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 Jimmy Fallon that Sweetener is “about bringing light to a situation or someone’s life, somebody else who brings light to your life, or sweetening the situation.” It’s a powerful statement, coming only a year after the devastating attack at her 2017 Manchester concert that killed 22 people and injured over 500. Grande responded with Sweetener a gorgeous, pastel album about love, happiness, strength, and womanhood. She’s deeply in love, evidenced on the tropical “blazed” and (literally) dreamy “R.E.M”; she exits a toxic relationship in “better off”; “God is a woman” is a feminine, sex-positive anthem, and “get well soon” is a self-care message she wrote immediately following a panic attack. It’s also musically surprising—sparse rhythms and airy harmonies replace many of the huge beats and choruses she’s famous for.

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 Jimmy Fallon that Sweetener is “about bringing light to a situation or someone’s life, somebody else who brings light to your life, or sweetening the situation.” It’s a powerful statement, coming only a year after the devastating attack at her 2017 Manchester concert that killed 22 people and injured over 500. Grande responded with Sweetener a gorgeous, pastel album about love, happiness, strength, and womanhood. She’s deeply in love, evidenced on the tropical “blazed” and (literally) dreamy “R.E.M”; she exits a toxic relationship in “better off”; “God is a woman” is a feminine, sex-positive anthem, and “get well soon” is a self-care message she wrote immediately following a panic attack. It’s also musically surprising—sparse rhythms and airy harmonies replace many of the huge beats and choruses she’s famous for.

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