Ariana Grande is serving a dose of sweetness with her fourth album. ‘sweetener’ is full of pop-perfect riffs and addicting anthems.
We weren’t sure what to expect from the pop star following the tragic Manchester Arena bombing that took place over a year ago during her Dangerous Woman Tour, killing 22 victims along with injuring over 500 others. Grande’s perseverance shines through the whole album; she makes it the ultimate love letter, not only to herself but to her fans. Overflowing with compassion and self-discovery, ‘sweetener’ manifests itself as proof of the 25-year-old’s growth as an artist.
Now that we’ve had the opportunity to consume nothing but ‘sweetener’ over the past few days, we think it’s safe to pick out our top five favorites from this career-defining record.
Fifth on our list is a sonically-charged banger that doesn’t just offer up an addictive beat—no, this track also uncovers Grande’s struggles with anxiety. She explains through the lyrics how it leaves her feeling powerless, but she still finds the strength to continue breathing through it.
Next is Grande’s schoolgirl, romantic take on fantasizing about the boy she’s conjured up in her dreams. Its catchy hook makes us not want to wake up from our wildest fantasies, where the significant other we’ve been waiting for might be real but only in the deepest parts of our lovesick minds.
Describing the type of reckless love we’re all guilty of, Grande gives us a taste of an irresponsible previous relationship. She can’t resist crawling back to a distant lover who leaves her feeling tired, both mentally and emotionally. This R&B track adds addicting pop hooks that reminds us of Grande’s pop star caliber.
2. ‘goodnight n go’
Grande put a little spin of her own on Imogen Heap’s ‘Goodnight and Go’. It’s a goosebump inducing track that’s perfect for blasting with the windows down. It showcases her killer pipes through a range of dance club beats and wispy sounds. The reasoning behind Grande using another pop star’s track instead of her own? She proclaims Imogen Heap as one of her biggest inspirations, a true declaration of the young star’s passion for creative pop artistry.
1. ‘God is a woman’
It was difficult to single out one song as being the most innovative and jaw-dropping on an album chockfull of certified hits, but this one reveals Grande as a force to be reckoned with. ‘God is a woman’ sparks an empowering feeling within women everywhere, flooding with seductiveness and domination. It is sultry, booming and liberating—everything you look for in a girl power jam. Not to mention, Grande’s vocals radiate with a chilling presence. If this song alone doesn’t win a Grammy, the music industry is rigged.
You didn’t really think we could stop at just five, right? Here are a few tracks from ‘sweetener’ that deserve recognition as well.
“Yeah, it feels so good to be so young/And have this fun and be successful, yeah/I’m so successful, yeah”—those are the surprisingly confident lyrics from the seventh track. It’s not often you hear the successes of a women paired without a backhanded compliment. Grande boasts about her happiness within her career, having fun doing what she loves. With an unforgettable chorus that’s bound to get stuck in your head, it’s a mantra we all want to live by.
Now here’s an anthem for all the girls out there trying to escape even the most unhealthy of situations. The singer recalls a toxic relationship, claiming she’s “better off” without her partner than being stuck in a place that’s taxing on her head and heart. It’s a suitable record for the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, where women overtake the mostly male-dominated perspective.
‘get well soon’
Closing out ‘sweetener’ is ‘get well soon’, a lustrous tune that is reminiscent of the singer’s track ‘Honeymoon Avenue’ from her debut album ‘Yours Truly.’ We can’t help but be reminded of young 2013 Ariana, when ‘The Way’ was her groundbreaking beginning into the pop music scene. Confirming the concluding track is about her problems with anxiety especially after the Manchester attack, it holds a special message for some fans; the last 40 seconds are filled with silence, extending the track time to 5:22—the date of the Manchester bombing on May 22nd. It’s a touching tribute to her lost fans but also a testament to Grande’s creative power.
Now that we’ve painstakingly handpicked our faves, it’s your turn! Vote for your all-time favorite song from Ariana Grande’s ‘sweetener’ below.