Ram Jams: ‘Positions’

Controversial, yet brave: Ariana Grande’s 6th album is not that good




Genre: Pop

On a Playlist With: Dua Lipa, Troye Sivan, Madison Beer, Bebe Rexha, Olivia O’Brien

Ariana Grande released her sixth studio album, “Positions,” on Oct. 30, a little over a year and a half after her album “thank u, next” came out. With only five months between the releases of “thank u, next” and “Sweetener,” I don’t think that anyone was complaining about not having new Grande songs to listen to this past year. 

I was still somewhat excited about this album drop, specifically because of her vocal talents and her ability to write bop after bop. I was ready for brand new, happy Grande. An Grande who could deliver vocals with fun beats and lyrics that you want to scream with your friends. But what did she do? She did nothing of the sort.

“Positions” opens with “shut up,” a song where she lets everyone know they need to mind their own business. She has gone through a lot in these past few years, but she doesn’t need people to worry about her anymore. It is a very “I don’t care what others think of me, leave me alone please” version of her 2013 song “Honeymoon Avenue.” I think the beginning of the song is amazing: It’s the new her with some reflections to the old Grande. As the opener to the album, “shut up” should prepare you for what should be great vocals and a fun, new era. But, I don’t feel that is what ends up happening.

The song I was most excited about was “motive” because Doja Cat is featured on it. With the discography that Doja Cat has, “motive” had the chance to be the best song on the album, but it’s so boring. The level of emotion in the song is the same the entire time. I know Doja Cat for her attitude and her funny and smart rap lyrics. Practically every Doja Cat song has a TikTok dance made for it. With lines like, “Want me on your neck ’cause you wanted respect / ’Cause you fightin’ some war, baby / Well, I had to bring the fists out, had to put a wall up,” you won’t catch anyone making a TikTok dance for this song. These women have made some of the most famous songs to ever exist. I don’t hear many people talking about “motive.”

The Weeknd and Ty Dolla $ign are also featured on the album. Despite his popularity, I do not like The Weeknd. In every song he sings, it sounds like he just finished crying, and I just can’t get down with that. “off the table” feat. The Weeknd is, unsurprisingly, a ballad, just like the majority of his discography. 

When artists come together, I want something new. I want something we haven’t heard before, but this song isn’t anything new. “safety net” featuring Ty Dolla $ign isn’t that bad. While I usually avoid his type of rap, his auto-tuned voice is nice. This song makes me imagine my friend and myself riding Citi Bikes downtown at sunset. 

The best song on the album is “my hair.” You have to wait through seven other songs to get to it, but the wait may actually be worth it. Grande’s vocals on this song are what the rest of the album was missing. Her famous whistle notes make their appearance, surrounded by her soulful voice, and create the excellence that is “my hair.” This song is perfect for late-night driving with the windows down, whether you or the Uber driver is behind the wheel.

The last half of the album is no different from the first: underwhelming. And that’s OK. Grande could have done so much with this album, and the only reason I have been listening to it over and over is because I am writing this. With endless access to infinite numbers  of songs, I don’t see myself playing these songs on purpose, but I also don’t see myself skipping them if they come on. I might just talk over them.

The Bottom Line: It’s not her best, but it isn’t bad. If you like it, that’s cool.

The Peaks: “my hair” and the beginning of “shut up”

The Valleys: “motive” and “off the table” 

The Verdict: 6.5/10