Just from the lead up to Sweetener I could tell that Ariana Grande was cooking up something serious. She has already established herself as a celebrity and a star but despite having some undoubted success in music, I don’t think she’s ever really established herself as a serious star in music, the likes that could be ranked among the top pop stars out there. Sweetener is her answer to that and in the process of crafting an excellent pop record, she’s found her musical voice and identity and become infinitely more relatable and likeable because of it. Everything on the album feels effortless and she carries herself like an artist completely confident in her craft. Purposeful is the word I’d use to describe the album. She’s clearly matured as an artist and the infusions of funk and soul into her music really gives you something to dig into. There may not be as many instant bangers as one might expect, but Sweetener is a completely realized project a full offering of everything she has to offer as a creative, not just a celebrity.
Nicki Minaj's latest wasn't all hits but it far exceeded expectations and there's more than enough present to remind everyone why she blew up to such extraordinary heights in the first place. It's a shame though that she won't just let the music speak for itself.
'K.T.S.E.' was much more soulful, chilled out, and low key than I would have ever imagined, and while she showed a level of true artistry I never knew she had and Ye's production was generally strong, I went through all 8 tracks still without getting a clear picture of who she was as an artist or a person, and it just didn't make that strong of a statement - despite it being a pleasant listen.
'Liberation' certainly feels like a more genuine representation of her true artistic self and there are a lot of moments of interesting forays into different sounds and genres. I would have liked to have heard more sounds in that direction but all in all, this is the most interesting I've found Christina Aguilera in a long time.
Have you heard Sweetener? What’d you think about it? Do you think she’s finally established herself and earned her respect as a true artist? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions for the album.
Ariana Grande – Sweetener Reaction
There may not be as many instant bangers as one might expect, but 'Sweetener' is a completely realized project a full offering of everything she has to offer as a creative, not just a celebrity.