Posted in Album Reviews, music

Album Review: Ariana Grande – ‘Positions’. A SOLID body of work.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve always known that for artists, albums are their most prized possessions. The process of creating an album takes so much thought and precision, from the content, theme, all the way down to the track listing order. Sometimes I feel that some people forget the strength and courage it takes to release an album with songs that for the artists may be extremely personal and triggering.

This new Ariana album feels like we are sitting behind her during an intense therapy session. Throughout the album I felt like I could understand exactly how Ariana was feeling at the time of recording the songs featured. The whole album transitions perfectly into a body of work that she should certainly be proud of.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Ariana’s last album but this album really spoke to me. Here are some key tracks for me:

shut up:

This is the intro track on the album which explains the shortness in length. I really enjoyed the backing instruments on this song, it feels like a build up for something bigger. The song is really just a message to the people that spend their times worrying about other people’s lives.

34+35

Boy!!!!! Okay, so firstly when I heard this song and saw the title I didn’t put 2 and 2 together (not a pun). I fell in love with the beat and Ariana’s tone! As you get deeper into the song however, you slowly begin to realise the meaning of the song title and understand the link between that and the context of the song. This being the second song on the album, I got the impression Ariana was really not going to hold back on this album at all. She has always had songs that allude to sexual relationships or have sexual connotations however this is a very blatant reference. I do however love the fact she still manages to keep it classy. It’s hard to remember that Ariana is a grown 27 year old woman as some of us may still see her as a young teenage singer. I think the past few albums Ariana has put out, she has tried to prove to us that she is now a woman in her own right.

just like magic

WHAT IS IT WITH ARIANA AND THESE PERFECT BEATS!!!???? I almost want her to drop a 16 with some of these incredible beats she has! This song won me over from the first few seconds! This for me was such a positive song and you can tell that at this point in the album she was gaining her confidence again. The song alludes to the law of attraction with the idea that you get back what you put out.

Good karma, my aesthetic (Aesthetic), keep my conscience clear, that’s why I’m so magnetic. Just like magic (Yeah), I’m attractive (Oh yeah) I get everything I want ’cause I attract it (Oh)”

Law of Attraction.

This song is one of the reasons I feel like we were flies on the wall in her therapy sessions. This song feels like something you tell yourself when you are healing from a lot of trauma and heartbreak. It feels like this is faith talking and the hope that in future things will get better if you begin to think differently and approach life in a different way.

Image from: https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/9476389/ariana-grande-tommy-brown-positions-interview

off the table Ft. The Weeknd

WOW. This song showcases Ariana’s vulnerability to another level. There are some songs that when you hear, even if you may not relate to what is going on, you somehow empathise with the artist and feel every emotion they are singing about. This song was one of those. The opening lines of the song; “Will I ever love the same way again?. Will I ever love somebody like the way I did you? are lines that every woman who has been badly heartbroken has said to themselves.

I’ve always wondered why people wish to find/chase the same feeling of love every time. I believe that love will always be relative to the person or circumstance. Sometimes I even think that is for the best. Ultimately chasing a previous kind of love is not giving your new situation the fresh chance it deserves. Love always evolves.

There is a theme of lack of faith in future happiness and lack of faith in love itself throughout the whole song. Ariana repeatedly sings throughout the song “Not yet healed already” emphasising the fact she is still raw from the heartbreak. The Weeknd sounds perfect on this song and his verse uses the role of a lover that is reassuring Ariana that he will wait until she is ready to let him in and trust in love again. The song for me is a representation of the whole theme of the album. Acknowledging where you are emotionally is part of the healing process. She understands there is long way to go but she has already made so much progress and is ready to get better.

safety net

It’s hard to believe that this is only the first collaboration between these two as the musical chemistry is beautiful. Ty’s harmonies with Ariana make this the kind of song you can close your eyes to and still feel everything and feel safe which coincides with the theme of the song. This song alludes to the idea that Ariana is willing to give love another go acknowledging her fears and hesitation to get hurt. Again, this is progress from her song ‘off the table” showing the growth.

