Just a few short weeks ago Ariana Grande surprised her fans with some news — she’d already completed her sixth album, and would be releasing it later that month. Considering Grande’s recent string of successes, all coming in quick succession, the news was met with glee and excitement. Arianators got Sweetener in 2018 and Thank U, Next in 2019, yet another album just over a year later was almost shocking. It was also a welcome distraction in a year plagued with a literal plague, a social justice uprising, and one of the most contentious elections in recent memory.
The record, released just over a week ago on October 30, served as a crossroads for the young star: Would she return with polished ballads and gilded anthems in the vein of Sweetener and her past discography, or continue the rap-inflected, low-key bangers that defined her last album and earned her sweeping commercial success? The answer was definitely the latter, which left some fans missing her vocal acrobatics and more robust, upbeat tunes. For others, the casually understated, explicit horniness of Positions is totally welcome as an extension of her Thank U, Next era. So where does this sixth album fall in her discography overall?