Sweetener Ariana Grande fourth studio album
You may also like : Dangerous Woman Ariana Grande third studio album
Sweetener is the fourth studio album by American singer Ariana Grande. It was released on August 17, 2018, through Republic Records. The album is the follow-up to her 2016 studio album, Dangerous Woman, and features guest appearances from Pharrell Williams, Nicki Minaj and Missy Elliott.
The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 earning 231,000 album-equivalent units in its first week of which 127,000 were from pure sales, thus becoming Grande’s third release to reach the top position in the country and subsequently marking the largest opening week numbers of her career. It also topped several international album charts, including in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, earning a gold certification in the latter.
The album has spawned three top-twenty singles in the United States. The lead single, “No Tears Left to Cry”, was released on April 20, 2018 alongside its music video, and debuted at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. “The Light Is Coming”, featuring Minaj, was released as a promotional single on June 20, 2018, along with the pre-order of the album. “God Is a Woman” was released as the second single on July 13, 2018, and peaked at number eight, while the third single “Breathin” debuted at number 22 following the album release and has since reached number 13.
Breathin from Sweetener Album
Background and recording
On November 13, 2016, Grande stated on Snapchat that she had finished her fourth album. She later clarified by saying, “I didn’t mean to make an album, and I don’t know if it’s done at all, but I just have a bunch of songs that I really really like. I’ve been working a lot and have been creating and feeling inspired.” In December 2017, she confirmed that she was still working on the album.
Grande’s manager Scooter Braun told Variety that the album has a more mature sound: “It’s time for [Ariana] to sing the songs that define her … Whitney, Mariah, Adele – when they sing, that’s their song. Ariana has big vocal moments; it’s time for her song.” Pharrell Williams told Los Angeles Times: “The things that [Ariana] has to say on this album, it’s pretty next-level.” Producers Max Martin and Savan Kotecha were later confirmed to have collaborated with Grande in the album. On December 28, 2017, Grande shared several pictures of her in the studio throughout the year. The following week, Grande shared a snippet from the album on her Instagram, which was later revealed to be a track titled “Get Well Soon”.
On April 16, 2018, it was reported that Grande may move up the lead single release to April 20, 2018, due to labelmate Post Malone’s album being released on April 27. On April 17, 2018, Grande announced that the album’s lead single, “No Tears Left to Cry”, would be released on April 20, 2018.
On The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Grande announced that her album would be called Sweetener. She said the meaning behind the title is “It’s kind of about like bringing light to a situation, or to someone’s life, or somebody else who brings light to your life, or sweetening the situation.” A May 2018 cover article in Timemagazine by Sam Lansky notes that, for the first time with this album, Grande “took the lead on writing”. In late May 2018, she announced that the album would feature 15 tracks and three collaborations, which are Missy Elliott, Nicki Minaj and Pharrell Williams.
In early June 2018, Grande announced at Wango Tango that the album would be available for pre-order on June 20, and “The Light Is Coming” would be released along with it. The second single, “God Is a Woman”, was initially scheduled to be released on July 20, 2018, however, she later moved the release forward a week to July 13. Prior to the album’s release, Spencer Kornhaber of The Atlantic commented that the first three singles from the album “sparked with a sense of defiance and rattled mortality … [a] trifecta of pseudo-spiritualism and sneaky innovation. … Grande’s music and videos radiate [intoxicating, unworried confidence]”.
Music and composition
“It’s definitely more personal. You know, I feel like ‘Dangerous Woman‘ was a grown-up ‘My Everything,’ and this is a grown-up ‘Yours Truly.‘”
— Ariana Grande on the album’s sound.
Sweetener consists mostly of pop, R&B, and trap songs that include elements of house, funk, neo souland hip hop music on its beats and productions.The melodies and harmonies on the album are diverse and include uptempo songs and many different down tempo sentimental ballads. It explores a diversity of other music genres, including tropical house, EDM, synthpop and minimalist urbaninfluences. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic stated that the album “deepens the R&B inclinations of 2016’s Dangerous Woman.” In an interview with Zach Sang she said: “Listen, the thing that I love most about this project sonically, is that all I really did was sing in my sweet lower register”.
Production and lyrics
The album begins with 38-second a cappella intro, “Raindrops (An Angel Cried)”, written by Bob Gaudio and performed by The Four Seasons. The song is known to completely show Grande’s vocals. “Blazed” is a high tempo funk-influenced song. It features vocals and background vocals by Pharrell Williams, who also produced the track. She first admitted the name of the song on her Twitter account. Lyrically, it is about “loving someone and being with them.” “The Light Is Coming” merges hip hop and R&B elements. Grande sings the lyrics “The light is coming / to give back everything the darkness stole”. Which is sung over a “jittery beat” that is used with quick drums and synths. It samples a CNN archive clip of a man who is shouting at former senator Arlen Specter at a town hall meeting in Pennsylvania in 2009 concerning healthcare (“You wouldn’t let anybody speak for this and instead!”). Israel Daramola described the song as a “glitchy, thumping” dance record with a sample that highlights Grande’s “nursery rhyme-style melody” “R.E.M” is an R&B song that is built over a smooth doo-wop beat.The song’s title stands for “rapid eye movement”, which is where memorable and vivid dreams occur. In an interview with Jimmy Fallon for the Tonight Show, she admitted that “R.E.M” was her favourite song. She later confirmed on Twitter that “R.E.M.” is a song based on Beyoncé’s demo titled “Wake Up”, a leftover from the singer’s 2013 self-titled album.
The track “God Is a Woman” contains lyrics about female sexual empowerment and spirituality; Time described the song as “an anthemic, sultry banger”. a trap-pop song,“God Is a Woman” contains influences of reggae. and is performed in the key of E♭minor with a tempo of 72–76 beats per minute. “Sweetener” (which is the title track) was the first song that Grande recorded for the album, and it features Williams vocals in the background similar to “R.E.M”. Being a trap-inspired song, the chorus contains the lyrics “When life deals us cards / Make everything taste like it is salt / Then you come through like the sweetener you are.” which symbolises empowerment. “Successful” is a 90s-inspired neo soul song, that has elements of gospel and trap. Lyrically, it’s about “girls feeling good about their own individual success.” “Everytime” is a “trap-pop” song that contains a pop-rap chorus. “Breathin” is a dance-pop song that contains influences of synthpop. It was written by songwriter Peter Svensson. The Independent called the song an “emotional highlight” and that it is a “mental health bop over a good, solid pop beat.” Lyrically, it is about Grande’s overcoming growth from anxiety.
“No Tears Left To Cry” is a dance-pop and disco song with a UK garage beat. and was served as the first official single for the album. Lyrically, it is about the Manchester Arena bombing. “Borderline” is a 90s contemporary R&B song features American rapper Missy Elliott. It’s one of Grande’s favourites on the album. “Better Off” is a power ballad that discusses a toxic relationship. “Goodnight n Go” is an EDM song with deep house and tropicalinfluences. It contains a sample of “Goodnight and Go”, written and performed by Grande’s inspiration Imogen Heap. In an interview with Billboard Heap said that “it feels like a gift”. She went on saying: “When somebody that famous picks up on a song that has had its day and gives it a second life, it’s a real gift. I think she’s done a lovely version of it.” “Pete Davidson” is an interlude of the album and has a trap and hip hop production. Lyrically, it is about her then-fiancé, Pete Davidson. “Get Well Soon” is a soul-ballad that has a laid back R&B melody. At the end of the song, 40 seconds of silence are played as a tribute to the twenty-two victims of the Manchester Arena bombing, which took place after her concert on May 22, 2017.