On Positions, we witness a woman that is beginning to overcome her grief. An artist who has long since swapped the image of a vulnerable singer with an image that is stronger and overall, more optimistic. Her long-time producer and friend Tommy Brown, aka TBHits, worked on the album.
It was Brown who encouraged her to explore new sounds that are still within the realms of pop but are more electronic and synthetic, like on Motive (featuring Doja Cat), in which English influences are more prominent.
Another big difference is the unbridled, explicit sensuality that can be heard on tracks like 34+35 (if you add the two numbers together, you get 69). She sings, "Can you stay up all night? / F*ck me 'til the daylight? / Thirty-four, thirty-five” and likewise on Nasty, "Don't wanna wait on it / Tonight, I wanna get nasty”. Well, the message is certainly crystal clear. But Positions, whose name is perhaps more ambiguous at first glance, is not just limited to that. It also falls within the candy-coated pop classicism genre, notably with Off The Table (featuring The Weeknd), which gives the impression she’s still working on herself from the line, “Will I ever love the same way again?”. Or on My Hair, which showcases her ultrasound voice range in the middle of a track-list that doesn’t tend to flaunt her vocal techniques as much. Ariana Grande is no longer America’s darling little girl. She has become so much more, and she’s all the better for it.