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Album review: Sweetener

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Kiley Ring

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Grande belts one of her songs out to an admiring crowd on tour. Grande embarked on her Dangerous Woman tour throughout 2017 and is headed on her Sweetener tour next year.

Photo credit to Flickr

Grande belts one of her songs out to an admiring crowd on tour. Grande embarked on her Dangerous Woman tour throughout 2017 and is headed on her Sweetener tour next year.

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With the release of her fourth album in August, singer Ariana Grande has topped the charts with Sweetener, a 15-track pop album infused with her signature high notes and stylish titles like the radio hit “God Is a Woman,” which was accompanied by a breathtaking music video, and “Pete Davidson,” a track named after her new fiancé.

The accomplished 25-year-old’s latest album has already broken several records, including the global Spotify record for the biggest opening week for a female artist. Pharrell Williams, the singer of one of 2013’s top radio hits, “Happy,” co-wrote and helped produce seven of the songs on the album. Grande also features several other artists on the album, including rappers Nicki Minaj and Missy Elliott.

Sweetener follows three other studio albums: Yours Truly, My Everything and Dangerous Woman, and has proven to be completely different than her previous albums.

Grande’s album covers have previously been in black and white; with her first colorized album cover, Grande is setting a statement. In a recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Grande explained the meaning behind the name Sweetener.

“It’s kind of about, like, bringing light to a situation, or to someone’s life, or somebody else who brings light to your life, or sweetening the situation,” Grande said.

Sweetener features songs of various styles, kicking the album off with a cover of the Four Seasons’ song “An Angel Cried.” She sings with Minaj in “The Light Is Coming,” a dance-techno song where Williams’ influence is very evident. The title track, “Sweetener,” switches between Grande’s one-of-a-kind vocals in the verses and a harder and more raw beat in the chorus. Later in the album, Grande sings “Breathin’” and “Get Well Soon,” both of which deal with her struggles with anxiety.

The album was met with positive reviews upon its release.

“[It’s] the best album of her career,” Brittany Spanos, staff writer for The Rolling Stone, said in her article about the album. “One of 2018’s strongest pop releases to date.”

The album has reached worldwide success, and students at WJ have agreed with the positive feedback the dynamic album has received.

Junior Holly Darby has found Grande’s album to be far better than her other albums and believes it sets Grande apart from other artists.

Sweetener is a nice refresher from her previous albums. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve heard her as a headline artist,” Darby said.

However, not everybody has responded as positively to the album. Junior Halley Raynes believes that the album is not Grande’s best work.

“It’s just superficial music. There are no real emotions and there’s no real beat,” Raynes said.

Grande’s album has overall been a huge success. She is rumored to be embarking on a headline tour for her album in 2019, and until then, fans are left playing “No Tears Left to Cry” on repeat.

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About the Writer
Kiley Ring, Feature Editor

Kiley Ring is a junior this year at WJ. She took Journalism 1 last year and is excited to be working on The Pitch as a Feature Editor this year. In her...

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Album review: Sweetener