Fans were itching in anticipation for the clock to strike midnight, so they could stream Ariana Grande’s new single, Positions. The tag, #positionstonight, flooded Twitter from Arianators overflowing with excitement. The pop star released the title track last night on streaming services ahead of her sixth studio album. Though she has kept herself busy between her recent collaborations with Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, the time has come for the singer to release a major project of her own.
Ariana announces her sixth studio album, “Positions”
i can’t wait to give u my album this month— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) October 14, 2020
Grande took to Twitter on the 14th, stating that she would be releasing an album before the end of October. She followed up two days later with a video tweet of her tattooed fingers typing “Positions” in slo-mo. Excitement mounted throughout the web with the reveal of the single’s cover. Grande adopts a 1980s aesthetic in a black and white photo, posing in a two-piece skirt with “Positions” repeated vertically on the left side.
The AG6 era marks her first major departure from the emotional riffs Grande delivered in the sister albums “Sweetener” and “Thank U, Next”. Both of those albums, Grande once explained, are deeply personal to the singer and carried herself and her audience through trying times. Many of the tracks in Thank U, Next are believed to be direct responses or continuations of songs with similar themes in Sweetener. Though both projects were smashing successes, the world is eager to see what else Grande has in store. She teased new music way back in March that has yet to be revealed that may appear on the album. Suffice to say, it is a step in a much different direction.
There has already been some controversy among her varied fan bases on social media regarding the possible theme of Grande’s new music. The conversations are about whether or not Grande should keep in mind that a sizable portion of her audience are minors when she creates music, the argument being that her more blatant sexual themes are inappropriate. The other side argues that Grande is a 27 year old woman and already has plenty of music with adult themes, giving examples such as “Wit It This Christmas” and “Side to Side”. Ariana, herself, has not responded.
Not for the faint of heart
The song is quite different from its older siblings with Grande dipping more into R&B than pop this time around. R&B producer, London On Da Track, is said to be producing the album, leaving many confident in its potential. Grande is no stranger to suggestive lyrics and innuendos in her music, but in Positions, she goes full sultry singer. Positions is taking that first big step into an album like nothing Grande has ever given audiences before.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) September 15, 2020
Though it isn’t her first dip into the genre, Positions embodies what many hoped Grande would eventually tackle: sensuality. Like most of her previous work, the salacious lyrics of Positions leave much to the imagination. One thing is for sure, this song – and possibly this entire album – isn’t for kids. As always, however, Grande masterfully layers her vocals and harmonizes with herself (and a few background vocals from Monét) on the track to create a smooth melody. Before anything else, NSFW songs or not, she is an accomplished vocalist.
The Music Video
The video, directed by Dave Meyers, sees Grande donning the role of a state lady, a sort of governing official. She moves constantly between the Oval Office and private rooms, the scene literally flipping 180 degrees. As the video continues, the double entendre of “switching positions” becomes clearer. The singer flips between settings in public spaces to the kitchen or the bedroom. She switches “positions” for her lover both sensually and as a woman in the public and private eye. It’s the classic trope of “a lady in the streets and a freak in the sheets”.
The runtime of 2 minutes and 57 seconds is filled with cameos, including Victoria Monét, Tayla Parx, and even mother Joan Grande. Ariana has not given up her iconic pony, electing to add volume along with an immaculate glam. Of course there are plenty of outfit changes, with Grande sticking to the theme of a 1980s state governess with elegant grace. All in all, the music video pairs neatly with the song and only holds as much allusion to more steamy implications if you look for them.
Trick or Treat? Ariana says treat.
It’s likely that the album is already finished and Grande is simply waiting for the green light. We have to remember that October was already half over when she promised the world it would release this month! Barring any setbacks, Grande’s sixth studio album should be available for the world to enjoy within the next two weeks. If it is anything like the single, Grande may just have another Grammy or two in the making.