Ariana Grande embraces sorrow in “Sweetener”


Two years after the release of her hit album “Dangerous Woman,” pop singer Ariana Grande wows fans with her newly released pop album, “Sweetener.” Grande honors the victims of the suicide bombing attack in Manchester, England that occurred during Grande’s “Dangerous Woman” tour. By weaving mellow beats and pop tracks together, Grande effortlessly pieces together a distinguishable collection of songs.

In her cover of “An Angel Cried” titled “raindrops,” Grande sorrowfully and passionately belts out the last verse to pay tribute to the victims of the attack. The album opens with a 37-second acapella cover of the song “An Angel Cried” by The Four Seasons. “raindrops” brings Grande’s vulnerability to the forefront

The next track, “blazed,” contrasts the serious tone of “raindrops” with its funky tune and vivacious feeling. Rapper Pharrell Williams and Grande join together, and their vocals complement each other flawlessly against the thumping, catchy beat.

Grande discusses her struggle with anxiety and her inability to take a full breath during overwhelming situations in her ninth track, “breathin.” The song starts off mellow and soft but slowly crescendos into a more upbeat and pop tune. After overcomplicating situations, Grande describes the exact feeling she feels during an anxiety attack. By opening up about her battle with anxiety, Grande connects with fans who share her struggles. This emotional vulnerability turns on its head when she boldly declares her love for her fiance in the track “pete davidson.” The track’s smooth rhythm and blues beats coupled with Grande’s sultry voice make “pete davidson” a surprising standout track on the album.

As an outro to her album, Grande touches upon her anxiety and the Manchester attack again in her last track, “get well soon.” Despite the abrupt transition from the upbeat vibe of “pete davidson” to a more serious sound, “get well soon,” the sorrowful piano flawlessly complements Grande’s crooning voice. However, the instrumentals are overpowering at times and make her difficult to understand. To make the song 5 minutes and 22 seconds, the date of the Manchester bombing, Grande adds 40 seconds of silence at the end of the song, honoring the victims.

“Sweetener” is defined by Grande’s open vulnerability and raw emotion by touching on her anxiety and the guilt she feels towards the Manchester attack. Throughout “Sweetener,” Grande embodies the essence of her album by including emotional lyrics and serene melodies that compliment her delicate voice.

By Flora Lei, Arts editor
Photo courtesy of iTunes

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