Amaka’s Position on Ariana Grande’s Positions: Hit or Miss?

New album provides initial satisfaction, but fails to engage

Amaka Nwokocha, Staff Writer

“thank u, next” was the fifth studio album from Ariana Grande. It broke streaming and charting records, and spawned three hit singles (“thank u, next,” “7 rings,” and “break up with your girlfriend, because i’m bored”).       

     Fans have been waiting excitedly for the follow up to the smash hit album. Ariana Grande has a great ability to change up her style between albums, and I was incredibly excited to listen to her sixth and most anticipated album yet. 

     It showed a more mature side to Grande that “thank u, next” only hinted at. Nine out of the fourteen tracks are marked explicit, and some of them get dirty    far dirtier than the pop singer ever has.

     Upon the first listen through “Positions,” I immediately picked out my favorite elements, which included the blending of Ariana Grande’s sweet vocals and Doja Cat’s raspy voice in “motive” the whistle notes in “my hair,”and “nasty,” and the funky strings on “love language.”

     However, after a few days, the newness of the album as a whole faded completely. In less than a month, it feels like it’s aged by six months.This might be because of how similar many of the tracks sound.

     Grande seems to have found herself in a box that she can’t break out of– the “filler track curse.” More than half of the songs are under three minutes long and have similar beats, which makes them fall into the background.

     She emulates much of the rap-vocals and trap style that she first experimented with on “thank u, next” and doesn’t change much of it, making some of the tracks (“six thirty” and “just like magic”) sound like knock-off “thank u, next” songs. The collaborations range from exciting (“motive” with Doja Cat) to forgettable (“safety net” with Ty Dolla $ign) to completely skippable (“off the table” with The Weeknd).  Lead single “positions” fits in better in the context of the album, but it also fades into the mush of three minute, vaguely pop, RNB tracks with trap beats that populate the album.

     Much of the album is forgettable, and many of the songs blend into each other (and not in a good way). Where it shines, it really shines, and where it doesn’t, it turns into a four minute sing-off with The Weeknd or into another trap influenced “thank u, next” reject track.

     This was a prime opportunity to showcase her prowess in the RNB sphere that she hinted at with “thank u, next,” but Ariana Grande dropped the ball. While there are some tracks worth listening to, most of them are skippable and unoriginal. Now comes the wait for Grande’s next album.