Sweetener

Ariana Grande - Sweetener
Critic Score
Based on 28 reviews
2018 Ratings: #282 / 850
Year End Rank: #11
User Score
2018 Ratings: #269
Liked by 107 people
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
The Irish Times
This is potentially Grande’s defining album as an artist. She proves that to be best you can be, all you have to be is okay.
91
Entertainment Weekly

More than any of her previous works, Grande is in the driver’s seat behind Sweetener‘s wheel.

90
AllMusic

An album that coheres in a way other Ariana Grande albums don't, which means Sweetener is something of a double triumph: she's come through a tough time stronger and better than before.

85
The Line of Best Fit

It does exactly what it says on the tin. Fifteen tracks that put a smile on your face and a tear in your eye.

83
Pretty Much Amazing

Because it deviates from what fans expected, Sweetener takes a couple rotations to sink in, but if you give it time, you’ll see Ariana Grande really threw it down when she took down her ponytail.

83
A.V. Club

Confident and empowered, Sweetener illustrates once again that Grande is an unparalleled pop chameleon.

81
Pitchfork

After years of searching, Ariana Grande has found her true voice. Sweetener is an exemplary pop album, radiating with low-key joy and newfound love.

80
NME
The superstar returns with a confident, accomplished, sometimes left-field collection of pop bangers, proving that she's not shy of experimentation.
80
The Telegraph

As modern, branded, blockbuster pop albums go, Sweetener is a delightful confection.

80
The Observer

Ultimately ... it’s the resolution and defiance of lead single No Tears Left to Cry that permeates Sweetener: the sense of facing the worst of humanity and coming out stronger.

80
Rolling Stone

Finding light is often much harder than drowning in darkness, but on Sweetener Grande makes moving forward from pain feel easy and, most importantly, possible. That light Grande promised has helped lead her down the path toward her best album yet, and one of 2018’s strongest pop releases to date.

80
Highsnobiety

This album is ultimately a labor of love, but the passion has never been stronger. Grande is a survivor and she’ll keep on fighting until her soaring voice gives out.

80
Spectrum Culture
This is the rare pop album where the filler is more interesting than the singles. There’s not a lot here that really feels extraneous.
80
The Arts Desk
Where others have washed-out tropical house beats and winsome mitherings, Grande brings together all her influences into a crisp, subtle funk.
80
Evening Standard
On an album that arrives carrying a jumbo jet’s worth of baggage, Grande moves onwards and upwards with a remarkable lightness to her step.
76
GIGsoup

'Sweetener' sees Ariana Grande leaving her comfort zone, and yet it feels like she's more at home and in control than ever. The songs here are by turns triumphant and tender, intimate and anthemic, mellow and mature.

75
The Young Folks

All in all, Sweetener is exactly what the title proposes it to be. It doesn’t completely mask the sometimes-bitter taste of life, nor does it try to—but when you’re in the right mood, it might be just what you were looking for.

70
Slant Magazine

Sweetener is a reflection of Grande's growing awareness of herself as an artist and her place in the world.

70
FLOOD Magazine

Sweetener is a pop remedy for anxiety, while also explicitly detailing its crippling nature.

70
The Needle Drop

Sweetener may be a Top 40 album through and through, but it's somewhat elevated by some quality production and Ariana Grande's consistently strong vocal performances.

70
The Sydney Morning Herald
Best of all, in spite of the artificial connotations of the title, Grande's fourth record is her most authentic and personal yet.
67
Consequence of Sound

It’s rare for an album with so many stunning moments to suddenly become so aggressively mediocre. Still, the highs of Sweetener outweigh the lows. But with such lofty highs, it’s hard to be content with the album that is and not think about what the album might have been.

60
Exclaim!

No matter how current her themes, musically, Sweetener may be Ariana Grande's nostalgia album. An obvious throwback, it refers back to the pop of the early aughts by divas — and obvious inspirations — like Gwen Stefani and Britney Spears. More than a return to basics, it's probably Grande's way of recalling a simpler, less troubled time.

60
The Guardian
It makes for an uneven album that attempts to balance the desire to – as Grande put it – “make the weirdest thing we can” with something infinitely more straightforward. It sounds like the work of an artist torn between doing exactly what she pleases and, perhaps understandably under the circumstances, giving her audience what they want.
60
The Independent
Often unexpected, sometimes in a good way, it is an album by an artist in flux – trying to move forward while reluctant to fully relinquish old ideas.
60
God Is in the TV

Sweetener ends up being hard to fully connect with as the songwriting can be meandering in places and needs more of the sharpness of her best work. Hopefully this works as a transitional release and the glimpses of brilliance here will be more fully realised next time.

60
Sputnikmusic
On a perfect album, Grande should be able to swirl a myriad of diffuse instrumentation into a potent brew with her lightning-rod vocal presence, but that’s not what happened here.
Ryannn
90
It’s 12:44, and I’m sitting in the middle of a study hall. I’m staring at my keyboard with absolutely no idea how to start this. The motivation is present but my fingers are frozen with a blank mind. I’ll just try things out and see how it goes. I know I’m supposed to write about artists with their last name, but I use Ari or Ariana because that’s how I'm used to writing it.

Think about it. Ariana was that red-haired girl from Victorious like 8 years ago. ... read more
badkarma
100
My 100th review had to be a special one :) Also, I wanna thank everyone for 50 followers! It means a lot <33

2018 was a difficult year for me. I was entering high school and the new schedule was driving me insane because there were days where I had to stay there from 7am to 6pm so it was really really exhausting. On top of that my grandpa and my uncle both passed away in a spam of 5 months and that affected me a lot because I used to see them literally every week, sometimes even 3 times a ... read more
BradTasteMusic
70
This production matched with Ariana’s singing is amazing. Pharrell and Ariana have a natural chemistry. It is still pop music watered down for the radio and it doesn’t reach its full potential. However it is still really freaking good
exception
71
This is the first Ariana Grande album I've listened to all the way through, and I'm taken aback. Of course it's not a revolutionary piece of pop, but I underestimated Ariana's talent. Her singing is full of life and is enough to carry most of these songs without needing any huge features to back her up, as Ariana has done previously on big singles and other album cuts. The production is a place where there are some inconsistencies; Pharrell Williams' contributions stick out like a sore ... read more
FearFlour
70
I saw an Ariana fan on twitter call Pharrell a "one hit producer". Smh.
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Added on: May 2, 2018