Thursday, August 23, 2018

Ariana Grande "Sweetener" album review

Sweetener is the fourth studio album by singer Ariana Grande that was released on August 17, 2018 through Republic Records. It serves as a follow-up to her last studio effort  Dangerous Woman (2016). It is also the first time that the album cover is not in black and white. The album features guest appearances from rappers Nicki Minaj, Missy Elliot and singer Pharrell Williams. All of the songs are stylized in lowercase, except for R.E.M and God is a woman. Sweetener is primarily a pop album, but it explores with genres like R&B and trap music.

1. raindrops (an angel cried)

raindrops (an angel cried) is the opening track on Sweetener. She posted a snippet of Raindrops along with the video on her 25th birthday. It is also a cover song of The Four Seasons' "An Angel Cried" as Grande sings acapella with the lyrics, "When raindrops fell down from the sky/ The day you left me, an angel cried/ Oh, she cried, an angel cried/ She cried".

2. blazed (featuring Pharrell Williams)

blazed featuring Pharrell Williams is a groovy pop song where Grande and Williams come together singing, "There is somethin' between us, I can see it right now/ Your magnetic demeanor, that’s something can't be found/I thought that I was dreamin' ’til my love came around/Now I just come on over, show you how we get down/
Shawty, you can get blazed".

3. the light is coming (featuring Nicki Minaj)

the light is coming featuring Nicki Minaj is a song that talks about seeing the positive side of things that can get you through the hard times. Minaj raps on the first verse with, "Ay, yo, trophy wife, out you won me/ Until you had to find out it's one me/ Now you benched, aww your bum knee/ Now I'm the bad guy, call me Chun-Li". Then Grande exchanges her verse on the chorus with the lyrics, "The light is coming to give back everything the darkness stole/ The light is coming to give back everything the darkness stole". Then Grande sings her verse on the chorus with, "The light is coming to give back everything the darkness stole/ The light is coming to give back everything the darkness stole".

4. R.E.M

R.E.M is a reggae track that samples from an unreleased Beyoncé song titled "Wake Up" as Ariana sings on the chorus, "Before you speak, don't move/ 'Cause I don't wanna wake up/ Wake up, wake up, wake up/ If you can believe/ You're such a dream to me, mmm, boy". R.E.M stands for rapid eye movement and is a stage of the sleeping cycle. It's an important phase of sleep when memorable and vivid dreams occur alongside bodily movement and an increased heart rate.

5. God is a woman

God is a woman is about sexual female empowerment as Grande sings on the first verse, "You, you love it how I move you/ You love it how I touch you/ My one, when all is said and done/ You'll believe God is a woman/ And I, I feel it after midnight/ A feeling that you can't fight/ My one, it lingers when we're done/ You'll believe God is a woman".

6. sweetener

sweetener is the title track that talks about bringing a positive vibe or improving a situation that is at its worth. Ariana sings, "When life deals us cards/ Make everything taste like it is salt/ Then you come through like the sweetener you are/ To bring the bitter taste to a halt", and she goes on to the post-chorus with, "And then you get it, get it, get it, get it/ Hit it, hit it, hit it, hit it/ Flip it, flip it, flip it, flip/ You make me say oh, oh/ Twist it, twist it, twist it, twist it/ Mix it and mix it and mix it and mix it/ Kiss it, kiss it, kiss it, kiss it/ You make me say oh, oh".

7. successful

successful is an uplifting anthem with Ariana celebrating the joy of her making it in the music industry while also telling others that they can make it too. Grande sings on the chorus with the lyrics, "Yeah, it feels so good to be so young/ And have this fun and be successful/ I'm so successful, yeah/ And, girl, you too, you are so young/ And beautiful and so successful, yeah/ I'm so successful".

8. everytime

everytime is described as a "upbeat trap-infused" song about the infatuation felt to someone, even to the extend of returning to reckless love. On the first verse, Ariana sings, "get tired of your no-shows/You get tired of my control/They keep telling me to let go/ But I don't really let go when I say so/I keep giving people blank stares/ I'm so different when you're not there/ It's like something out of Shakespeare/ Because I'm really not here when you're not there", then continues with, "I've tried to fight our energy/But every time I think I'm free".

9. breathin

On breathin', Ariana talks about the days when her anxiety would make her seem like the "sky's falling" and "things just take way too much for her energy" as she sings, "Some days, things jus take way too much of my energy/ I look up and the whole room's spinning/ You take my cares away/ I can so over-complicate, people tell me to medicate". But in the end, she finds to courage to just keep "breathin" with the lyrics, "Just keep breathin' and breathin' and breathin' and breathin'/ I know I gotta keep, keep on breathin'/ Just keep breathin' and breathin' and breathin' and breathin'/ I know I gottta keep, keep on breathin'".

