ARTIST OF THE MONTH: ARIANA GRANDE
Ariana Grande has established herself as a constantly on-the-rise pop star with an impressive and canny sense of taste. That is no different on her third album," Sweetener," released on August 17, 2018, through Republic Records. She has definitely moved further up the stardom ladder with her album "Dangerous Woman," released in 2016. The producers and songwriters on the album, including pop powerhouse Max Martin and she, established a versatile sense of range, shifting from electro-pop to various big-tent EDM strains. On "Sweetener," her often delightful and sometimes maddening new record displays a newfound maturity and a refreshing taste in off-kilter beats.
In the aftermath of a terrorist attack at her 2017 concert in Manchester, England, the first single released from the album is “No Tears Left to Cry.” The song Instantly became one of Grande’s signature songs, and it seems increasingly likely that she’ll still be belting it out in arenas years from now. "Sweetener" opens with a run of infectiously fun Pharrell productions. Standouts include “Blazed,” which is somehow not about smoking weed, and “The Light Is Coming,” which is linked to Pharrell’s song “Lemon” since both sample angry voices at a 2009 Pennsylvania town hall meeting. Perhaps one of the album's boldest tracks is "God is a Woman." It’s very sultry and more sexual than anything Grande has released in the past. The song also embraces feminism and feels particularly poignant given the #MeToo movement that was creating waves across the world and still is to an extent today.
With "Sweetener," there were a handful of tracks that blur into each other, and I’m sure she’s wishing she hadn’t including a short ode to her short-lived fiancé Pete Davidson. Other than that, it’s a confident pop record that kept her on the charts and in the hearts of her fanbase. Personally, I would love to hear what she can do with that huge voice she possesses and release a big ballad to showcase her amazing vocal range. We hope that she throws caution completely to the wind as we could use more pop music as imaginative as Sweetener’s highlights.