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Singer Ariana Grande‘s sixth studio album, titled Positions, isn’t a deviation from her past work. It’s a pop-R&B record with trap sound, complemented by her impressive vocal range. But when it comes to the lyrics, the sexually explicit have taken center stage. Discover how Grande manages to also dig deep into her past trauma.

Ariana Grande’s album ‘Positions’ debuted in October 2020

Grande has said in the past that she never really stops working. Following duets “Stuck with U” and “Rain on Me” earlier in 2020, she remained quiet on the subject of a new album. That is, until the fall. After months of speculation, Grande announced Positions (preceded by a lead single of the same name).

The 14-track album was released on October 30, 2020, at midnight EST. Among the response came her passionate fans (known as Arianators), critics, and even other musicians, like Chloe x Halle, who wrote on Twitter, “putting phone on do not disturb so i can listen to #POSITIONS with no interruptions.”

Several songs, like ’34+35,’ reference sex

When the album was announced, a FOTP insider revealed that it “has a consistent and coherent theme about sex.” The single “Positions” affirmed this beyond the title, with Grande singing about spending time “in the bedroom” with her significant other while suggesting they “make a lotta love on a Monday.”

The album’s release confirmed this theme. Most notably fitting in is “34+35,” which fans quickly recognized adds up to the sexual position nicknamed 69. Additionally, a previously teased yet unreleased (until now) track, “Nasty,” is also about having sex, as she sings, “No more playin’ safe, let’s take it all the way.”

Other tracks, like ‘POV,’ have a deeper meaning

Grande covers other subjects on Positions. “ari does a lot well but her music about reconciling with past traumas and her mental health hits me best,” tweeted the official Bagel Bites account. “when I think about how many lives this young woman has lived, i’m in awe.”

The tweet continued, likely referring to the track “POV” when writing, “she describes love as experienced by a flawed, imperfect person in such a special way. amazing.” Grande retweeted the message with a heart, adding, “wait this is really a tweet from bagel bites that’s crazy.”

Grande has touched on mental health in the past

Ariana Grande performs on stage during the One Love Manchester Benefit Concert on June 4, 2017
Ariana Grande performs on stage during the One Love Manchester Benefit Concert on June 4, 2017 | Kevin Mazur/One Love Manchester/Getty Images for One Love Manchester

What Ariana Grande Did Differently for ‘Positions’: ‘This Project Is My Favorite for Many Reasons’

Grande doesn’t shy away from tough subjects. She spoke about her symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder following the bombing at her 2017 Manchester concert, telling Vogue UK, “I don’t think I’ll ever know how to talk about it and not cry.” Grande later shared scans of her brain suggesting PTSD in 2019.

But anxiety is a lifelong issue, as Grande has copped to in the past. And in 2020, it’s more present than ever when it comes to the U.S. presidential election. A Twitter user noted the timing of Grande’s album with the event, writing, “ariana album 4 days before the election… positions is gonna be our collective trauma album isn’t it?”

How to get help: In the U.S. and Canada, text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 to reach a crisis counselor for support.