nasty

Similar to the track ’34+35′, Ariana expresses exactly how she feels and articulates her sexual needs with her partner. I really like this sassy, confident side to Ariana.

obvious

This song towards the end of the album focusses on how Ariana is starting to believe in love again. In the first verse she sings “Nothin’ else, nothin’ more important, makes me wanna believe in love” and in the second she sings; “Never thought I’d believe in love again”. FINALLY she is beginning to believe again!!! *smiles*

pov

This was the song that actually managed to break me! Hands down my favourite from the album. Ariana was spot on for putting this as the climax to the album. Even now, I cannot listen to this song without tearing up. This may be my favourite song from her period! The song focuses on how her lover sees her and Ariana wishes she could see herself in the same beautiful light he sees her. I feel this song is the result of all the trauma, tribulations, hurt and anguish Ariana has experienced. Sometimes when someone has gone through so much it takes a long time to accept someone else to fully love them.

On the second verse Ariana sings; “I’m getting used to receiving” implying she maybe was the one in relationships that always gave, something that has evidently contributed to her hurt. She also sings; “I’ma love you even though I’m scared. Learnin’ to be grateful for myself“, implying that she is going through the process of self love too. For me, this song is Ariana singing that she wants to get better and wants to finally let go of the hurt so she can finally be happy like she deserves to be. She is realising she needs to forgive herself and begin to love herself again in order to experience everything she wants to experience. Ultimately no matter how much someone loves you, you won’t be able to understand or accept it fully if you don’t have the same amount of self love. Such a beautiful song.

I know I haven’t talked much about Ariana’s vocals but that is simply because she is consistently flawless on this album as she is on every single piece of work she puts out.

Overall for me this album is what I would call a SOLID piece of work. Ariana touches on life, love, heartbreak, sex, happiness, sadness and self love to name a few. You get the sense that the next album Ariana puts out will be a completely different energy, a new awakening so to speak. I look forward to the positive changes that will be coming to her from this therapeutic album and I really hope she has managed to heal/find peace.

Posted in music

#NewMusicFriday

Hey everyone! Finally the end of the week which means new music has arrived! I’ve compiled a list of 5 songs recently released that I am loving! Have a listen below;

2 Chainz Ft. Lil Wayne & E-40 – 2 Dollar Bill

Lil Wayne has been on point with his features recently! This song, with West Coast vibes, is taken from 2 Chainz’ new album ‘Rap or Go to the League’ and is produced by DJ Mustard (so you know the beat is gonna be sick!). In the song the men compare themselves to a “2 Dollar Bill” which happens to be one of the rarest dollar bills in America. For me, Lil Wayne’s feature was the best on this song. There is a part in Wayne’s verse; ” I’m rare, like a commercial with Future and Cher, like a cop that’s fair, like a triple-double dare”, where the flow switches and you really see Lil Wayne’s talent. I like how all artists had great examples of things that were rare, some comical while some sensitive. Have a listen below:

Ms Banks Ft. Kida Kudz – Snack

UK rapper Ms Banks has been on a roll recently, having recently performed at the Brit Awards with Little Mix and now releasing a new banger. The song which uses a sample from Nigerian superstar Wizkid’s hit song “Don’t Dull” (2010) is a summer hit. The song which features Nigerian Afrobeat singer Kida Kudz is the first single released from her upcoming project ‘Coldest Winter Ever Pt.2’. I like the confidence Ms Banks exhibits in this song, I think this is a song that many women will be singing. The video is bright and bubbly too and gives me Nicki Minaj ‘Barbie Dreams’ vibes. I’m ready for this new and improved Ms Banks, it seems like she is ready to take over the female UK rap scene! Have a listen and watch below.


