TRACK BY TRACK: Ariana Grande's 'Sweetener'
Last Friday, Ariana Grande’s sweetener came out and my first summation was that the album is structured like a musical. With a background in musical theater, it doesn’t surprise me that Ariana’s album plays out like one. There is the overture-like opening song, "raindrops (an angel cried)". There are ballads like "God is a woman" and duets like "borderline" featuring the one and only Missy Elliott. There are also short tunes that don’t even make three minutes, like "everytime" and the last-minute edition "pete davidson". Each song transitions fluidly into the next, carrying over a beat or theme that makes the album a story.
Something else I noticed about sweetener? Whether she directly intended to or not, Ariana certainly drew inspiration from other musical icons. Maybe it is my own personal detection method and the library of songs stored in my head, but many of the tracks on sweetener evoke sounds that are reminiscent of recognizable beats, singing styles, and genres. While the entire album itself is a masterpiece, I’m breaking down the 15-track album, giving my take on every single beautifully crafted song.
1. "raindrops (an angel cried)"
5. "God is a woman"
10. "no tears left to cry"
12. "better off"
13. "goodnight n go"
14. "pete davidson"
15. "get well soon"
The last song of the album, and Ariana ends it with positive vibes. The message of the song is that you can overcome. She sings, “you can work your way to the top,” but it won’t be easy to get there. The longest song off the album, Ari has had her fair share of struggles throughout her career. Since promoting sweetener, Ariana has consistently stated that people need to practice kindness with one another. The song mimics her words -- as Ariana sings about fighting an upwards battle, the beat builds and you feel as though you are nearing the end of whatever feat you may be trying to overcome. You reach that highest peak. It’s always nice to end on a high note.
As I said before, each song compliments the next. You can listen to these songs individually, chronologically, or in your own order and one message will still manifest itself: sweetener is Ariana’s declaration, her story of persevering through heartbreak, confusion, and also happiness. Because she’s honest, the album works. I suggest you give it a listen.