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Ariana Grande’s “Everytime” Is Pure Pop Bliss

On Ariana Grande’s fourth album Sweetener, the music reaches its apex—musically, creatively, and energy-wise—during the middle run bookended by singles “God is a woman” and “no tears left to cry.”  In this streak, Sweetener peaks as a pop album, showcasing Grande’s undeniable power as a singer and matching it to a series of different, mesmerizing hooks, sounds, and grooves from the pep rally exuberance of title-track “sweetener” to “everytime,” a gorgeous song about dangerous infatuation

On “everytime” in particular, the production combo of Max Martin and Ilya Salmanzadeh provide a perfect canvass for Ariana Grande to portray an in-depth picture of intense love and youthful desire. The best pop songs about love make you want to be in it, or remember it, or make you feel like you’re experiencing it, all of which is provoked at the onset of “everytime’s” twinkling production. It’s only exacerbated by Grande’s passionate expressions of the inconsistencies and obsessions that come with that kind of all-encompassing devotion: “I get weak and fall like a teenager/ why, oh why does God keep bringing me back to you?/ I get drunk, pretend that I’m over it / Self-destruct, show up like an idiot,” she sings on the chorus. A brew of desire, dependency, frustration, and exasperation color the rest of the song, which is the album’s most relatable and euphoric.

The song’s of synths, Caribbean steel drums, and heavy bass are reminiscent of pop records from the 90s, but with an updated sound that makes it fit in with much of radio-friendly music today. Essentially, it’s the right kind of Max Martin record, and Grande’s strong voice and her ability to be delicate, vulnerable, and forceful at once make her the perfect person to helm it. It’s hard to imagine any other singer in pop who could do this song as well, making lines like, “I get tired of your no-shows, you get tired of my control / They keep telling me to let go, but I don’t really let go when I say so” sound both pristine vocally and believable emotionally. There’s something so personable about Grande as an artist and person that give lyrical cliches a genuine truthfulness, and Sweetener is at its best when that comes across.