Sweetener (song)

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"Sweetener"
Song by Ariana Grande
from the album Sweetener
ReleasedAugust 17, 2018
Format
RecordedJuly 2016
Studio
Genre
Length3:28
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Pharrell Williams

"Sweetener" is a song by American singer Ariana Grande from her fourth studio album of the same name, released in 2018. It was written by Grande and Pharrell Williams, who also produced the track.

Background and release[edit]

Pharrell Williams (pictured in 2016) co-wrote and produced the track.

It was written by Ariana Grande and Pharrell Williams who also handled the production. Grande's vocals were recorded by Sam Holland and Noah Passovoy at MXM Studios in Los Angeles, California, with Jeremy Lertola providing recording engineer assistance.[3] Phill Tan mixed the track, and Josh Cadwin was the audio engineer,[3] with Andrew Coleman and Mark Larson as the recording engineer. Randy Merrill later mastered the song at Sterling Sound in New York City, New York.[3]

The song was first teased in Grande's "No Tears Left to Cry" music video, along with other songs.[4][5][6][7] Grande posted a picture of herself listening to the song on her instagram story.[8] On July 21, 2018, a paparazzi leaked a snippet of Grande playing the song in her car, later that day Grande confirmed the snippet on her Twitter.[9][10]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Sweetener" runs for a total duration of three minutes and twenty-eight seconds.[11] The song was the first Grande wrote for Sweetener.[12] Lyrically, the song talks about self care and empowerment while she sings directly for her lover. It contains double entendres in the song as well.[13] According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Universal Music Publishing Group, the song is composed in the key of E Major with a tempo of 120 beats per minute. Grande's vocals range from the note of F♯3 to D5.[14]

The New York Times's Jon Pareles wrote, "The sacred-secular juxtapositions continue in the title song, a Pharrell Williams production that switches between gospelly piano chords — as Ms. Grande praises how her man can 'bring the bitter taste to a halt' — and more dissonant hip-hop as she enjoys how 'you make me say 'oh!''."[15] Taylor Weatherby of Billboard called the song "'90s-inspired".[16] The Guardian's Alexis Petridis said, "the title track offers a bizarre, gripping splice of earthy Carole King-ish singer-songwriter piano ballad with Migos-inspired hip-hop, complete with onomatopoeic vocal interjections".[1] Spencer Kornhaber of The Atlantic said the song "gutsily blends the sensibilities of commencement speeches with that of Lil Pump".[17]

Critical reception[edit]

Brittany Spanos of Rolling Stone called the song a "bouncy, almost wickedly catchy highlight" on the album.[18] In his review of the album, NME's Douglas Greenwood wrote, "There's a telling audacity to the title track. Arriving midway through the album, 'Sweetener' sees Grande sing effervescently about 'letting the sweetener in our hearts' to 'bring that bitterness to a halt', before she ushers in a trap breakdown thats sounds like Metro Boomin messing with The Little Mermaid soundtrack."[19] Chris DeVille of Stereogum said, "The title track is the sort of modernized throwback soul tune Meghan Trainor might release, but rendered tastefully and produced with the detail-rich minimalism of Spoon's Kill the Moonlight."[2]

Pitchfork ranked it on its 100 best songs of 2018 list, saying that "amid the track’s svelte production — trickling percussion, cushy bass hits, a lusty and cascading synth line — Pharrell punctuates Grande’s commands with a high-pitched “sheesh!” like a steam whistle cutting through the air. It all adds up to a gleeful evocation of sensuality on an album consumed with the heady pleasures of new love. “Sweetener” carries a tender streak, too, embracing the notion of finding the good in so much bad, and toasting to the people in one’s life who encourage such perseverance. It embodies that same look-on-the-bright-side universality — a reminder that even the worst feelings can be turned into something radiant and nourishing."[20]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song debuted on September 1, 2018 at number 55 at its peak position, being Grande's second highest-charting non-single in the US.[21] After "Breathin" was released as the third single off Sweetener, it became Grande's highest-charting non-single in the US, later beaten by "Needy".

