Review Round Up: Positions by Ariana Grande

We take a look at what critics have been making of the singer’s brand new album.

The Guardian: *** “But despite the tabloid pre-publicity and the lyrical preoccupation with all-night romps, Positions deals in polished professionalism, not pulse-quickening excitement.”

Pitchfork: “Positions doesn’t broaden Grande’s sound the way her past few albums have, and it isn’t buoyed by a heroic anthem, like “no tears left to cry,” or guided by a specific mission, like how “thank u, next” honored her relationship history. The record resonates partly because it doesn’t weld grand statements out of living with trauma; it narrows in on the wobbly path of pleading with yourself, the begging and bargaining of healing.”

NME: *** “It’s a pleasant listen, but this feels strange juxtaposed with the lyrical content that flits between brazen vulnerability and all-out raunch-fest, demanding something more. As an introduction to the next era of Grande’s career, it’s solid, but you can’t help but feel it’s missing some of her trademark sparkle.”

The Independent: *** “It’s why Grande has always felt particularly sympathetic, a true work-in-progress open about her melancholies and misfires. She’s likeable and compelling as an artist, even when she’s at her most creatively static, settling on what is comfortable rather than anything slightly dangerous. Like all of us this year, she probably just needs to get out of the house more.” “The Disney trap sound peppering Positions posits a jarring new idea, a reckless toying with conventions and expectations, and a tug-of-war between the sacred and the profane, the bedroom and the boardroom (or, in the case of the “Positions” video, the Oval Office) that Grande’s uniquely suited for as the teen actor turned pop ingénue having the least worst time adapting to those life changes.”

Variety: “By being as musically and thematically focused as it is, “Positions” lacks the tour de force status that belonged to the “Sweetener” album in 2018 and, to a lesser extent, its 2019 “Thank U, Next” follow-up. Any outlier as dramatic as a “No Tears Left to Cry” or “God Is a Woman” will not be found here. But it’s a good sign that Grande isn’t trying to make the same or even a similar album each time out, as she knocks all these long-players out in such unusually productive succession.”

The Telegraph: *** “Ariana Grande leaves her traumas behind with an RnB album dedicated solely to sex – but it doesn’t quite hit the spot.” “That case stands for the more general way this back-to-basics-plus album feels like Grande resigning the burden of meaning that’s been thrust upon her since the 2017 Manchester concert attack, a significance she’s found so many creative ways to cultivate and expand. This resignation, this decision just to make some horny and beautiful love songs and to hell with everything else, is her prerogative.”

Evening Standard: *** “Grande’s voice is a thing of great beauty, swooping and fluttering above a plush musical backdrop that’s dominated by violins and cellos this time.”

Positions is available to buy and download now.

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