Ariana Grande perfects her style in “Sweetener”

Emma Clark, Reporter

On August 16 Ariana Grande dropped her fourth studio album “Sweetener,” and it is a work of art. She kept her same pop-diva attitude but the content and energy of this album felt more mature compared to her innocent love songs and Nickelodeon aura. It also had a strong message of feminism and power which is a theme carried over from her “Dangerous Woman” album which was released in 2016.

In all of Grande’s albums she has a few songs that stray away from fast-paced beats and instead focus on her vocals. I feel like a lot of her talent is wasted on the catchy songs that you hear on the radio, so I always savor the songs that show off her voice. A softer side of Grande is reflected in the stylization of her mostly lower-cased song titles. This subtlety ties into her newfound aesthetic. My favorite song on “Sweetener” is ‘better off.’ It’s a song about love, loss and being better without a significant other that you’re trapped in a toxic relationship with.

In June, Grande dropped ‘the light is coming’ with Nicki Minaj, an artist she collaborates with often. I don’t like it at all. The beat of it is choppy and vocals sound almost automated as if they’re both talking. I usually like Grande and Minaj together because they’re two strong female energies that make me feel empowered and worthy, but this just wasn’t it.  

Grande has been in the press for more than “Sweetener.” She recently got engaged to Saturday Night Live star and actor Pete Davidson. There is a lot of controversy around the engagement since they had only been together a month prior. He has gotten more attention publicly in the last two months than Mac Miller did in the two years they were together, with Grande writing a song called “pete davidson” which appears on “Sweetener” as well.

The hype for her latest album started about four months before the album’s release and that made fans craze almost as much as they did the second of it dropped.

Grande debuted a new look with the album. She is known for her high, sleek, brown ponytail but with the release of “Sweetener” she revealed her platinum blonde, low ponytail. This look shook me to my core and I adored it. Platinum blonde is something hot in celebrity culture right now but she took it and ran with it. She looks better than any of the Kardashians.

Not even a week after the album, dropped Grande performed her single ‘God is a woman’ at the MTV Video Music Awards. The performance was not only empowering but it was absolutely beautiful. Her vocals sounded effortless and the sound compares to the sirens I learned about in my ninth grade English class. The performance began with her looking up to an African-American woman wearing a crown; she had women of color in the show and they were portrayed as her equals rather than background noise and it was stunning and mesmerizing. When watching it I was captivated and it sent chills through my whole body.

The album as a whole was excellent. The first song, ‘raindrops’, is a 30 second a capella song that she teased on Twitter for “Sweetener.” After I listened to that for the ninth time I chose the song ‘R.E.M’ and it gave me a real impression on the album. Before the lyrics even started I knew I was going to like it. It had a groovy beat with a hip-hop/ R&B vibe which I appreciated because I think she should sing R&B all the time.

I highly recommend this album not only for the excellence in Grande’s vocals and content but also the visual component is a completely different take on her. It’s more mature as if she shed her old persona and transitioned into a new, better version of herself.