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This article is about the album. For its title track, see Positions (song).
I think the goal was to create something that felt more vocal and more healed as a reflection of where I am at. It’s been almost two years since Thank U, Next, so I’m grateful that people still care to hear what I have to say.

Ariana Grande on her 6th album

Positions (commonly abbreviated as PST or POS) is the sixth studio album by American singer Ariana Grande. It was released on October 30, 2020, by Republic Records. Centering on themes of romantic devotion, healing of the inner-self, physical attraction, and combating negativity, Positions sonically expands on the trap-infused R&B and pop first seen in its highly acclaimed predecessors, Sweetener (2018) and Thank U, Next (2019). Strings are present on the majority of the songs featured on the album. Used to sonically tie the album together, the strings contrast to the trap beats to provide a timeless-yet-modern feel.

Upon release, Positions was met with generally favorable reviews from critics and fans alike. Grande's vocals were universally praised, though the album's production split listeners. A commercial success, the album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, becoming Grande's third consecutive, and fifth overall album to do so.

On February 19, 2021, a deluxe version of the album was released with five new tracks, including a remix of "34+35" featuring American rappers Megan Thee Stallion and Doja Cat. Following the deluxe's release, Positions achieved more chart success, climbing back into the top 5 of the US Billboard 200.

Background[]

On March 24, 2020, Grande posted a 45 second snippet (later revealed to be "Nasty") on social media, confirming that the singer was working on a new album.[2] Grande went relatively silent on new music for the following months, until September 14, 2020, when she posted an a-capella snippet of a song she was vocal arranging (later revealed to be "Positions") with the caption "brb".[3] On October 14, 2020, she posted to her now-defunct Twitter acount saying, "I can't wait to give you my album this month", confirming both the existence, and release date, of her next album. A few days later, Grande posted a video of her typing out the word "positions" on a keyboard and launched two countdowns onto her website, counting down to October 23 and October 30, 2020.

Soon after the release of Positions, Tommy Parker (a producer who helped work on "love language" and "worst behavior") revealed that Grande and Tommy Brown had started working on an album in early-2020 and invited him to come help. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Grande eventually scrapped that entire early version of what would be her sixth studio album, and subsequently created Positions in quarantine instead.[4]

Cover art[]

On October 23, 2020, Grande revealed the album's cover art, shot by longtime collaborator and friend, Dave Meyers.[5] The cover features a closeup shot of Grande looking away from the camera with her hands on her jaw. A minty-green filter is laced over the image, portraying the album's visual aesthetic: 60s-mod. A white border with rounded corners frames the image, with the album title at the bottom of the border. Two exclusive CD editions of Positions released with alternate covers. The Deluxe cover is the same as the standard cover except the word "DELUXE" was added around the border.

Deluxe edition[]

On February 1, 2021, Grande announced a deluxe edition of Positions, featuring four new tracks and the remix of "34+35" featuring Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion[6] On February 9, 2021, Grande announced the release date of this reissue: February 19.[7] Grande confirmed the titles of the four new tracks in the 34+35 remix coundown Q&A livestream.

Singles[]

  • The lead single and title track, "Positions", was released on October 23, 2020.[1]
  • The second single, "34+35", was released on October 30, 2020. It impacted US Pop radio as an official single that same day.[8][9]
  • The third single, "POV", was released on April 19, 2021.[10]

Promotional single[]

  • The first promotional single, "Off The Table" was released on September 27, 2021, exclusively in Russia.

Deluxe single[]

Recording sessions[]

Below is a list of all known Positions-era recording dates. Whether some of these tracks were intended for the album or not is unknown, but all tracks recorded after the release of Thank U, Next up until the release of the deluxe edition of Positions are listed:

Critical reception[]

