Some fans love it and others say “thank u, next”
Ariana Grande released a new album on October 30, 2020. This came as a surprise to many people, since there was little build-up towards its release. While Grande did tease a new release, she had made no explicit statement regarding the timing. Now that it has been out for a few days, fans and critics alike are sharing their opinions.
Grande’s last studio album release was back in February of 2019: “thank u, next.” The album had quickly followed her already-successful “Sweetener”. Since Grande released two successful albums so quickly in succession, she has instead taken the time to work on her most recent release, called “Positions.”
“Positions” is a different kind of music than her fans are typically used to: She has gone for a much more R&B sound instead of her typical pop. Grande’s content in this album is also a little more risque than usual, with the subject matter of many songs being about her activities with men. Grande also sings about self-promotion and worth, a more regular occurrence for her music.
One of the biggest trends in the new album was her use of self-harmony. Almost all fourteen tracks had the artist harmonizing with herself at some point. There is also a lot of echo and electronic sound to be heard. This sound is appealing to some, as it bleeds from pop to R&B and hip hop, but others criticize it for sounding autotuned. Toward the end of many of the tracks, she combines her talents with whistle tones.
The theme of this album is the unapologetic embracing of one’s femininity and sexuality. Grande sings about the various ways in which she desires to be loved, and embraces that part of her. She also promotes self-love and mental well-being in other songs.
Fans have taken to TikTok, sharing both their support and disappointment for the album. A new challenge has even been introduced to the TikTok community, in the form of #positions. People have been taking on this challenge in order to mimic the music video. Users are typically shown sitting on a bed, in plain clothes, before transitioning into a more glamorous look. It is meant as something fun and empowering for all women and men who use the app. Such users seem eager and supportive of Grande’s new album. According to Billboard, fans also voted Grande’s album as favorite new music of the week.
Other fans, and specifically TikTok users, have expressed distaste for the album. Some fans have voiced their lack of appreciation for the new genre and sound that Grande tried producing. It is a new branch of music that her fans are unaccustomed to. Instead, they desire a bit more of her familiar pop sound. Though there are some examples of her trademark sounds and vocal tendencies, the degree of change has proven to be a bit much for some.
Grande’s album is currently streaming at number one on Billboard. Though some fans are happy to hear new music from the pop star, others are left disappointed by the lack of pop and say, “Thank u, next.”
Author: Dani Mercado | A&E Editor