On her new album, Positions, Ariana Grandes begins to take off her mask.
At first glance, it seems as though Grande released another album similar to her previous work, Thank U Next. But it’s not the pink-tinged, girly, and preppy type of pop style we’re used to. She now has adopted a new R&B feel to her music.
As most Grande fans know, she has not had the easiest career. There have been many mental health challenges, including a bombing at her concert in Manchester in 2017 and the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller the following year; both have affected Ariana’s personal and musical trajectory.
This album shows her growth from these events and an expression of self-love. On “POV,” Grande wishes she could see herself from others’ point of view (“all of my pretty and all of my ugly too”), and how with a new partner, she feels as though they can see through her and they know her so well. It’s the full Ariana—not just the media puppet that was always told to be perfect and to be a role model.
We are able to start understanding more about the effect that Miller’s death had on her mental health through songs like “Safety Net,” too. Here, Grande focuses on being scared and needing the feeling of comfort that a “safety net” would bring in a relationship.
Growing up and learning to love yourself again is a strong theme on this album—and it’s one that resonates with many high school students. She is trying to tell us as the listener about her personal struggles such as wanting to be comforted, loved, and just cared for as a whole. Can’t everyone connect with this?
Overall, Ariana Grande has greatly evolved from her initial career as an actress on Victorious to a strong woman working on rebuilding herself as not only an artist but also as a person with emotions.