Ariana Grande’s newest and fourth debut album, “Sweetener”, proves, yet again, Grande’s vocal talents. Although Grande’s albums typically feature hyper-sexualized content, “Sweetener” presents a more mature array of songs. Grande’s first two albums, “Yours Truly” and “My Everything”, display a sweeter side of Grande, but as she has gotten older and developed her voice, all but one of her songs in “Sweetener” are explicit.
Grande begins this album with an opener called “Raindrops (an angel cried).” I believe it sets the tone of the album. The second song, “Blazed”, which features Pharrell Williams, shows Grande’s typical pop feel with a continuous beat in the background. Williams’ harmonies complement Grande’s in this song about never letting someone go.
Nicki Minaj is also featured on the album in “The Light is Coming.” This song has a much different vibe from the rest of the album. Grande repeats the line “the light is coming to give back everything the darkness stole.” This line is likely about her new relationship with Pete Davidson, but a Christian listener could apply the line to the promise of Jesus coming back to save us from the darkness of sin that permeates earth.
“Sweetener” features multiple songs about Pete Davidson, who is Grande’s fiance. Their relationship began in late May of 2018. An image of the couple together (Davidson wearing a Gryffindor sweatshirt, and Grande donning Slytherin Hogwarts robes) confirmed the speculation of their relationship.
“R.E.M.,” which was co-written by Beyonce, is a sweet love song about Davidson that has a very uplifting feel to it. “Sweetener”, “Breathin’”, and “No Tears Left to Cry” each feature a strong chorus and show Grande’s vocal range.
The four final songs of this album show Grande’s immense growth, and the vulnerability she expresses regarding her toxic relationship with Mac Miller that is finally behind her. These songs express a sense of self-care that all men and women can learn from. Specifically, in “Better Off,” Grande is singing about her past relationship with Mac Miller, which she has described in interviews as a “toxic relationship.”
Her lyrics: "I'm better off without him/I'm better off being a wild one/On the road a lot, had to keep it a thousand/So that I'm better off not being around ya."
This song originally was not going to be on the album, because she claims to have been nervous about bringing it to light, but we get to hear her true feelings expressed after all.
Grande underwent feelings of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and many more struggles as a result of the terrorist attack at one of her concerts in Manchester. Her song “Get Well Soon” is about her feelings regarding the attack. The last forty seconds of the song is complete silence in order to make the song five minutes and twenty two seconds, matching the date of the Manchester attack that happened in 2017.
This album expresses a positive and hopeful message, which correlates with her album cover that is much different than her past three albums. The cover of “Sweetener” is not in black and white like the other ones. Another significant difference is that she is upside down on this album cover.
In Apple Music’s notes over “Sweetener,” Grande is quoted saying the album is more like her as a person, and it shows what she has been wanting to do with music. That being said, she really is showing a different side in this album that is much more mellow, dreamy, and feel-good.
I definitely recommend Ariana Grande’s “Sweetener.