Although it looked like Ariana Grande might literally want her fans to just watch the clock — the countdown clock, that is, that showed up on her website last Sunday — she got more specific on Thursday about the most immediate thing being counted down to. ‘Positions,’ the first single from her upcoming sixth studio album, will debut as the clock strikes 12 this Thursday morning.
But Grande has two clocks ticking on her site, with the second one counting the seconds until a full album drops one week later, as the calendar clicks over to October 29.
Next to nothing has been revealed about that full-length release, including any official announcement of its title, but before the singer officially “positions” that, too, here’s what we do know about what looks to be among the handful of true superstar album releases of 2020.
The pre-save page for the ‘Positions’ single includes cover art that may be a tease of the ultimate album cover as well, showing Grande from her lips down to her knees in a short skirt and matching midriff-baring top. (Perhaps, unlike her last two albums, she’s destined to remain right-side-up this time?)
An ominous instrumental track appears on YouTube with the name ‘Positions’ on in it, and what appears to be Grande speaking in the background.
With most of her sixth album recorded during COVID-19 quarantining, its lyrical themes are rumoured to focus on sex, romance ruinous and righteous, and disconnection (she’s been in an apparently steady relationship with real estate mogul Dalton Gomez since mid-summer).
Another hint that bad or infectious romance may be on Grande’s mind is the album’s possible inclusion of ‘Toxic Love,’ a new duet shared with The Weeknd. This is not the first time that Grande and The Weeknd have been paired for a romantic showdown; check ‘Love Me Harder,’ from her 2014 album My Everything, for reference.
While rapper-vocalist Ty Dolla $ign’s name has been flashed around as one of Grande’s ‘Positions’ collaborators on the FOTP forums just in time for his new album drop this weekend, Grande herself discussed the possible inclusion of Doja Cat on whatever next project she would record back in May.
During an interview on Zane Lowe’s program for Apple Music, Grande revealed that she had recorded a new track that she wrote and performed with Doja Cat that would presumably make its way onto what should be her next recorded project. “I want to save (it) for whenever it’s time again to drop,” said Grande during the interview.
The supposed 14-track album, so far, includes one track listed as ’34 35′ which has a simple, repetitious backing track found here without any information save for Grande’s name and familiar French-manicured fingertips from Saturday’s initial Instagram drop.
Another set of beats listed as ‘brb,’ which stands for “Be Right Back,” is a rumoured new Ariana track whose backing music can be found here.
Also rumoured for the new album, and found referred to as an ‘AG6’ track, is ‘Nasty.’ with several snippets of lyrics found here and there.
In terms of collaborators, the new album appears to lack production credits from several famous longtime favourites of Grande’s like Pop Wansel and Max Martin. The producers and songwriting collaborators who are rumoured to be a deep part of ‘Positions’ are the Rascals (the team behind a handful of songs on Grande’s first album) and Mr Franks (who worked with Grande as far back as ‘I Don’t Care’ and ‘Let Me Love You’). A possible track entitled ‘My Hair’ is said to have had Grande recording with Tommy Brown, Victoria Mon?t and Tayla Parx.
This last ‘Hair’ track has several similar-sounding snippets posted online, including this and this, and is listed at CapitalFM in the UK as having registered that song title, along with tracks titled ’32 interlude’ and ‘Skip.’
Brown, or rather, TBHits — the producer of Blackpink’s ‘Ice Cream’ (with Selena Gomez) and ‘Bet You Wanna’ (with Cardi B), as well as Grande’s co-producer of songs from ‘Thank U, Next’ and 2018’s ‘Sweetener’ — hinted at his involvement in the proceedings by showing an old photo of himself with Ariana on a rooftop somewhere in Manhattan, with no other context or explanation.
Apart from the forthcoming Friday single, none of these titles or track snippets has been confirmed by Republic Records, Grande’s label, which says that Grande’s social media will be the best source of information about the coming project.
The road to Grande’s newest mystery started Saturday night, around 8pm ET, as she jumped onto Instagram and Twitter with a quick video of her French manicured hand grazing a green backlit keyboard so to spell out the word “P-O-S-I-T-I-O-N-S.”
Before the countdown clocks appeared on Saturday, Grande had first seemingly confirmed the album with an October 8 tweet that read, “Turning in these mixes and reminding u again to register to vote if u haven’t already / to vote early.” A week later, she tweeted, “I can’t wait to give u my album this month.”
Before all of her fresh October drops, Grande did happen to leak a brief blip of her vocal track and some lyric snippets from that potentially forthcoming song, ‘brb,’ in September on Instagram.
That’s not a whole lot of official information, yet; the politicians aren’t the only ones still counting on October surprises.