10. no tears left to cry 

no tears left to cry is a powerful self-lifting song that has some elements of disco music as Ariana sings, "Right now, I'm in a state of mind/ I wanna be in, like, all the time/ Ain't got no tears left to cry/ So, I'm pickin' it up, pickin' it up/ I'm lovin', I'm livin', I'm pickin' it up/ I'm pickin' it up, pickin' it up/ Lovin', I'm livin', so we turnin' up/ Yeah, we turnin' it up".

11. borderline (featuring Missy Elliot)

Lyrically, borderline is a funk pop song that talks about being in a relationship with somebody. Grande sings her verse on the chorus with, "Baby, I just want you to be mine
Won’t you give me a bit of your time, oh woah
Chasin’ you, no, I won't stop tryin’
Just meet me at the borderline", then Missy exchanges her verse with the lyrics, "Uh, I'm like, you got me so on a chase
Got me feeling so out of place
Think 'bout you all of my days
Wish you'd chew on me like fresh grapes
Not tryna cuff you or crowd your space
I'm tryna find you words just to say
"Dang, you fine, and look at that face"

At the borderline, beside me, you lay".

12. better off

better off is about Ariana starting realize that being in a relationship isn't for her and that she's "better off without him". This is rumored to be about Mac Miller, Ariana's former boyfriend, a relationship with whom she previously denounced as "toxic" as she sings, "Know better than to bark up my tree/ Just for me to fall and leave/ Nah, I'd rather just watch you smoke and drink, yeah". Then she goes to the chorus with, "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".

13. goodnight n go

goodnight n go is cover version of Imogen Heap's song of the same name from her album, Speak For Yourself. Except, Grande decided to remixed the song for the album and added some lyrics of her own. She sings on the first verse, "Tell me why you gotta look at me that way/ You know what it does to me/ So baby, what you tryna to say? Ayy/ Lately, all I want is you on top of me", and then she moves to the chorus with, "Oh, why'd do you have to be so cute?/ It's impossible to ignore you, ah/ Why must you make me laugh so much?/ It's bad enough that we get along so well/ Just say goodnight and go/ Oh, oh, oh/ Just say goodnight and go/ Oh, oh, oh/ Just say goodnight and go". 

14. pete davidson

pete davidson serves as the only interlude for the album. This song is personally dedicated to her fiancée Pete Davidson with whom Ariana became engaged to in June 2018. She opens the first verse with, "I thought you into my life (woah), look at my mind (yeah)/ No better place or a time (look), how they align/ Universe must have my back, fell from the sky into my lap/ And I know you know that you're my soulmate and all that/ I'm like ooh, ooh, my whole life got me ready for you, ooh, ooh". Then, the track comes to an end with Grande saying, "Got me happy, happy/ I'ma be happy, happy, yeah/ I'ma be happy, happy/ Won't get no crying from me, yeah".

15. get well soon

get well soon is the fifteenth and final track for Sweetener. It is the longest track on the album as the singer talks about her anxiety like she did with "breathin". She says on the first verse, "They say my system is overloaded/ (Girl, what's wrong with you? Come back down)/ I'm too much in my head, did you notice?/ (Girl, what's wrong with you? Come back down)".  Towards the end of the song, there is forty seconds of silence to honor the victims of the Manchester attack which occurred on May 22nd. Thus, the length of the song being 5 minutes and 22 seconds as a tribute to Manchester.

Okay, so, I listened to the Sweetener album the day that it was released. After I listened to it from beginning to end, I loved it. Ariana has really showed a different side musically with her album as far as making it fun, emotional and honest at the same time. This album basically tells the story of how Ariana went through a tough time both personally and emotionally, but through it all, she was able to find light and come out stronger than she has been before. I give Sweetener a 10/10.

Make sure that you go and stream Sweetener on Spotify, ITunes, Google Play, Amazon Music, SoundCloud Go+, Pandora, Tidal, and Deezer:

You can also listen to on the IHeartRadio or download the Jammer Music app:

Or order the physical copy of Sweetener on Target, Walmart, Barnes & Nobles and other online retail stores:

Don't forget to buy new merchandise from the Ariana Grande store. The Sweetener x Nicopanda hoodie and crew shirt is only available for a few more hours! Here's the link to the store if you still want to get your hands on it:

Did you know that you can do your very own streaming party for the Sweetener album? Well, now you can. Use the hashtag #SweetenerStreamingParty on Twitter to send some screenshots of you streaming the album. This will help Sweetener to debut with higher numbers. Here are the platforms that you can use to stream Sweetener:


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