The album received favorable reviews (despite not breaking any new ground) from music critics. Alexa Camp of "Slant" believed it did not offer enough new ideas or innovation. "Too many of the songs on Positions rely on the same mid-tempo trap-pop that populated Grande's previous two efforts, particularly Thank U, Next. What once seemed refreshing in its minimalism is quickly starting to feel insubstantial. Editor Hannah Mylrea describes it as "a pleasant listen, as an introduction to the next era of Grande’s career, it’s solid, but you can’t help but feel it’s missing some of her trademark sparkle." Compared to her previous albums , Mylrea states how "strength and perseverance threads throughout ‘Positions’, an album that finds Grande thriving. [33] Positions "lacks the megawatt pop belters of previous releases" where The Guardian's Alexis Petridis agrees, writing: "Positions deals in polished professionalism, not pulse-quickening excitement. There isn't an obvious standout track...the overall effect is of individual tracks bleeding into one long slow-motion shot" rating the album 3 out of 5 stars. [34] While the album receives praise for it's vocals and musical arrangements, there's much to be desired lyrically. Critics such as Alim Kheraj of i-D highlight the raunchiness of the album's entirety, "Ariana has one thing on her mind: sex. So much sex, the subsequent 13 tracks are some of the horniest songs that Ariana has ever released." [35] Kate Soloman of The Telegraph agrees that "There are no tentpole hits, no obvious hooks and far too many words crammed into 14 relatively short and sometimes samey songs. But it explores new territory for the singer: new relationships, a new sound, a new sense of self." [36] However, critics such as The New Statesman's Emily Bootle, highlight the positives, "Positions is about emerging on the other side... with "no dud tracks". She emphasizes Grande's confidence and maturity with a sense of individual identity in "creating era-capturing music." [37] [38]

Commercial performance[]

Positions debuted at No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 with 174,000 album-equivalent units, of which 42,000 were pure album sales.[39][40] This is Grande's fifth studio album to debut at the top of the chart since her previous Dangerous Woman debuted and peaked at No. 2, while Yours Truly, My Everything, Sweetener and Thank U, Next all debuted at No. 1 in 2013, 2014, 2018 and 2019 respectively. In addition, Positions earned the second-largest streaming week for a non-R&B/hip-hop or Latin album in 2020 in the US (173.54 million).

It also debuted at No. 1 on the UK Albums chart, racking up 27,500 chart sales.[41]

On the issue date November 14, 2020, every song on the album was charted on the Hot 100. The highest peaked song is "Positions" debuting at number 1. The lowest song being "Love Language" debuting at number 75.

Trivia[]

  • The first song recorded for the album was "Shut Up".[42]
  • The longest song on the album is "Off The Table" with The Weeknd at 3:59, while the shortest song is "Someone Like U" at 1:16.
  • This is Grande's second album in which she co-wrote every track, following her 2019 album Thank u, Next.
  • Most of the album was either recorded at Grande's home studio or at Tommy Brown's.
  • At the time of its release, Grande claimed that Positions was her favorite album of hers.
  • During a Q&A for the 34+35 (remix) video premiere, Grande stated that the 15 second outro for "Love Language" was the only version that existed. However, this was proven to be false once four extended versions leaked.
  • The deluxe edition reissue of the album was almost scrapped.
  • This is Grande's first album to have its deluxe edition release on a different day than the standard edition, with the deluxe releasing just over three months after the standard.
  • Grande has stated that in-studio footage was recorded near the end of the album's recording sessions, but that she didn't know what kind of project she wanted to turn it into, if any.
  • Limited edition signed vinyl were given away in celebration of the 6-month anniversary of the album.
  • The deluxe edition tracks were outtakes from the original album sessions.
  • Visualizers of various songs on the album were recorded during the album's photoshoot, but were ultimately scrapped. Snippets of the "Motive" visualizer leaked on April 12, 2023, while snippets of "Shut Up", "Obvious", and "Positions" leaked within the following days. An alternate take of the "positions" visual, different from the snippet that surfaced days prior, leaked in full without audio on April 19, 2023. "motive", "shut up", and "obvious" leaked in full, with audio, on April 21, 2023, alongside a snippet of "34+35".
  • This is Grande's first album since My Everything (2014) to not feature any production or writing credits from Max Martin.
  • In the original, unedited image for the album cover, Grande's upper-ear piercings were visible. Her hair was later photoshopped over her ear, covering the piercings.
  • "34+35" was almost the lead single for the album, but it was ultimately changed to the title track as Grande felt the song better represented the album as a whole.
  • In a Q&A, Grande stated that if she had to take one of the original edition tracks off the album and replace it with a deluxe track, she would either replace "My Hair" with "Main Thing", or replace "Love Language" with "Test Drive".
  • Positions performed exceptionally upon release. Below are various facts on its success:
    • The album amassed over 2.3 billion streams on Spotify.
      • It became her 5th album to achieve this, and second fastest to behind thank u, next (2019).
    • The album surpassed over one billion streams in 60 days.
    • It was the fourth most streamed album released in 2020 on Spotify.
    • Positions was Grande's third consecutive, and fifth overall, album to debut at number one on the US Billboard 200.
      • It would continue to remain in the top-ten for eighteen weeks.
    • The deluxe reissue of Positions was, upon release, the biggest debut for a female deluxe album in Spotify History, with a total of 16.9 million streams in its first day.
      • The album accumulated a total of 86.1 million streams within its first week.
    • Positions is a platinum-certified album in the United States.
    • The album was nominated at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards for "Best Pop Vocal Album" and its title track for "Best Pop Solo Performance".