Live performances[edit]

Grande debuted the song live at The Sweetener Sessions.[citation needed]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits and personnel adapted from the liner notes of Sweetener.[22]

Recording

Management

  • Published by EMI Pop Music Publishing/More Water from Nazareth (GMR), Universal Music Corp./GrandAri Music (ASCAP)

Personnel

  • Ariana Grande – songwriting, vocals
  • Pharrell Williams – songwriting, production, additional vocals
  • Andrew Coleman – recording, digital editing and arrangement for I Am Other Entertainment
  • Mike Larson – recording, digital editing and arrangement for I Am Other Entertainment
  • Thomas Cullison – recording assistant
  • David Kim – recording assistant
  • Chris Khan – recording assistant
  • Jacob Dennis – recording assistant
  • Ian Findlay – recording assistant
  • Ben "Bengineer" Sedano – recording assistant
  • Phil Tan – mixing
  • Bill Zimmerman – additional mix engineering
  • Randy Merrill – mastering

Charts[edit]

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[23] 43
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[24] 44
France (SNEP)[25] 183
Hungary (Single Top 40)[26] 20
Ireland (IRMA)[27] 15
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[28] 77
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[29] 40
Portugal (AFP)[30] 57
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[31] 61
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[32] 96
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[33] 22
US Billboard Hot 100[34] 55

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Petridis, Alexis (2018-08-17). "Ariana Grande: Sweetener review – pop's ponytailed paragon gets weird". The Guardian. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Premature Evaluation: Ariana Grande 'Sweetener'". Stereogum. 2018-08-20. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Sweetener (CD). Ariana Grande. Republic Records. 2018. p. 5. B0028815-02.CS1 maint: others (link)
  4. ^ "Everything We Know About Ariana Grande's New Song 'No Tears Left to Cry'". Billboard. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  5. ^ "Ariana Grande Shares "No Tears Left To Cry" & Music Video". iHeart Radio. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  6. ^ "Ariana Grande teases new music: 'no tears left to cry'". BBC. April 18, 2017. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  7. ^ "Ariana Grande's 'No Tears Left To Cry' Video Pays Tribute To Manchester". Paper. April 20, 2017. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  8. ^ "sweetener:)". Twitter. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  9. ^ ".@ArianaGrande are you Literally listening so loud to #Sweetener". Twitter. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  10. ^ "sweetener". Twitter. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  11. ^ "Sweetener by Ariana Grande on Apple Music - iTunes". Apple Music. 2018-08-17. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  12. ^ Youngs, Ian; Rumble, Taylor-Dior (2018-08-17). "Ariana Grande's Sweetener: The stories behind the songs". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  13. ^ "Ariana Grande's Sweetener: A Track-by-Track Review". Pride. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  14. ^ "sweetener By Ariana Grande - Digital Sheet Music". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  15. ^ "Ariana Grande Sails Above Sorrow on 'Sweetener'". The New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  16. ^ "6 Reasons Ariana Grande's 'Sweetener' Is Her Most Uplifting Album Yet". Billboard. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  17. ^ Kornhaber, Spencer (2018-08-23). "Ariana Grande's Weird Take on Love". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  18. ^ Spanos, Brittany (2018-08-20). "Review: Ariana Grande Finds Serenity and Has Some Fun on ' Sweetener'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  19. ^ "Ariana Grande – 'Sweetener' review". NME. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  20. ^ "The 100 Best Songs of 2018 - Page 2". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  21. ^ "Ariana Grande Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  22. ^ Sweetener (CD). Ariana Grande. Republic Records. B0028815-02.CS1 maint: others (link)
  23. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Ariana Grande – Sweetener". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  24. ^ "Ariana Grande Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  25. ^ "Lescharts.com – Ariana Grande – Sweetener" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  26. ^ "Single (track) Top 40 lista - Hivatalos magyar slágerlisták". zene.slagerlistak.hu. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  27. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography Ariana Grande". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  28. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Ariana Grande – Sweetener" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  29. ^ "Charts.nz – Ariana Grande – Sweetener". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  30. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Ariana Grande – Sweetener". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  31. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  32. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Ariana Grande – Sweetener". Singles Top 100. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  33. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  34. ^ "Ariana Grande Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 16, 2019.