15 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s no coincidence that the cover photo for Ariana Grande’s fourth album is her first not in black and white. She told Beats 1 host Ebro Darden that Sweetener is different because, “It’s the first time I feel more present than ever, and I see colours more”. Her new outlook comes just over a year since the devastating attack at her 2017 Manchester concert that killed 22 people and injured hundreds, leaving Grande “permanently affected”. She responded with Sweetener, a gorgeous, pastel album about love, happiness, strength and womanhood. She’s deeply in love, evidenced on the tropical “blazed”, and “R.E.M”, with harmonies described as “rainbow clouds” by Pharrell, who produced over half the album. She exits a toxic relationship in “better off”; “God is a woman” is a feminine, sex-positive anthem that she told Darden is her “favourite thing I’ll probably ever do”. The album closer “get well soon” is a self-care message she wrote immediately following a panic attack. “It's about being there for each other and helping each other through scary times and anxiety”, she told Darden. “I wanted to give people a hug, musically.” Sonically, Sweetener brings some surprises—sparse rhythms and what she calls “dreamier” harmonies replace many of the huge beats and choruses she’s famous for. She said the album is “more like me as a person. And what I’ve been craving to do”.

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s no coincidence that the cover photo for Ariana Grande’s fourth album is her first not in black and white. She told Beats 1 host Ebro Darden that Sweetener is different because, “It’s the first time I feel more present than ever, and I see colours more”. Her new outlook comes just over a year since the devastating attack at her 2017 Manchester concert that killed 22 people and injured hundreds, leaving Grande “permanently affected”. She responded with Sweetener, a gorgeous, pastel album about love, happiness, strength and womanhood. She’s deeply in love, evidenced on the tropical “blazed”, and “R.E.M”, with harmonies described as “rainbow clouds” by Pharrell, who produced over half the album. She exits a toxic relationship in “better off”; “God is a woman” is a feminine, sex-positive anthem that she told Darden is her “favourite thing I’ll probably ever do”. The album closer “get well soon” is a self-care message she wrote immediately following a panic attack. “It's about being there for each other and helping each other through scary times and anxiety”, she told Darden. “I wanted to give people a hug, musically.” Sonically, Sweetener brings some surprises—sparse rhythms and what she calls “dreamier” harmonies replace many of the huge beats and choruses she’s famous for. She said the album is “more like me as a person. And what I’ve been craving to do”.

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About Ariana Grande

Armed with a mesmerizing, nimble soprano—and a vocal register often likened to Mariah Carey’s and Christina Aguilera’s—Ariana Grande began her career as a child star on Broadway and Nickelodeon before transforming into a pop and R&B powerhouse. Instantly recognizable thanks to her signature ponytail, cat ears, babydoll dresses, and breezy self-confidence, her slyly sexual personal brand has, like that of the Spice Girls before her, become an iconic image of young female power. But Grande is more than a symbol: Over the course of several albums and scores of hit singles—beginning with 2013’s “The Way” (featuring Mac Miler) through The Weeknd-assisted “Love Me Harder” and “Break Free” (featuring Zedd)—she has consistently outshined her male collaborators and deftly parlayed her stardom into activism. An LGBTQ advocate and outspoken feminist (“I’m tired of living in a world where women are mostly referred to as a man’s past, present, or future PROPERTY,” she tweeted in 2016), she uses her platform to confront issues like misogyny, sexism, homophobia, and bullying, spreading a message of love over all. Nowhere was this more clear than in May 2017: After terrorists attacked her concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 and injuring hundreds, Grande continued her tour. "Perspective changes your life,” she told Beats 1’s Ebro Darden. "You want to stay in the moment and try not to give into fear, because obviously the whole point of finishing the tour was being there for my fans. You want to set the same example and keep going.” And that she did: Her Max Martin-produced smash “No Tears Left to Cry,” an escapist dance-floor triumph released a year after the attack, sends a message of hope and healing, with a dose of hear-me-roar attitude. 

HOMETOWN
Boca Raton, FL
GENRE
Pop
BORN
26 June 1993

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