Merchandise[]

Physical releases[]

Gallery[]

Recording[]

Cover art[]

Videos[]

Track listing[]

Standard Edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Shut Up"Ariana Grande, Tayla Parx, Michael FosterBrown, Johnson, Mr. Franks, Sayles2:37
2."34+35"Ariana Grande, Victoria Monét, Tayla Parx, Scott NicholsonTBHits, Johnson, Mr. Franks, Xavi2:53
3."Motive" (featuring Doja Cat)Ariana Grande, Amala Dlamini, Nija Charles, Victoria MonétMurda Beatz, TBHits, Mr. Franks, Joseph L'Étranger2:47
4."Just Like Magic"Ariana Grande, Muni LongShea Taylor, TBHits, Mr. Franks2:29
5."Off The Table" (featuring The Weeknd)Ariana Grande, Abel TesfayeShintaro, TBHits, Mr. Franks, Sayles3:59
6."Six Thirty"Ariana Grande, Priscilla HamiltonTBHits, Mr. Franks, Nami, Taylor3:03
7."Safety Net" (featuring Ty Dolla $ign)Ariana Grande, Tyrone Griffin, Jr., Leon Thomas IIIThe Rascals, TBHits, Keys Open Doors3:28
8."My Hair"Ariana Grande, Victoria Monét, Tayla Parx [43]Scott Storch, TBHits, Jones, Anderson2:38
9."Nasty"Ariana Grande, Victoria MonétThe Rascals, TBHits, Nami, Sayles3:20
10."West Side"Ariana Grande, Victoria MonétTBHits, Xavi, Ammar Junedi2:12
11."Love Language"Ariana Grande, Victoria Monét, Tayla Parx, Kam ParkerTBHits, Parker, Sayles2:59
12."Positions"Ariana Grande, Nija Charles, AngelinaLondon On Da Track, TBHits, Mr. Franks2:52
13."Obvious"Ariana Grande, Ryan Tedder, Nija CharlesTBHits, Mr. Franks, Sayles, Josh Conerly2:26
14."POV"Ariana Grande, Tayla ParxTBHits, Mr. Franks, Oliver "Junior" Frid3:21
Total length:41:07
Deluxe Edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
15."Someone Like U" (interlude)Ariana GrandeBrown, Sayles, Parker, Wish, Wansel1:16
16."Test Drive"Ariana Grande, Tayla Parx, Victoria MonétFoster, Mr. Franks, Brown, & Murda Beatz2:02
17."34+35" (featuring Doja Cat & Megan Thee Stallion) (Remix)Ariana Grande, Amala Zandila Dlamini, Megan Pete, Scott Nicholson, Tayla Parx, Victoria MonétMr. Franks, Johnson, Brown, Xavi3:02
18."Worst Behavior"Ariana Grande, Tayla ParxBrown, Franks & Parker2:04
19."Main Thing"Ariana GrandeTommy Brown, Franks, Xavi,2:09
Total length:51:48

Cut tracks[]

Early tracklist[]

An early tracklist for the album was shown on a white board in the scrapped "Shut Up" behind the scenes studio footage.

Positions early tracklist
  1. Shut Up
  2. 34+35
  3. Nasty
  4. Off The Table (with The Weeknd)
  5. Safety Net (ft. Ty Dolla $ign)
  6. Motive (ft. Doja Cat)
  7. Positions
  8. POV

