Ariana Grande’s Positions Album Decoded: Sex, Love and Moving On

Ariana Grande’s sixth album Positions is finally out, and E! News has deciphered all the hidden meanings and hints about boyfriends past and present.

By Samantha Schnurr, Lindsay Weinberg Oct 30, 2020 2:15 PMTags

Ariana Grande is ready for the world to relive her quarantine experience through her sixth studio album, Positions. Spoiler alert: it's definitely steamy.

The pop star created Positions (out Friday, Oct. 30) while quarantining with her new boyfriend, real estate mogul Dalton Gomez. So it's no surprise that the tracks give an intimate look at their relationship out of the spotlight. 

"Six Thirty" sees her evaluating their long-term potential, while "Safety Net" and "My Hair" center on her exposed insecurities in the face of love. Other songs' lyrics like "I wanna get nasty" and "I wanna 69 with you" kinda speak for themselves.

Through Positions, Ariana has chronicled the new relationship in her life and how it compares to past flames—which were documented in her last album Thank U, Next. That 2019 record captured her breakup from Pete Davidson as well as her own loss in the wake of ex Mac Miller's death, whereas Positions hones in on her new, quiet love story.

Dalton and Ari, who is a "major homebody," got to know each other quickly during the pandemic and went Instagram official before Ari's 27th birthday in June. 

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It couldn't be further from how she lived out her flashy engagement with the Saturday Night Live star in 2019. However, there's still a possible nod to Pete in her lead single, "Positions," as Ariana sings, "I hope I don't repeat history" with an emphasis on "peat." And last week's music video brought the power anthem to life, imagining Ari taking over the White House. 

As for other numbers on Positions, Ariana collaborates with pop and hip hop sensations Doja Cat, The Weeknd and Ty Dolla Sign.

Let's take a closer look at the meanings behind Ari's latest lyrics. 

"Shut Up"

The singer begins the album with this opening track, a simple and direct message seemingly aimed at her critics and haters. "How you be spending your time? (How?) / How you be using your time? (How?) / You be so worried 'bout mine (Mine) / Can't even get yourself none / You know you sound so dumb," she sings. It also serves as a cohesive transition point from the last album as she tells listeners, "All them demons helped me see s--t differently / So don't be sad for me"—a reference to the progress she's made since 2019. 


Instantly grabbing fans' attention, this track proved Grande was not going to be shy about her bedroom behavior on this album. For an idea of what this song is about, the math. If you simply listen to the lyrics, Grande doesn't hide what she's singing about with lines like, "You might think I'm crazy / The way I've been craving  / If I put it quite plainly / Just gimme them babies" and "Can you stay up all night? / F--k me 'til the daylight."

She takes on a similar theme with "Nasty," telling her lover, "Don't wanna wait on it / Tonight, I wanna get nasty."

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"Off the Table"

However, it's not only about the physical for Grande on this album. Much like her library of work thus far, the star tackles matters of the heart and themes of vulnerability and overcoming insecurities and trauma. 

On "Off the Table," she contemplates whether love awaits her again, along with possible nods to Miller as she references "the next life."

"Will I ever love the same way again? / Will I ever love somebody like the way I did you? / Never thought you'd be so d--n hard to replace / I swear I don't mean to be this way / If I can't have you, is love completely off the table? / Do I sit this one out and wait for the next life? / Am I too cold? Am I not nice? / Might not be quite yet healed or ready / Should I be goin' too steady?"

The track also marks another collaboration between Grande and The Weeknd, who makes clever references to their past work, "Love Me Harder," as well as his own track, "The Hills." "I'll wait for you / Even though it always feels like I'll be number two," he sings. "To someone you can't hold anymore / I can love you harder than I did before / Was in a dark place back then / I was toxic, then I was toxic to someone else / I was haunted by the hills."


"Safety Net"

Despite any doubts she may have about what fate has for her in the love department, it seems Grande has fallen for the man in her life and is on unfamiliar ground. 

"You know you really something, yeah / How we get here so damn fast? / Only you can tell me that / Baby, 'cause you know I'm coming back / You're making me forget my past / Never thought I'd feel like that again / I came to peace with my path / Now you got me off track," she sings on "Safety Net. "I've never been this scared before / Feelings I just can't ignore / Don't know if I should fight or flight / But I don't mind."

"Love Language"

Much like the title of the song suggests, the star is clearly smitten on this track as she sings, "Left my baggagе at the door, I'll claim you're mine / All minе / You soothe me / You hold it down with every word you speak / Baby, it's been a minute since I had something so sweet."

"My Hair"

While it's not often Grande sings about her signature ponytail, she turned it into a symbol for exposing her insecurities for this love. "It's been way long overdue / Just like these inches down my back / Usually don't let people touch it / But tonight, you'll get a pass / Spend my dimes and spend my time / To keep it real, sometimes it's tracks / But I don't care," she sings. "So run your hands through my hair / Baby, 'cause that's why it's there."

As Grande points out herself, "Know this ain't usually mе / But I might let it down for ya (Mmm) / This ain't usually me (Usually me) / But I might lеt it down for ya."

Positions is available now.