Ariana Grande’s new song ‘Positions’ is a stately introduction to the pop star’s next era

The comeback track might be mellow, but its accompanying video conveys her towering ambition

What would America be like if it had a female President? It’s a question we won’t be able to answer for at least four more years thanks to Trump V. Biden, but in the new video for Ariana Grande’s ‘Positions’, she dares to dream.

Grande’s latest single is the first to come from her as-of-yet untitled sixth album, which she’s promised will be released this month and was recorded during quarantine. The sweltering tune is a continuation of the trap and R&B-infused pop that permeated Grande’s 2019 record ‘Thank U, Next’, filled with her trademark melismas and whistle tones. But while her last album was filled with icy production and heavy bass, there’s a breezy nature to ‘Positions’, bolstered by strings and early Justin Timberlake–style acoustic guitar.

The carefree nature is echoed in the loved-up lyrics, which on the surface appear to be a sweet tribute to Grande’s boyfriend. Over the gentle beats Grande commits to her partner, asserting: “I’m in the Olympics, way I’m jumpin’ through hoops/  Know my love infinite, nothin’ I wouldn’t do”, and vulnerably admitting: “Heaven sent you to me / I’m just hopin’ I don’t repeat history”.

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But listen to the song with the accompanying video and it gets a whole new meaning – one that celebrates the power and multi-faceted nature of women everywhere, who are consistently “switching positions”. The glossy video follows Grande as President of the United States, depicting her in a Cabinet meeting and the Oval Office, as well as cooking up a storm in the kitchen and in a bedroom.

Accompanied by a diverse team largely made up of women (including cameos from Grande’s mother Joan and long-time collaborator Victoria Monét, an R&B star in her own right), it’s a re-imagination of the largely pale, male and stale world that is politics. And it’s made all the more pertinent given that Grande dropped the White House-themed video just hours after the final Presidential debate of the 2020 election.

It’s a bold video – and acts as a reminder that if you put women in the boardroom, it can only lead to better place; and that women shouldn’t have to pick between the domestic sphere and their career.

While the song itself may not be the balls-to-the-wall pop belter fans might have expected for Grande’s return (the lead singles for her last two albums, ‘Thank U, Next’ and ‘No Tears Left to Cry’, were both high-octane bangers), the mellow ‘Positions’, with its powerhouse video, is an equally bold introduction to the artist’s next musical era. Grande 2024, anybody?

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