Did You Catch the Hidden Message Behind Ariana Grande’s ‘Sweetener’?
Ever since Ariana Grande first hinted her next album would arrive in 2018, she's been slowly unveiling details about what the record will entail. We now know, among other things, that it will be titled Sweetener, have 15 songs — including singles "No Tears Left to Cry" and "The Light Is Coming," plus a Pete Davidson-inspired interlude — and, as of the wee hours of Wednesday morning (June 20), that it will arrive August 17.
But Grande may have also been sharing some more subtle hints about the project's message. Looking back at her previous three albums — 2013's Yours Truly, 2014's My Everything, and 2016's Dangerous Woman — you may have noticed that the album artwork is entirely in black and white. That's a stark contrast from the Sweetener cover she revealed earlier this week, a bright, sunny, full-color headshot of Grande looking wide-eyed into the distance.
Now, this could just mean Grande has merely tired of her black and white aesthetic and is embracing a new era of imagery, but it could also symbolize the broader meaning behind Sweetener. When she appeared on The Tonight Show in May, Grande said the LP was about "bringing light to a situation or somebody's life who brings a light to your life," and Sweetener seems to represent that verbatim. Like, she has a song literally titled "The Light Is Coming." It doesn't get more direct than that.
It would also make sense given what Grande has faced in the two years since Dangerous Woman: The deadly bombing at her Manchester show in 2017, which left her with heightened anxiety and symptoms of PTSD, and the dissolution of her relationship with now-ex-boyfriend Mac Miller.
With Sweetener, it seems, Grande is ready to emerge from the darkness and step back into the light.