“Sweetener” Album Review


Photo By: Emma Sheehan https://www.flickr.com/photos/esheehanphotos/33269922295

Tommy Lund, Reporter

Have you missed me? Maybe you haven’t, but if you did, you’re in luck because I’m back and I have no tears left to cry. Earlier this year, I tried my hand at giving brutally honest reviews of new and trending albums. When I wrote my review of “Midnights,” I had no idea how much fun it would be. While no significant new music has been released recently, there’s still plenty of good music to go around. So, I’ve decided to review one of my all-time favorite albums: “Sweetener” by Ariana Grande.


Track 1: “raindrops (an angel cried)”

An angel sure did cry. This song is so angelic; it’s just Queen Ari and her beautiful vocals filling up the room. It’s only 45 seconds long, but it sets the perfect tone for this iconic album.


Track 2: “blazed” (feat. Pharell Williams)

This one misses the mark for me. It’s repetitive and not particularly catchy. Well, maybe it’s kinda catchy. The bass guitar adds a fun element, but it doesn’t really showcase Ari’s vocals until the end. Plus, Pharrell Williams’ contribution doesn’t add much to the song. Overall, it gets an “ehh” from me.


Track 3: “the light is coming” (feat. Nicki Minaj)

The beat is out there, but it works. It’s exactly what I would expect Ariana Grande’s attempt at rapping to sound like. Nicki’s verse doesn’t bring anything extraordinary, but it still serves the purpose. I like this song more than “blazed,” but it falls just slightly short of hitting the mark.


Track 4: “R.E.M.”

The harmonies GIVE so much, and I love it. It’s a simple song with a captivating flow. The lyrics perfectly complement the mellow beat, and as Ari’s vocals layer and intensify throughout the song, it leaves you wanting more.


Track 5: “God is a woman”

Iconic. Possibly the most popular song on the album, and for good reason. At first glance, it may seem like just another pop song, but the background vocals and Ari’s raw talent take it to a whole new level. The end of the song is where it truly shines. As the vocals fade out to a beautiful acoustic run, it never fails to touch my soul. I love this song and if you haven’t listened to it, you’re missing out.


Track 6: “sweetener”

BOP. The beat is both sickening and addictive. Ari’s vocals are delivered with sass and class, complemented by rhythmic perfection. The only criticism I have is that as the title track, it doesn’t fully represent the album as a whole. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely belongs on the album, but I think other tracks would better represent it as a whole.


Track 7: “successful”

Girl boss work anthem for real. I listen to this song when I do something good. It’s like a reward. The instruments used are definitely…a choice…but nonetheless, she pulls it off. Plus, the subtle xylophone throughout really tickles my brain.


As we approach the album’s halfway point, it’s a perfect time to get an opinion from a fellow Ari superfan. Junior Sarah Griffing answered some questions about “Sweetener” and its legendary status. According to Griffing, “It’s one of the best albums I’ve ever listened to; the emotion that went into the production is unmatched.” When asked to compare “Sweetener” to Ari’s other albums, Griffing had this to say: “When you compare it to albums like ‘Dangerous Woman,’ for example, you can see that ‘Sweetener’ is more genuine and taps into her emotions and pain. ‘Dangerous Woman’ is still a great album, of course, but it’s more focused on topping the charts rather than being Ari’s best work.” Now, back to the review.


Track 8: “everytime”

Ari really foreshadowed “thank u, next” with this one. Imagine you’re in the back seat vibing in the traffic lights; that’s how this song feels. Nothing extraordinary, but like most Ari songs, the layered vocals and complementary notes make it a solid song.


Track 9: “breathin”

FLOW LIKE WATER. If anyone ever doubted Ariana Grande’s vocals, this song will make them think again. It starts off slow, but fear not, Ms. Grande picks up the vibes later on. The chorus effortlessly flows with perfect rhythm, making it a great song to vibe to.

Photo By: Emma Sheehan https://www.flickr.com/photos/esheehanphotos/33269921075/

Track 10: “no tears left to cry”

Ariana Grande personally walked out of the recording studio and punched me in the face. Then she exploded into a cloud of glitter. That’s it; that’s the review. For real though, Ari was so mother on the beat it’s honestly sickening. 

Track 11: “borderline” (feat. Missy Elliot)

This is a prime example of a featured artist adding depth to a song without bringing it down. The combo of Missy and Ari is an underrated powerhouse that should be utilized more. I’d love to see another collaboration from these two.

Track 12: “better off”

Slowing things down with a beautiful ballad before we’re launched into the final three tracks. This song shows a versatile side of Ari’s music. It really separates the album a little more and completes it as a whole. 


Track 13: “goodnight n go”

LOVE. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this song. It has a different sound compared to the rest of the album, but the complexity and magic it possesses just work. It’s a crime we never got a music video for it because it would have been pure magic. This is not only one of my favorite songs on the album, but also one of my all-time favorites.

Track 14: “pete davidson”

Looking back on this song after Ari and Pete’s breakup makes me giggle. It lacks a little bit of umph, as it’s positioned in between two powerhouses. On the bright side, it’s only a minute long, which maybe is a good thing.


Track 15: “get well soon”

I can’t stress enough how well this song embodies the album. It’s so simple, yet so freaking good. It often gets overlooked because it’s at the end, but to me, it rounds out one of the best albums ever in the best way.


And there it is: another album, another review. Of course, my opinion is unique to me since “Sweetener” is one of my favorites. I encourage you to give it a listen when you have some spare time. And please, feel free to suggest more albums for me to review in the future. For now, I’ll say goodnight n go.