Friday, November 6th, 2020

Ariana Grande – Positions

It should be Obvious: this is just our POV, and whether you think we’re Nasty and should Shut Up, or that we’re speaking your Love Language, our Motive is to inform you about our Positions. Uh… this song scored higher than a Six Thirty but lower than 34+35.


Edward Okulicz: Knowing that Ari was making some kind of statement, and not just trying a slightly more difficult dive in the pool, I turned, as one must to a YouTube video called “positions – Ariana Grande (1 HOUR LOOP)” to get to the bottom of it. I found myself really enjoying every part of the song except the “meet your mama on a Sunday” part which is both lyrically and melodically perfunctory in a song that otherwise seems very deliberate. It’s not revolutionary but it’s quite clever how the adult ins-and-outs of a relationship are presented so simply.

Will Adams: The ’00s R&B pastiche of Grande’s earlier singles often felt like just that: pastiche. Lovely as the songs were, that extra sheen of nostalgia-goading production undercut them slightly. “Positions” finds Grande in that same territory — the plucked strings and days-of-the-week tally recall Craig David — but now she exhibits the cool confidence of “Thank U, Next.” It’s nice to witness that growth, even if she’s still operating at about 20% intelligibility.

Alfred Soto: She has stronger new material, and she sings like she has a cactus stuck in her throat, but her forthrightness has evolved from patina to conviction.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Earlier in the week, I wrote a blurb about how “Positions” is a perfectly adequate Sweetener-esque pop song that ultimately feels bathetic given Ariana’s imperial chart domination, and gave it a [5]. Then, a good friend of mine texted me that this song is actually a verse gay anthem, and I decided it couldn’t be anything lower than a [9]. And finally, after taking a little bit of time to cool off and listening to the track in the context of its parent album, I finally landed at a score that reflects its high level of pleasure, but low level of ambition. You could say that I’ve been switching my positions on “Positions”?

Alex Clifton: Fine, if not a little boring. I don’t expect every Ariana song to one-up every other single she’s released (that’s not how singles work!) but at the same time it’s really hard to follow the Sweetener/Thank U, Next era. She worked great art out of her trauma (which isn’t a requirement of all great art, but her particular past merits mentioning), but I’m really pleased to learn that she’s happy now and in a nice, loving relationship. The music video is excellent, but this is a rating for a song, not the video, so…

Andy Hutchins: As Ariana singles destined to live at the top of the charts go, “Positions” is some missionary, vanilla stuff: It’ll scratch an itch, but it does nothing new or inventive. As London on da Track’s career goes, though, “Positions” could be a watershed moment: Thanks largely to that plucked guitar, he’s put together a distinctive, lively production that’s going to be well-remembered by pop fans and Ari stans, and should propel him to the company of the best of the rap producer diaspora.

Thomas Inskeep: The plucked violin on “Positions” gets under my skin, as does the way Grande plays with the meter of the words on the chorus (leaning on some and rushing through others), and the genuinely fun flirtiness you can hear in her voice helps bring the song home. 

Nortey Dowuona: Plucked synth strings, a swirl of crickets and deflated, pulsing bass drums pull Ariana out of the aether as the whirling strings stitch and grow behind the lilting guitar flips on the chorus where Ari chills out in. Then the hovering synth chords float her back amongst an overlay of background takes, then she twirls in riffs, overdubs and a…flute? Then she slides back down and out of sight.

Reader average: [3.5] (4 votes)

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One Response to “Ariana Grande – Positions”

  1. couldn’t get it together to blurb this but it just feels a little unimaginative that the only positions she could think of were cooking in the kitchen and just being in the bedroom

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