Watch the video: https://youtu.be/tcYodQoapMg
Arianna Grande is not for me. Her voice is too airy, like if her singing voice was a cloud it would be one of those dumb whispy boys and not a thick cumulonimbus. There just feels like there is nothing to it. Her beats often do not help. They are set to match her voice, so they’re just as weak and nebulous. Yet she’s found her fans to be sure, and it is no surprise that when she has a song come out that it tops the charts.
positions (in all lower case just to annoy me) starts really strong. By starts I mean how the first few bars of Latin guitar and strings gives it throwback vibe it quickly tosses for more of her usual production work. From there it feels and sounds like so much of her normal work.
In positions (okay, so maybe all lower case isn’t so bad) though it is about how meeting somone new made her switch how she usually acts. This person is just so great that she wants to be different. Lines like, “Switching the positions for you… Know my love infinite nothing I wouldn’t do/That I won’t do, switching for you,” followed by, “[Eff] it, now I’m running with you (with you),” and, “This some shit that I/Usually don’t do (Yeah)/But for you I kinda/Kinda want to/‘Cause you’re down for me,” all convey that. The in between lyrics being more specific on how she feels.
Now the song is simple. I understand that, but if you don’t know where I am going to go with this then you’re new (hi, great to have you here. Try the cheese plate it’s dairy free). The issue being how there is no setup to what she usually does and what makes this person different. The line in the intro, “Heaven sent you to me/I’m just hoping I don’t repeat history,” tries to do both. Someone sent this person to her and she doesn’t want to mess up, but more setup wouldn’t go unwanted.
The song is short both in time and in lyrics. It’s under 3 minutes and has two brief verses. The quote above is all of verse one, for contrast, with a repeated pre-chorus and chorus. There is space to use. Make the verses longer or cut the pre-chorus. I would like to know what is different about this person that it makes her want to not mess up, and what are her usual mistakes. If answers are in the album of the same name that is great, but doesn’t make the single any more fleshed out (there is also a whole read about the dangers of being so devoted to a person – I don’t want to assume man because the gender isn’t expressed, but it works regardless of gender. It’s fine to want to do things for the person you love, but it can also be read as forcing it. She is, “… in the Olympics way I’m jumping through hoops,” which seems like it could be codependent since so little information is provided. Unfortunately or fortunately for this song it’s sparse nature saves it from this criticism because there isn’t enough there to make an argument work).
The video seems to be more of a general female empowerment anthem with Grande working as the president and switching to other professions like terrible chef (I mean did you see how she just ruined that pizza toss?). It makes the song turn instead from a love song to one of self improvement. No romantic interest shows up. It’s either her by herself or with her White House staff. The ones of her alone where a man should be gives it that feel that she is switching positions to make herself better. She’s changing for herself. The person heaven sent to her was herself (or her happiness) and she wants to make that better by changing. That almost works, but too many of the lyrics, “Boy I’m tryna meet your mama
On a Sunday/Then make a lotta love/On a Monday,” show that can’t be it. But it is still an interesting interpretation of the song, and supporting USPS staff is greatly appreciated in this time.
I am self aware enough to realize I often heavily over analyze the songs I cover. This one being a great example. It’s just supposed to be a nice song about how loving the right person makes you want to be better. That’s all there is to it, but that same problem of being sparse and airy holds it back. For, why can’t it be about that and provide context for either how her behavior is different, or why this person is different? Ariana doesn’t want it to be. That’s fine. Her stans like it well enough, but it feels like they are settling when the song could be so much better.
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