By Terrance Turner
Oct. 29, 2020
(Updated Dec. 20, 2020; Jan. 14, 2021)
In a (somewhat) surprising late-night move in October, Ariana Grande released a new album, Positions. According to RapUp, the 14-track project includes the title track, plus appearances from rappers Ty Dolla $ign (“Safety Net”) and Doja Cat on “Motive.” Grande also reunites with her “Love Me Harder” collaborator, singer ‘The Weeknd’, on “Off the Table.” That track features Grande questioning whether to explore a new relationship after a major loss.
The lyrics are almost certainly a reference to her late ex, rapper Mac Miller. He died suddenly from an accidental overdose in 2018, at 26. Grande ended her rapid-fire engagement to actor Pete Davidson within weeks of Miller’s tragic death. Now, she wonders if finding love again is “off the table”. “Will I ever love the same way again? Will I ever love somebody like the way I did you? Never thought you’d be so damn hard to replace,” she muses. “Might not be quite yet healed or ready/shouldn’t be going too steady,” she sings.
But she’s definitely ready to spend some time in bed. “Can you stay up all night?/F–k me ’till the daylight,” she sings on the suggestively titled “34+35”. “I know all of your favorite spots/We can take it from the top,” she sings. “You’re such a dream come true/Make a b—h wanna hit snooze.”
UPDATE: On Jan. 14, 2021, Grande upped the ante with an ultra-raunchy remix, featuring rappers Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion. “Can we stay up all night, f–k a jet lag/You bring your fine ass and overnight bag,” Doja Cat raps on her verse. During her verse, she also throws in a jab at disgraced rapper Tekashi69. She sings, “Add up the numbers or get behind that/Play and rewind that/Listen, you’ll find that/I want that 69 without Tekashi/And I want your body and I make it obvious/Wake up the neighbors, we got an audience”. This shade comes comes eight months after they first started feuding over who deserved the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts, according to Complex.
Houston rapper Megan thee Stallion throws in some lascivious bars of her own on her verse. “Netflix or Hulu? Baby, you choose/I’m up like Starbucks, three pumps, ooh/This p—y good for your health, call it superfood/When I’m by myself, DIY like it’s YouTube/Rock you like a baby/But you know I’m ’bout to keep you up,” Meg raps. “Bad, bad b—h/All the boys wanna spank me/Left him on read, girlfriend need to thank me/Make his toes point, ballerina, no tutu/Baby, I’m the best/I don’t know what the rest do.”
Later in the album, Grande takes things even further. On “Nasty,” she sings: “Promise I’mma give it to you like you never had it / I do it so good it’s gonna be hard to break the habit / You’re like a whole constellation / Swimming like you’re on vacation.”
On the title track, Grande sings about a heavenly love that has her playing different roles at once. “Heaven sent you to me/I’m just hoping I don’t repeat history,” she sings. “Boy, I’m tryna meet your mama on a Sunday/Then make a lotta love on a Monday.” On the chorus, Grande demonstrates the title’s metaphor a little more directly: “Switching the positions for you/Cooking in the kitchen and I’m in the bedroom/I’m in the Olympics way; I’m jumpin’ through hoops/And my love infinite, nothing I wouldn’t do/That I won’t do/Switchin’ for you.” The lyrics likely reference Grande’s current beau, Dalton Gomez.
The new album is available for streaming on Tidal, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Tidal, and YouTube Music, among other platforms. (Positions, her sixth studio album, debuted at Number One on the Rolling Stone Top 200 Albums chart.) You can stream the album at https://arianagrande.lnk.to/positions. You can listen to the album’s title track (and see Grande as Madame President, with an all-female White House staff) below.
UPDATE (Nov. 23, 2021): Positions has been nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album. The title track is also nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance. Because she co-wrote “I Don’t Do Drugs” for rapper Doja Cat’s album Planet Her, Grande is also eligible for Album of the Year, due to a rule change by the Recording Academy:
The Grammys will take place on Jan. 31, 2022.