NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS in 2020, a time when the nonstop flurry of gaginducing current events means that to lift your phone in the morning is to subject yourself to a wave of uncertainty. Peace and quiet, some semblance of the humdrum old-world normalcy we took for granted all our lives, are the prize when the greatest gift a wealthy celebrity like Kim Kardashian West thinks to get for her 40th birthday is a calming getaway with friends and family. It is an existence all too familiar to Ariana Grande, who has endured a three-year whirlwind of unexpected losses, terror attacks, new relationships, highly publicized breakups, hit records, and tours—and who has made it through the storm. She is seeing someone new: a real-estate agent you almost never hear anything about, a big shift from the regular Saturday Night Live tea of her days with Pete Davidson. She is writing about finding happiness, instead of venting about her troubles in songs like “fake smile” and “in my head.” “Stuck With U,” Grande’s spring benefit single with Justin Bieber, suggested a rosier outlook on life, treating the unplanned time inside like an opportunity to get to know a significant other better. Her new album, Positions, ups the ante, seeking to dethrone the Weeknd’s After Hours for the title of the year’s horniest quarantine album.
ARIANA GRANDE. REPUBLIC RECORDS.
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