Review: Ariana Grande’s New Album Lets Down Original Fans

Album features a new sound but lacks her traditional authenticity

Bagpipe reviewer Reese Greenlee listens to the positions album. Her favorite song was “Safety Net.”

Ariana Grande dropped a new album on Oct. 30 after her fans suspected one was in the works due to several tweets from Grande hinting about a new project.

The album quickly climbed to number one on Billboard’s Top 100 and currently has four of the album’s songs on Spotify’s Global Top 100 chart.

“Positions” is her sixth studio album. The album features artists like Doja Cat, Ty Dolla $ign and The Weeknd.

Grande’s new album is drastically different from any of her other ones. This new album strays away from her traditional radio-hit, pop music and into a softer Rhythm and Blues sound. This new sound is much more personal than any other album she has launched, singing about her love life’s ups and downs, struggle with self-confidence and anger. Grande’s albums usually address her personal issues but only at a surface level. “Positions” dives deep into issues she hasn’t discussed in the past.

At first listen, I was disappointed in the lack of diversity in her songs’ sound and overall general simplicity of the lyrics. Songs like “Shut Up” and “Love Language” lack any depth and are very repetitive.

My favorite song on her new album is “Safety Net,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign. The song opens with a catchy snapping noise, which then blends into the rhythm of drums. The “safety net” mentioned in the song is a metaphor for falling in love with someone and not holding back the emotions that come with it. Grande is more of a nervous, hesitant character while Ty is embracing the love and attempting to convince her to just go with the flow. I was incredibly impressed with Ty’s singing voice. In most of the songs I’ve heard him, he is rapping. However, on this track, he harmonizes and blends with Grande.

The next song I was impressed with was “POV.” The song is a personal sounding piece. Grande embraces her insecurities in this relatively upbeat song and expresses her desire to see herself from her significant other’s perspective. She describes the many things she feels insecure about and how her boyfriend sees them differently.

“Positions” embraced Grande’s difficulty with her identity and who she wants to be.

Despite a couple of good tracks, I wasn’t overly impressed with this new album. Almost all of the song are about her love life and don’t feature any striking differences between them in terms of sound. They are all generally flat-toned and lack the pop sound Grande is known for. In addition, Grande doesn’t show off her massive vocals. She utilizes her breathy, monotone voice.

I believe music is supposed to make the listener feel a certain emotion. The best music can elicit a strong emotion out of you, but this album lacked that for me. I thought the songs’ subjects were relatable and were ideas many teenagers and adults face today, but overall, the album just lacked the depth her other work featured.

I look forward to what Grande produces in the future and if she sticks to this new style or reverts to her traditional style. Overall, I’d give this album a 6/10.