The reviews are in for Ariana Grande‘s fourth album, “Sweetener,” which was released on Friday, August 17, and they’re predominantly positive, earning her a score of 79 on MetaCritic based on 15 reviews as of this writing. That’s her second highest score on the review aggregator, behind only the 81 for her debut album “Yours Truly.” So will it finally win her a Grammy?
Okay, so at 25-years-old Grande isn’t exactly a grizzled veteran looking for long-awaited awards validation, but for a pop star with a powerhouse vocal range and four albums now under her belt you’d think lightning would have struck by now with the recording academy. To date she has been nominated four times, including Best Pop Album for her preceding releases “My Everything” (2015) and “Dangerous Woman” (2017). But she has yet to prevail.
The good news for Grande is that the general field categories, where she has never been nominated, are expanding this year from five to eight slots. So a well received album like “Sweetener” might earn her entry into the Album of the Year race for the first time. The reviews are describing “Sweetener” as “fascinating and sneakily complex,” “consistent and refined.” And her songs with hit-maker Pharrell Williams “push the boundaries.” It’s her “most delightful album.”
Have you listened to “Sweetener” yet? What do you think off Grande’s latest? Check out some of the reviews below, and discuss this and more with your fellow music fans here in our forums.
Larry Fitzmaurice (Entertainment Weekly): “A practical album-length collaboration with Pharrell Williams, who holds writing and production credits on the majority of its 15 tracks, ‘Sweetener’ is decidedly and boldly out of step with current-day pop sounds … It’s impossible not to give in to ‘Sweetener’ as a whole, a fascinating and sneakily complex pop album that adds new creative wrinkles to Grande’s already estimable repertoire.”
Chris Willman (Variety): “At some point in the process of listening to Ariana Grande’s fourth and most delightful album, ‘Sweetener,’ which is slightly dominated by six songs produced and co-written by Pharrell Williams, it may occur to you: Well, of course she was going to hook up with the guy who made ‘Happy’ one of the biggest hits of the decade.”
Sal Cinquemani (Slant): “Grande’s vocals strike a measured chord throughout ‘Sweetener,’ mostly settling into breathy Mariah mode … Even within that style, however, Grande differentiates her delivery … For the most part, though, the formula results in an album that’s both consistent and refined, a reflection of Grande’s growing awareness of herself as an artist and her place in the world.”
Alexis Petridis (The Guardian): “Her collaborations with Pharrell really push the boundaries. But they make the rest of this album seem formulaic … The half of ‘Sweetener’ with his fingerprints on it represents a genuinely bold and exciting move on Grande’s part. It’s filled with tunes richer and more serpentine than your average millennial pop topline.”
Be sure to make your Grammy predictions so that Hollywood record executives and top name stars can see how their music is faring in our Grammy odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on Wednesday, December 5. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Grammys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our music forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.