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Vulture - Get Into ‘Position’ for Ariana Grande’s New Single
  2. Twitter - @arianagrande: "i miss making things can’t wait to get back to work but for now let’s stay inside pls"
  3. Twitter- @arianagrande: "brb"
  4. Revolt - "Tommy Parker on making Janet Jackson’s new album and Ariana Grande recording ‘Positions’"
  5. Twitter -@arianangrande: "positions the single out now. positions my 6th album out friday the 30th."
  6. Twitter - @arianagrande: "happy february"
  7. Twitter - @arianagrande: "february 12th: 34+35 remix video feat @dojacat & @theestallion february 19th: positions deluxe".
  8. CapitalFM - "Ariana Grande '34+35’ Lyrics Real Meaning Explained"
  9. Twitter - @chartdata: ".@ArianaGrande’s "34+35" is impacting US Pop radio immediately"
  10. YouTube - @arianagrande "pov (official lyric video)"
  11. Billboard - "Ariana Grande Unleashes '34+35' Remix With Megan Thee Stallion & Doja Cat: Listen"
  12. Pitchfork - "Ariana Grande Shares New “34+35 (Remix)” With Megan Thee Stallion and Doja Cat: Listen"
  13. Instagram Story - January 7, 2020
  14. Instagram - @arianaigstories: "Instagram Story - January 11, 2020"
  15. Instagram Story #1 - January 16, 2020
  16. Instagram Story #2 - January 16, 2020
  17. Instagram Story #3 - January 16, 2020
  18. Instagram Story #4 - January 16, 2020
  19. Twitter - @arianatoday: ".@NJOMZA’s Instagram Story #2"
  20. Instagram Story - February 21, 2020
  21. Instagram Story - February 22, 2020
  22. Instagram Story - February 22, 2020
  23. Instagram Story - February 25, 2020
  24. Instagram Story - April 17, 2020
  25. Instagram Story - April 23, 2020
  26. Deleted Instagram Post May 5, 2020
  27. Mr Franks Instagram Post
  28. ariana grande on this day 2 years ago leaving a studio in LA (july 19, 2020)
  29. ariana grande on this day 2 years ago arriving to the studio in LA (august 6, 2020)
  30. Twitter - PopCrave - "Ariana Grande is in the studio in new Instagram story. 🎵"
  31. Twitter - PopCrave - "Ariana Grande shares another photo from the studio on Instagram. ☁️"
  32. https://www.instagram.com/tbhits/p/CD-uiBmDAi3/
  33. Ariana Grande – ‘Positions’ review: lots of banging, but not so many bangers
  34. Ariana Grande: Positions review – all-night romps but no climax
  35. Ariana Grande’s new album is all about being horny on main
  36. Ariana Grande, Positions, review: plenty of lust, but where are the hits?
  37. Ariana Grande’s Positions: playful, era-capturing R&B from one of our greatest living pop stars
  38. Ariana Grande's Positions: Album 'solid but doesn't sparkle' say critics
  39. Billboard - Ariana Grande claims fifth No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart with "Positions"
  40. Complex - Ariana Grande Earns fifth No. 1 on Billboard 200 with 'Positions'
  41. Ariana Grande scores UK chart double with 'Positions'
  42. Twitter - it was actually the first track ! “shut up”. i promise this is me answering the question and not telling u to shut up.
  43. https://www.ascap.com/repertory#ace/search/workID/906566147

Notes[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The two limited edition covers of Positions were also sold as "Target Exclusive" variants in US Targets, but aside from the barcode and hype sticker they are identical to the webstore release.
  2. The Urban Outfitters release of Positions was called "Lime" on the US website and "Spring Green" on the UK website, but the colors are identical.
  3. Ariana's European webstores had a light blue mockup of Positions (Deluxe), but all items shipped had the same pink in clear disks as shown in her US site.

Navigation[]

Positions
October 30, 2020 • 41:07 • Republic Records
Songs
Released 34+35Just Like MagicLove LanguageMain ThingMotiveMy HairNastyObviousOff The TablePositionsPOVSafety NetShut UpSix ThirtySomeone Like UTest DriveWest SideWorst Behavior
Unreleased 90s Heartbreak95 MillionAnti ShitBabymakingBlueberriesBopBowzerBrandy MelvilleCommunicateComplicatedComptonCount Me InDan E Elf ManDashin ItDo DatDon't Talk To My ManDirty SecretsDisco DanceEarly 200sEverything I DoFor SureFresh White TeeFuck Around With The Fuck AroundGirl Is MineGodsfavorGrande. 1Groovy BabyHandy ManHe Had It CominHerguitarHeroHersHomeHow Do YouI Like Your PartInternational Friendship DayI'm ReadyIntroezyIt's A-Jedi MindJoccyJust Happy 4 NowLakortleLalalaLaniLet's StayLofi 1Lofi 2Love Me NowMacking ShitMade Of TheseMet Him Last NightMy FaultNeighborhoodNew House-PopNo Free PromoNorthshoreNot TodayOrganic OOOOOOOOutgrownOweeePick ChordsPink RoseShortySmoooothSweet DreamsTake CareTennis BallThe GodfatherThrasherTommy 3Tommy 4Wanna See Something CoolY Is Everyone So In Love With Me
Artists
Ariana GrandeBryson TillerCarmen ReeceDemi LovatoDoja CatLil WayneMegan Thee StallionNjomzaRoddy RicchTayla ParxThe WeekndTy Dolla SignVictoria Monét
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