactly what you might think: telling people to be less concerned with her life and more focused on their own. Grande sings that she “keep[s] opinions muted for the hell of it.” She drags out the words “shut up” in a high crescendo. The song’s melody reminds me of a carousel, with the harmony’s floating up and down throughout the song, never lingering on one note for too long. A boppy upbeat song, “shut up” was the perfect choice for the album’s first track.
Wong says, “I love the harmonizing in shut up the most. I definitely sing it in my car. It’s one of my favorites.”
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If Grande is known for anything, it’s her long, swishing ponytail. Since her first album, Yours Truly, Ariana has sported some kind of hair updo. Rarely, does she let fans get a glimpse of her natural, dark curls. The song is about, in all meanings of the phrase, letting her hair down around her new love. She describes finally feeling comfortable to show her true self in front of her boyfriend singing, “Usually don’t let people touch it But tonight, you get a pass.” The song is a soul masterpiece, with Grande masterfully pairing powerful vocals with a slow beat.
get a load a dis pic.twitter.com/2SPx6f3fbA
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) March 30, 2020
Track number 11 on “Positions” has to be one of her best. Grande keeps the melody quick-paced and low in pitch, making it sound like the perfect R&B track she’s always wanted to write. The song describes how she’s amazed that someone is treating her the way she thinks she deserves singing, “Teach me how to love you I’m unlearning what ain’t right.”