‘Sweetener’ continues to climb charts


Ever since the 2013 release of her first studio album “Yours Truly,” Ariana Grande has made her way to the top of the charts. The singer, songwriter and actress first rose up to fame as a television personality on Nickelodeon and became a household name. Following the release of her albums “My Everything” (2014) and “Dangerous Woman,” (2016) Grande released a new album this year, titled “Sweetener”.

The album, which was released late due to the bombing at Grande’s Manchester concert in 2017, combines elements of pop, R&B and hip-hop into 15 unique songs with features from popular artists such as Pharrell Williams, Nicki Minaj and Missy Elliott.

Generally, the songs have upbeat tones with incredible vocals from Grande, reminiscent of Mariah Carey’s vocal range. Every song, except for the 37-second-long intro for “Raindrops (an Angel Cried),” include layered vocals, highlighting Grande’s multi-octave range that can reach the heights of a whistle tone. Grande’s multiple riffs and adlibs throughout the album give an interesting and unique aspect to each song, making the album more likable.

Songs such as “The Light is Coming” featuring Nicki Minaj and “No Tears Left to Cry” are repetitive but include lyrics that are remindful of the Manchester bombing. The chorus of “The Light is Coming” represents Grande’s comeback from the bombing, demonstrating how she chose to address the attack with love and support for the families affected. In addition, “No Tears Left to Cry” was the first song released off “Sweetener” after the attack, as an upbeat tune that demonstrated the hardships Grande and those affected had to go through to emotionally heal after the bombing.

On the more controversial side, the song “God is a Woman” has angered some religious groups because of Grande’s references to God and religion. However, the controversy is not the most interesting feature about the tune; Grande’s music video for the song is a visual journey, including scenes of Grande sitting on top of Earth and painted in Renaissance style. While the song didn’t stick out to me as much as the others, the music video was well crafted.

Contrastingly, one of the best songs on the album, “Better Off” is a soothing song different to the lively sound of the album. As always, the vocals are beautifully layered and work with the lyrics to make the song even more appealing. Lyrics such as “I never let ‘em know too much/Hate gettin’ too emotional” and “I’d rather your body than half of your heart” contribute to the solemn tone and demonstrates the raw emotion and honesty that went into producing the song. Similarly, “Pete Davidson” has a smooth tone, but is more positive and upbeat than “Better Off.” The minute-long song was a cute addition to the album and references Grande’s relationship with comedian Pete Davidson.

Despite many of the songs being based on Grande’s personal life and emotions, her album received much-needed aid from other artists. On “Blazed” featuring Pharrell Williams, Williams brings his own style of funk-pop into the album to make it more interesting while also introducing new audiences to Grande’s music. “On the other hand, “R.E.M” was originally an unreleased song by Beyoncé, but Grande received the rights to the song and added a little bit of her own twist on it.

Despite not enjoying every song on the album, I still appreciate the amount of effort Grande put into crafting this artistic piece. All the songs were similar enough to put together on an album but left just enough individuality in each song to make the album an exciting experience. Her vocals were consistently amazing and never failed to impress me, the album included a range of styles for a wider audience and the amount of emotion Grande demonstrated on the album makes it one of my top three albums released this year.