‘Sweetener’ delivers reinvented sound

Ariana Grande sweetens the final days of summer


Fair use from Republic Records

Jenna Cook

Following the tragic suicide bombing at one of her concerts last May 22, Ariana Grande put on a charity concert in memoriam of the victims. She has also performed at political events such as the March for Our Lives. Despite the traumatic experience, Grande has been hard at work on new music.

“Sweetener” gives listeners a wide range of music from suave floaty tunes to more edgy, gritty rap-style songs, appealing to a large audience.

“Sweetener” opens with “raindrops (an angel cried),” reaching the audience with a minimalist track showing off Grande’s raw talent as a singer.

Grande has obviously taken a shot at reinventing her sound with dreamy nostalgic vibes in many of her new songs. “R.E.M.” is a bassy, slow-paced song with simple harmonies giving light and enjoyable sound reminiscent of some slower songs from past albums. Similarly, “everytime” gives a slower beat that makes listeners want to move, and is one of the tracks that works best with her vocals. “everytime” also invokes nostalgia with early an 2000’s-esque bassline and main chorus.

One track that will find its way into my regular rotation is “goodnight n go.” With simple lyrics, the song offers a good balance of production and vocals, which cannot be said for every track on the album. It showcases Grande’s vocals without overshadowing her with synth and electronic sounds. “goodnight n go” makes me want to take a spontaneous cross country road trip with nothing but this song on repeat. Also “breathin” allows Grande to shine through on her own, the accompaniment compliments her voice nicely, making it one of the better songs.

Grande also named a track, “pete davidson,” after her fiance. The enticing harmonies of the song give a playful feel that prompts hope for their future.

Additionally, Grande added 40 extra seconds of silence to the final song on the album, “get well soon,” as a dedication to the victims killed at Manchester. The added silence makes the song five minutes and 22 seconds for May 22, the date of the bombing. This is a thoughtful and emotional addition to the track, and a powerful reminder of pain in the world.

The album includes three features, most of which rubbed me the wrong way. “blazed,” features Pharrell Williams, and the artists’ voices and opposite styles clash unpleasantly. They throw off the vibe of the song instead of creating one cohesive piece of art.

Previous collaborator Nicki Minaj with whom Grande has worked in the past on fun projects such as Grande’s “Side to Side.” is featured on“the light is coming.” However, this song makes me want to do nothing but skip it.

Grande has decided to take her music in an interesting direction. “Sweetener” holds promise for the future of Grande’s career, proving she knows how to stay relevant. Giving her fans some impressive new tracks, she will undoubtedly remain a topic of discussion for weeks to come.