Two years ago, Ariana Grande solidified her place as one of 21st century pop’s most revered queens with Dangerous Woman, an album that captured her unbelievable talent and confident spirit. She carries that relentlessness into her fourth LP, Sweetener, but with a different message – one that shows Grande is more than a note-belting diva.
Those who hailed Dangerous Woman for its amazing hooks may meet Sweetener with mixed reviews. While “No Tears Left to Cry” was a proven hit, Sweetener sees Ariana spending more time on her hip-hop interests and soulful RnB background rather than pop hooks. Although she has taken a different angle on her music compared to her past albums, each individual song has its own dance-worthy beat and lyrically explores love and heartbreak in a vulnerable way. Her collaboration with Pharrell Williams is perhaps part of the reason why Grande has explored more RnB elements and beats, but this combination makes Grande’s album a special one.
Let’s take a look at why Sweetener is such an uplifting album:
Her lyrics bring on a different meaning to empowerment.
Grande is still as empowering as she’s always been, in a way that champions those who might not be as fierce as the past Ariana albums. She addresses the anxiety she experienced as a result of the Manchester Arena bombing on May 22, 2017 in ‘Breathin’ (“Feel my blood runnin, Swear the sky’s falling/I know that all this shit’s fabricated”) and the album’s finisher ‘Get Well Soon’ (“I’m too much in my head, did you notice?”). But instead of hitting the ballads, Ari channels these emotions through uplifting sounds, as ‘Breathin’ is a pounding anthem and “Get Well Soon” has a piano heavy “keep your head up” message. Her anthem“God is a woman” really explores girl power, and Joan Grande – aka Ariana’s mum tweeted her support of her daughter’s theory that God is, in fact, a woman. “We have earned and deserve respect, gratitude, and equality…and YET, we fight for it STILL everyday…this song is an anthem, it should provide strength and power and uplifting!!”
Her collabs are as fierce as she is.
Grande features some serious girl power on Sweetener. Along with bringing back the amazing Ari-Nicki duo with the fiery collab “The Light is Coming,” Ari teamed up with the one and only Missy Elliott for the banger “Borderline.” She also shouts out one of her biggest idols, Imogen Heap in “Goodnight and Go,” a brilliant sample of the British artist’s song sharing the same name.
There’s no relationship-inspired heartbreak on this album
Although she had to go through a very public split to get to where she is, Grande hardly has any bit of breakup sadness on Sweetener. Rather, any concern about love on the album is presented through the upbeat tracks “Better Off” and “Everytime” both of which establish a confidence that nicely contrasts the anxiousness Grande reveals elsewhere.
It’s easy to feel her love for the album
Fans who love the more traditional Ariana Grande pop hits may not find exactly what they’re looking for on Sweetener, but at its core, the album is everything a fan should want from the pop icon. The album displays great beats, honestly and of course, her amazing dynamic vocals. She found a way to break through her struggles and highlight her triumphs, creating a collection of songs that make you want to dance no matter what mood you’re in, or how you’re feeling. Whether or not the album becomes a favourite among fans, Sweetener is clearly a victory for Grande herself.
You can listen to the album here! Leave us a comment down below telling us what your favourite song from the album is.