6 January 2021-
Ariana Grande's Positions may have been released back in October, it is still in Billboard's top 5 in this new year. Let's investigate why that came to be...
Ariana Grande sure is a busy lady. At the grand old age of 27, she already managed to release 6 albums, 5 of which made it to #1 (2016’s Dangerous Woman “only” made it to #2…), not to mention a host of hit singles including featurings and duets with the likes of Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. On top of that rather remarkable artistic and commercial success, Grande also managed to grab the deadlines with events surrounding her personal life, including but not limited to her whirlwind romance with comedian Pete Davidson (a one-time fiancé) and her current relationship with real estate agent Dalton Gomez, who she is engaged to as of last December.
And the personal and professional got all mixed up with the release of Positions, the lady’s sixth and latest album, which pretty straightforwardly addresses the topic of… sex. We therefore assume it is about Mr Gomez, albeit formally anonymously. While many artists have done the very same before her (see Madonna, Nicki Minaj or more recently Cardi B for prime examples), this LP may be the most direct attempt at discussing that taboo of all taboos that we have seen (or heard) in a long time. And that is saying something in this day and age, where very few things are verboten and, unlike the female characters in Netflix’s Bridgerton, most young women know about the birds and the bees from the moment they get their hands on a smartphone — or iPad.
Take the title track “Positions”, which both plainly discusses sex and introduces innuendos with the remainder of the lyrics, with its title working as a segue between literal and alluded sex content. Or “34+35”, which adds up to… You can find that one on your own (and please don’t use a calculator). Featuring a guest spot with Doja Cat in the mix only enhances the sex appeal of the album, not to mention media (if not Grammy) darling The Weeknd. That being said, it wouldn’t be fair to take Positions only as a bit of shock art: a lot of work clearly went into it, production across all songs is absolutely spotless, some beats are quite refreshing and the overall cadence of the track listing is extremely well catered for our ears to enjoy.
In many ways, Ariane Grande is now becoming the gold standard for pop music, one that blends in RnB and dance into the mix, artfully playing with appearances while at the same time doing the work when it comes to producing highly enjoyable songs for our confined selves. Here’s to saluting the artist, and wishing her a lot more releases like this one. And sex.