Say what you want about Ariana Grande, but she has definitely been the talk of the year, not only because of her powerhouse vocals, but also with her engagement to Pete Davidson after only one month of dating. Her most recent album, “Sweetener,” was inspired by Pete and the love they share.
“Sweetener” is Grande’s best album yet. I will admit that I wasn’t on the bandwagon for a while, because I found her music juvenile and boring. This album defied those ideas I had in my head, and I was thoroughly impressed with almost every song.
The two singles from “Sweetener” are “god is a woman” and “no tears left to cry,” and while these songs are played a lot on the radio, they are two standout songs that are nothing like we have heard before, not only from Grande but from any other pop artist. “God is a woman” has been slightly controversial recently and has been making Christians upset. But honestly, it’s a little ridiculous. Grande is not the first person to talk about the Lord possibly being a woman, and famous women who have made the same claim include Madonna. While the music video is a little weird, her vocals in this song are beautiful, and she hits the high notes with ease.
Her second single, “no tears left to cry,” was played on the radio almost constantly, but for good reason. Her vocals are only standard in comparison to her other songs from “Sweetener”, but the melodies are catchy, and the message is good.
On May 22, 2017, in Manchester, England, Grande’s concert was bombed and 23 people died. Grande suffered from severe PTSD after the incident and takes a lot of blame for what happened. Many of her songs from this album reference the bombing, including the 37 second song “raindrops (an angel cries)” and “get well soon.” These two songs are heart-wrenching to listen to. The song “raindrops” is a cover of part of The Four Season’s “An Angel Cried.” The other song, “get well soon,” ends with 40 seconds of silence, which makes the song length 5:22, the date of the attack.
The titular song “Sweetener” is also a standout on the album. It’s very clearly a reference to her new fiance, and it’s a cute, upbeat song about falling in love. The rhythm is catchy, and it’s just a pleasant song to listen to. Grande’s singing is unlike any other popstar now. She has an astonishing four-octave range, which rivals Mariah Carey’s. It is true that she uses autotune, but she doesn’t need to and constantly publishes unedited versions of her songs. The song “r.e.m.” is one of the songs on the album that showcases her vocal range, from the low notes to the impressive high notes that she hits.
Some other songs I enjoy are “successful” and “blazed.” With sweet messages for little girls, “successful” is one of the songs that musically is not a standout but is nice to listen to. She doesn’t shy away from admitting the fact that she is young and talented, and shows a lot of self confidence, which makes her a great role model. It doesn’t come across as cocky, though, talking about how the listener is also beautiful and successful. It teaches younger girls the importance of self-confidence. Producer and singer Pharrell Williams is featured on the song “blazed,” which is pop-based, mature song that is different from what we hear from Grande a lot. It’s a little repetitive, but Pharrell’s part sets the song apart from others.
That being said, my favorite song on the album is “breathin’.” It makes Grande relatable to a lot of teenagers now who struggle with anxiety, and while telling them to just keep breathing may not be the most reasonable thing to help, it gives us an insight into Grande’s life, which we – before now – we hadn’t really heard from her previous songs.
Overall, this album is new and innovative. A lot of people in the music industry are shading Grande because of her past, and she is told that she should be making music for girls who have been fans since her days on “Victorious.” They have been saying how she should keep the same sound with the same type of lyrics. However, Grande is a grown woman now, and it is not her responsibility to be the type of little girl she was portrayed as. She has had her controversial moments, but this album shows that she has matured.
She was only engaged to Pete Davidson for a month, but everybody close to her has said that they have never seen her happier. She’s been through a lot, with her ex boyfriend Mac Miller recently passing away, along with the previously mentioned Manchester attack. It was time for her to tell her story using her voice, and that’s what “Sweetener” has proven to be.