Mercston Ft Wretch 32 – No Banter

I previously uploaded the video to this on my Instagram page (www.instagram.com/musicandlifeblog). I love this song and the visuals! Wretch 32 was giving me Bob Marley vibes with his new look and sound and the two of them played off each-other so well with their playful lyrics. The chorus is possibly one of the most catchy hooks I’ve heard this year and I’m sure you will be singing “I feel a way” randomly throughout the day like I have been! The video reflects the fun vibe the song gives with the men having fun in the snow. I think this song will be played everywhere in the summer. Have a listen and watch the video below

2 Chainz Ft. Ariana Grande – Rule the World

Looking at this collaboration on paper, it’s hard to guess what this would sound like but you will be pleasantly surprised as their voices complimented each other throughout. The song also taken from 2 Chainz new album ‘Rap or Go to the League’ uses a sample from Amerie’s 2002 song “Why Don’t We Fall In Love”. Ariana sings the chorus “Top down on the Dawn like I’m used to it (Yeah), prayin’ you make it home like I’m used to it” with her unique soft but sensual voice. The song is produced by Hitmaka (or Yung Berg as I think of him as) and the beat compliments the fusion of both aritists. The song is one of those songs you can vibe to and feel good about. Check out below;

Here is the Amerie song that it was influenced by:

Giggs Ft. Wretch 32 Gwop Expenses

The Landlord Giggs arrives again with his new album ‘Big Bad’ which was released last week Friday. This is my favourite song from the track which features Wretch 32. Wretch has a memorable verse on this song and his witty wordplay does not go unnoticed. My favourite lines; ”
I got Jaden in my will, uncle, how you feel?, Call me Fresh Prince, I bring Bel-Air up to your grill”…who does metaphors as good as Wretch?! With all these features that Wretch has been killing recently, I really hope this is a sign for us to look forward to a new Wretch project hopefully coming soon. Check out the song below:

Posted in music

3 Tracks you should be listening to:

I’ve been slacking with my usual throwback reviews or new music reviews. Content will be back to normal very soon. In the meantime, I have a few songs on repeat on my Spotify atm and think you guys should check them out.

1. Professor Green Ft Rag’n’Bone Man – Photographs

I am a fan of Pro Green & love his deeper songs. Similarly to “Never be a right time”, this is another personal and relatable song with a beautiful message. I read somewhere that he said the track is “all about wishing for the photos we can no longer take”. The song is also a tribute to his dad who sadly commuted suicide. The lyrics are so touching and Pro Green is ultimately saying that photographs help when thinking of those we have lost, as he states “Just a memory of you is not enough”. The collaboration from Rag’n’Bone Man is perfect as the song has a great balance. One of the most memorable lines for me is when Pro Green raps “We all thought that the moments would last but the moments don’t last, the moments pass & the only thing that lasts is the photograph”. Hopefully this song inspires people to take more photos of and with their loved ones!

2. Ariana Grande – thank u, next

This song has gained so much attention for obvious reasons. I am beginning to really enjoy Ariana Grande songs. It may be due to the fact I feel she is maturing alot more in her song content and even her voice. The vocal ability in this song is overlooked. The great thing about this song is that it had the potential to become a very bitter song with a bad message but she has turned it in such a positive way. The message being sometimes in life we go through highs and lows, we fall in love and get hurt. The main thing to remember is each lesson you learn from each experience. Song content aside, the music production and Ariana’s angelic voice are amazing in this track. Only bad thing is that it’s so catchy that you will be saying “next” after every “thank you” now! Haha!

3. Mr Eazi – Yard & Chill

Mr Eazi has just released a new mixtaoe entitled “Lagos to London”. The EP contains a collection of great songs but this is one of the ones I’ve been playing since the release. The song is produced by one of my favourite producers Jae5. It’s a feel good song with incredible music production that would make you think you are listening to a live rendition in your earphones. “Give me love baby, don’t be wicked”, you will be screaming this line in a Nigerian accent after hearing this song. The song reminds me of an African themed Orchestra or Highlife music. I recommend you play this song on the loudest volume to appreciate the sound at its best!