Ariana Grande’s new album challenges gender roles

By Becca Bertram, buzz staff writer

buzz factor: 4/5

It has been a year since the release of Ariana Grande’s most popular album, “thank u, next.” Now, Grande has topped herself again, coming out with her sixth album, “Positions,” last Friday. “Positions” takes on a more sexual vibe as she desires seclusion with her lover, which is a nice change from the self-love and growth anthem that “thank u, next” delivers. In essence, Grande’s new album is the happy ending to “thank u, next.”

The album starts with the first track, “shut up.” This song is allegedly a response to the many critics who commented on Grande’s decision in the last couple of years. It is a pretty self-explanatory song as the main chorus is Grande singing, “You know you sound so dumb/So you maybe you should shut up.” It’s comical to start an album off with that type of message; however, it is not the album’s best or catchiest song.

Her next song, “34 + 35,” has a very raunchy meaning if you can do the math. She is very blunt about her sexual intentions throughout the song, and this is the first time a fan can hear Grande speak so candidly about sex with clever innuendos. The raunchiness is shocking but forces the narrative that Grande is an adult and can own her sexuality confidently without losing respect. 

The track “positions” also follows a similar narrative. Grande talks about how she wants to switch positions with her lover in terms of cooking, cleaning and providing in the bedroom. It takes somewhat misogynistic idealization of what a woman is traditionally supposed to do but spins it to where it is up to her to want to act that way for her man. It’s supposed to show the flexibility Grande has to do whatever her boyfriend wants to have a healthy relationship.

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    Grande’s album features other popular artists like Doja Cat on “motives,” The Weeknd on “off the table” and Ty Dolla $ign on “safety net’. All the songs are typical sensual poppy Ariana Grande songs, which feature many of her soft notes. The best collaboration is Grande and The Weeknd. Both their vocals meld together as Grande goes for a lower singing tone instead of her very breathy and high-pitched singing.

    Some personal favorite songs are “nasty” and “pov,” both of which have very opposite messages. The message of “nasty” is craving for your lover’s attention and wanting to be with them at all times. It is very catchy, and the lyrics exemplify the excitement of meeting someone and having that type of connection. The beat is light and happy, but sensually. Grande has always been good at making songs that are sexy but have a certain innocence to them. “pov” is romantic and sweet as Grande sings about wishing she could see herself through her lover’s eyes so that she can love herself the same way. She details how amazing it feels to have someone who loves her for all of the pretty and ugly while desperately wanting to understand how someone could love her that much with her baggage. It is sweet to think of her writing this about her current boyfriend, Dalton Gomez, as it feels like the most real romance song I have heard her make. It’s the most relatable and a great closing track to her album.

    Give “Positions” a listen. It has a couple of songs that everyone can relate to and should consider listening to, even if you’re not a fan of pop music.

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