North Texas Daily

Ariana Grande’s ‘Positions’ is fun but forgettable

Ariana Grande’s ‘Positions’ is fun but forgettable

Ariana Grande’s ‘Positions’ is fun but forgettable
November 06
11:07 2020

Her third album in three years, Ariana Grande’s “Positions” provides a sweet but sinful pop-R&B soundtrack, yet ultimately fails to reach its full potential as Grande seems at her most unenthused and uninspired.

The sixth studio album in Grande’s discography, “Positions” focuses less on dealing with the aftermath of life’s trauma, like “Sweetener” and “thank u, next,” and more about finding peace, finding new love and learning how to trust again. Despite the world being gripped by its neck by a once-in-a-generation pandemic where touching and kissing could get you killed, Grande figured now would be the best time to tell the world how “horny” she is.

Finding new love is the name of the game for Ms. Grande, with the R&B flavor adding to the more mature, lustful themes that are present throughout the album. Grande may see things from a new point of view, but honestly, it’s just more of the same — the same chill, slow and relaxed lo-fi pop with the same sexual yet underwhelming lyrics.

Cohesively the album blends really well together, more to its detriment than its benefit. It boggles the mind how one can make a 41-minute runtime feel like hours, but that’s exactly what happens when there’s no song to stand out amongst the noise.

It’s a fun, laid-back “no thoughts, head empty” type album but lacks any true substance. If Grande wanted to make an R&B sex album in the vein of Beyonce’s “Rocket” then she’s failed, as the entire project lacks inspiration. “Positions” isn’t quite up-to-par as an R&B album, a sex album or a vocal performance album either.

It feels as if Grande had no real connection to most of the songs. With her constant braggadocio about her sex life, it comes off as her trying to convince herself that sex is good. It doesn’t share the same emotional resonance of her last two albums, and it doesn’t need to, but if you cannot emote enough to connect to what you’re singing, then what is even the point?

The album is chock-full of highlights and shows flashes of the potential this album could have had. “just like magic” is cute and upbeat, although a bit of fluff. “off the table” is a rather good song featuring a slow, synth-heavy instrumental, complemented by lush strings and a good performance by The Weeknd. “my hair” is a song that could have fit perfectly in “Sweetener,” with Grande’s vocals in this song being at their absolute best. “nasty” is an instant bop and is a better song lyrically than “34+35.” “west side” provides much-needed Summer Walker-type vibes to compliment the R&B sound Grande is trying to achieve.

The bulk of the album is cohesive in a way that makes for a pleasant listen, and worth a second listen if someone put it on, but it is nothing to go out of the way for. The standout tracks are “pov,” “nasty” and “safety net” but other than those three, there is nothing about this album that’s to write home about. And to be completely honest, this should have been an EP.

The fact that Grande is releasing music so regularly makes it tolerable that there are only a few tracks per album worth listening to. If she took three to four years between albums, then the expectation would not fit the execution for the album.

The main problem, at least to me, is that about four of the songs on the album sound as if they are still in the demo stage and still need another verse or chorus added. Short songs with brevity are all the rage in the streaming age, but a lot of these aren’t just short, they feel unfinished. They feature the same lyrical tropes she has been using in the past and do not really go above and beyond what she is truly capable of. Overall, “Positions” has no flavor, and is the pinch of salt on unseasoned chicken served with no care at all.

This had the potential, but ultimately it ended underdeveloped and half-cooked. It’s by no means her worst album or a stain on her discography, but also nothing worthwhile here to see either.

Final rating:

Featured image: Courtesy Republic

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Chance Townsend

Chance Townsend

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