Grande’s new sound creates highs and lows


Amanda Cavoto – Copy Editor

Ariana Grande took a chance with her promotional team for her latest album, “Sweetener,” released on Aug. 17, 2018.

With her new strategy of heavy promotion on social media platforms such as creating a separate Instagram for the album and constant sneak peaks on her Instagram stories, she left fans anxiously waiting for its release.

The album’s lead single, “no tears left to cry,” (NTLC), released on April 20, 2018, is what some people consider euphoric, optimistic and joyful.

“NTLC,” is musically one of the best songs on the album. She uses her belt and harmonies to be full of impact with the piece and create an uplifting aesthetic. It easily became the song of the summer and left Grande on top of the music industry. The single was ranked #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Her second single, “the light is coming,” featuring Nicki Minaj, released on June 20, 2018, left nothing to be desired. While I appreciated the risk of different sound, Minaj’s feature was unnecessary and honestly discredited Grande’s attempt to send an inspirational message to her fans in Manchester who were victims of the Manchester bombing. Lyrically, this song is decent, talking about giving back light to the dark, but musically this song did not complement Grande’s voice in any way.

The third and final single, “God is a woman,” was what pop culture claimed to be a feminist anthem, while it is actually irrelevant to any feminist movement. At the release of the
song, Grande tweeted, “To my fellow goddesses who work their asses off every day to ‘break the glass ceiling,’ this is for you. I respect you and am endlessly inspired by you.”

I guess these people did not understand feminism because this song is just a typical Ariana Grande sex song. This song compared Grande to God and talked about a woman being dominant in the bedroom. Grande has such a big platform to address real issues in gender inequality, but let everyone down by claiming a woman seducing a man to believe she is God is feminism. “God is a woman,” is a missed opportunity.

Despite the controversy, the album became number one on the Billboard 200, which makes her third album to achieve this. With Grande solely or partially writing every song on the album, her creative juices were clearly flowing with her newly found sound.

“blazed,” co-written by Grande and Pharrell Williams, introduces a tropical sound with a laid-back vibe of being truly in love with someone. “You may have a different face, but your soul is the same as mine,” speaks volumes on the song’s meaning.

“successful” is an upbeat tune that reshapes the meaning of the word “success” in a young woman’s life. A bit of bragging is shown from Grande on top of lyrically dragging on for the whole three minutes and 47

seconds.

Her best song on the album could very well be, “breathin.” Written solely by Grande, the lyrical aspect is out of her element, which is much appreciated.

She discusses perseverance and breathing through the hardest aspects of her life. It is inspirational as well as musically beautiful.

The highly anticipated “R.E.M,” puts Grande in a mystical state of meeting her dream man. The track’s general flow is whimsical and refreshing. It quickly loses its appeal, however. In the song, her bold statement of starting a conversation with “I love you” is similar to her Dangerous Woman era.

The first interlude on the album
kicks off her vocal power in the perfect manner. Her belt is strong, confident and executed perfectly in “raindrops.” It is easily one of the most musically and lyrically memorable songs on the album.

Expected to be the new “Honeymoon Avenue,” Grande’s concluding song
“get well soon,” was written after she experienced a panic attack. It was relatable and showed a transparent

side of Grande’s personal life. Fans also respected how she made the song five minutes and 22 seconds long, honoring the victims of the terror attack in Manchester, U.K. attack on May 22, 2017.

Her bold statement of a song “pete davidson” was boastfully promoted
by Grande but ended up being a dry interlude. She definitely could have
kept this off the album and just kept it personal with her fiancé, Pete Davidson.

Ending a toxic relationship is challenging, and Grande articulates a common dilemma amongst people doing just that in her song “better off.” It is a
bit of a slower song, but it fits the mood of the lyrics. It was a calm song and did not portray Grande’s vocal range, but the song was still well done.

Grande took a leap of faith in her newly found sound and vulnerability in her lyrics. Generally, it paid off.

Musically, as expected, the album is an anthem and deserves endless praise for her long hours of hard work that was necessary to create this musical gem. However, her lyrics left disappointment as she missed many missed opportunities to use her powerhouse of a voice to create equally powerful messages.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Nielson

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