Ariana Grande’s ‘Sweetener’ is here! I have some thoughts
This isn’t a formal review of Ariana Grande’s newest album “Sweetener.” This is just a collection of my thoughts that I had when I’ve listened to this album. I decided to take the weekend to let the entire album sink in. That’s not a bad thing at all. I can already tell you that it is going to be an album that people will split on. Let’s get started on the breakdown on this album.
Let’s talk about it…
I have mixed feeling on “Sweetener.” Ariana is experimenting and growing as an artist and I’m here for it. I really enjoyed the album and thought that it was a fun listen. Stuff like how the lyrics and how she made the littlest thing dirty is what I enjoyed the most. She turned ice cream into a sex reference. It’s that kind of album. It’s those moments that will go unnoticed because of how the album was produced.
Personally, I think Pharrell had too much control on the album. I have nothing against them. In small doses, I think the dude is fine. But some of the album just seems are over-produced and it’s his songs. There’s just too much going on. I enjoyed the second half of the album, which he didn’t touch besides a few. It takes a few listens to like his songs. I like to compare this relationship to the working relationship that will.i.am and Britney Spears had. They did one slightly good song, “Scream & Shout,” and the next thing you know he over-produced her 2013 album “Britney Jean,” which is her worst album. I respect both highly but their contributions to “Sweetener” and Britney Spears’ discography, respectively, weren’t anything good. They are a little out of touch on what sounds like music people would listen to.
The collabs on the album also aren’t anything to go home about. “The Light is Coming” is a hot mess with Nicki Minaj. I would have just placed Ariana and Nicki’s song “Bed” in its spot because it’s a strong and more enjoyable song. Fans made better versions of the song. “Borderline” was just there and has this weak verse from Missy Elliot. It just seemed like both didn’t have time to be there so they rushed it real quick in the studio. I’m just going to ignore the Pharrell collab. You probably could guess my thoughts on it.
Again, I really enjoyed listening to the album. I had a very good experience listening to it. I just happened to really enjoy the non-Pharrell track, or the second half way more. “Sweetener” came across over-produced and lacking a solid direction. There was Pharrell’s direction and what I’m assuming was Ariana’s direction. If it was more like Ariana’s direction, then there would be no division. “God is a woman” and “no tears left to cry” are going to be the standouts of the album. My other favorites are “everytime,” “breathin,” and “goodnight n go.”
There is a song dedicated to those that died at the terrorist attacks during one of Ariana’s concert. “get well soon” is five minutes and 22 seconds long, which is the date that the event happened. “get well soon” is a lovely track produced by Pharrell. It even ends with 40 seconds of silence in their honor. Before it, Ariana Grande dedicated a song to her fiancé Pete Davidson. It’s a sweet song that doesn’t really add anything to the album. It’s like getting your lover’s name tattooed on you. I wish them both all the love and happiness in the world *sips some of that tea.*
Overall, I don’t see “Sweetener” being the album that people recommend when they think of Ariana Grande. That is sad because with songs like “no tears left to cry” and “God is a woman,” it had so much potential. But over-production that caused it to have lack of consistency is its downfall. “Dangerous Woman” continues to be the strongest album of her to date. I enjoyed “Sweetener” but just wished it was more like the non-Pharrell songs. If I had to give it a rating, then it would be a 3.5 out of 5. “Sweetener” needs to work, bitch, if it looking to live up to “Dangerous Woman.”
Oh, here’s the Pharrell songs: “blazed,” “the light is coming,” “R.E.M,” “sweetener,” “successful,” “borderline,” and “get well soon.”
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