On Thursday night, Ariana Grande gave fans a first taste of her full-length follow-up to her most-successful album yet, 2019’s already-double-platinum Thank U, Next. Lead single and slow-burning bop “Positions” dropped alongside a music video that’s both flirtatious and empowering. In it, Grande traipses around the White House as president, often flanked by her heavily female and diverse cabinet. She switches roles — or positions — between homemaker, bedroom enchantress and leader of the free world.
If the rest of the album is anything like “Positions,” fans can expect mostly airy production grounded by some trap elements, as well as instrumentation that’s more natural-sounding and almost folky compared to Grande’s past work (“Positions” features a finger-plucked guitar and violin.) Considering the album, which many fans suspect is also titled Positions, drops four days before the election, there very well be some more politically tinged offerings a la the “Positions” music video.
Earlier this month, Grande tweeted that she couldn’t wait to give fans her sixth studio album “this month.” Three days later, she posted a video of her hand typing out the word “Positions” on a keyboard; a day after that, two separate countdowns for the single and the album went up on her website, but only one word sat above them on the page. Grande liked one fan’s tweet, implying that the song was the album’s title track: “Why would the countdown say ‘positions’ for both of them if the album wasn’t called that too?” Whatever it’s called, the album is scheduled to drop Friday, October 30th and appears to be longer than Thank U, Next (Grande liked a tweet from a fan who asked if the set had more than 12 tracks.)
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The R&B-pop star revealed that she had finished a song with Doja Cat during an interview with Zane Lowe back in May. At the time, she said “I was able to work with [Doja] earlier this year on this song that I want to save for whenever it’s time again to drop.” (Well, it looks like that time has come.) Grande added that a day or so after she sent the song to Doja, she called her: “She was twerking to it. Her hair was falling off — she twerked so hard that her wig fully flew off! She had a whole verse done, everything was done.”
Grande’s labelmate the Weeknd has long been a rumored collaborator on the album. Earlier this month, fans started sharing what appeared to be a screenshot of track credits on Genius for “Toxic Love,” a Grande song featuring The Weeknd, shortly after the October rollout began. While the entry appears to have been removed from Genius’ site, the Weekend did retweet Grande when she announced that the album was coming in October. The pair previously collaborated on Grande’s 2014 song “Love Me Harder.”
Similarly, fans have speculated that there’s a BTS collaboration on the album as well. When she tweeted a photo of six of the seven members backstage at one of her rehearsals in January, the rumors began to fly — but the buzz escalated in October, when entries for a song called “Not Us” appeared on both Grande and BTS’ pages on the site lyrics.lol, which bills itself as “the world’s largest lyrics database.”
Then there’s Blackpink. Last year, Tommy Brown — who’s credited as both a co-writer and co-producer on “Positions” — posted a photo of himself with the group, which Grande and her manager Scooter Braun both commented on. Braun also liked a comment from a fan who wrote “Ariana Grande x Blackpink collab” with multiple praying-hands emojis.
For “Positions,” Brown worked closely with London on da Track and Mr. Franks, who are also listed as co-writers and co-producers. Other writers include Angelina Barrett, Brian Vincent Bates, James Jarvis, and Nija Charles — a writer on Grande’s Lady Gaga collaboration from this summer, “Rain on Me.”
Who else is involved with AG6? Stay tuned for updates.
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