The Outlook

Ariana Grande Surprises Fans with Vocals on Sweetener

Rian Sanders, Writer

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This past year has been one to remember for Ariana Grande. May marked the one-year anniversary of the bombing at her Manchester concert. The attack left 22 people dead and at least 59 injured, turning her world upside down. Not a month later, Grande was back on stage with a benefit concert titled “One Love Manchester,” where she sang and paid her respects to the lost and injured fans. Since the incident, she had been working in the studio making music. Grande later explained that her decision to continue to make music was an act of bravery inspired by her fans.

After a carefully calculated social media campaign, Grande released her highly anticipated fourth album Sweetener. The release, which has a more meaningful undertone and a mature sound, relies heavily on her astounding vocals. “Sweetener” has more of a playful tone than her last album, Dangerous Woman. It is also heavily influenced by Pharrell Williams, who produced eight out of the 15 tracks.

The first track is a soothing acapella song called “Raindrops.” The mind-blowing vocals on this 37-second track prepare you for a load of talent in Grande’s unexpectedly soulful voice. Like many moments on Dangerous Women, soft-spoken Grande doesn’t fail to take advantage of a moment to showcase her talents.

Grande utilizes her voice to deliver the emotions behind her meaningful lyrics. This album, straying away from her usual sound, still manages to capture her usual poppy undertone. Despite this, I was indifferent to it. Although many of lyrics hold a lot of weight, the repetition creates a redundant sound song after song, making it hard to listen to it all the way through.

Despite the album not capturing her full potential, it’s impressive that even at a half full glass, Grande still manages to exude more talent than most current artists. One track that stood out was “breathin.” The song contains lyrics to reference her healing process after the Manchester incident.

The album ends with “better off,” a two-minute closure that references her break up with rapper Mac Miller and how she transitioned from that relationship to her new life with fiancé Pete Davidson.

“Sweetener,” although not lyrically Grande’s best, was still enough to let her withhold her position as one of the best vocalists of our generation. Her talents will forever keep her name beside greats like Mariah Carey and one of Grande’s influencers, Amy Winehouse. Grande really did defeat the stereotype that fourth albums are subpar

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Ariana Grande Surprises Fans with Vocals on Sweetener