Whistle tone-boasting artist Ariana Grande released her fourth studio album, Sweetener, last weekend. So just how sweet is it?
Fans have been anticipating the release of Ariana Grande’s latest album, Sweetner, for quite some time now, and they were not left with any cavities upon its arrival. The US pop singer has been managing the difficult transition from Nikelodeon pop princess to full-on woman and Queen of Divas mostly well — let us never forget the great donut incident of 2015. But it is clear with this album that she is demanding the world see her as mature and in a completely different light.
After the horrific bombing at her Manchester Arena concert in May of 2017, fans and foes began to see Grande in a more sensitive and emotional light. Critics have argued that her beautiful reaction to this tragedy may overshadow everything she does in the future. That was until Sweetner was released. Brilliantly produced and largely co-written with Pharrell Williams and Max Martin, this is an album of upbeat hip hop inflected with R&B and pop that boasts upbeat lyrics about empowerment and self love.
In this era of autotune, it’s refreshing to hear an artist who can relies solely on the power of her vocals, and Grande delivers that on a silver platter. Her four-octave range has been compared favorably to Mariah Carey’s, but her style is far more subtle and understated. In this album she is transparent and refreshing. “God is a Woman” and “No Tears Left to Cry” have skyrocketed on the charts and are exactly what audiences want from Grande. With rap appearances from both Nicki Minaj and Missy Elliot, the album captures three of musics most successful women and celebrates everything they have to offer. “Raindrops (An Angel Cried)” cleanses the palate for the emotional impact of the rest of the album. Grande’s signature soaring vocals help ground the listener in the moment and prepare them for the emotional journey that lies ahead. Intertwine that with upbeat bops and you have a recipe for sweet goodness.
“R.E.M.” is arguably the best song on the album, giving you the feels of a throwback and a fresh tune all in one. It’s easy to say that this cohesively collaborated album is by far Grande’s best. We went to the dentist and were given a clean bill of health to have as many “sweets” as we desire.