In a matter of six months, Ariana Grande released her album Sweetener, had her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller pass away, and broke off an engagement to Pete Davidson. Oh, and announced a world tour. The great thing about music is that it’s used as therapy, and that’s what Ariana did with Thank U, Next. Instead of bottling up all her emotions and self-destructing, the pop star created a body of work that I consider to be her best yet. This new era of Ariana is a mixture of pop, RnB, sexy and self-loving.
When she covered Billboards “Women In Music” issue, she shared her thoughts on releasing music.
“My dream has always been to be — obviously not a rapper, but, like, to put out music in the way that a rapper does. I feel like there are certain standards that pop women are held to that men aren’t,” Grande said. “We have to do the teaser before the single, then do the single, and wait to do the preorder, and radio has to impact before the video, and we have to do the discount on this day, and all this shit. It’s just like, ‘Bruh, I just want to fucking talk to my fans and sing and write music and drop it the way these boys do. Why do they get to make records like that and I don’t?’ So I do and I did and I am, and I will continue to.”
Prior to the release of this album, Grande had dropped three singles; Imagine, 7 Rings, and Thank U, Next. The production on all three songs were definitely good indicators as to how this entire album was going to sound.
Ariana starts the album with Imagine. Although it’s not confirmed, the inspiration for Imagine likely lies in the death of Grande’s ex-boyfriend Mac Miller, who passed away from a drug overdose shortly after the two parted ways. This could suggest the song is about the unattainability of their love now that Miller has passed. Many of the lines in this track also mirror Mac’s 2016 track Cinderella, which was confirmed to be about Ariana.
She then sings about being Needy and then needing space on the track NASA.
On Fake smile, Ariana discusses her dissatisfaction with life and how she refuses to put up a facade to hide her emotions, as celebrities are often forced to comply with these standards.
When asked by a fan on Twitter what Ghostin was about, Ari replied with “feeling badly for the person you’re with bc you love somebody else. feeling badly bc he can tell he can’t compare…. and how i should be ghosting him.” The song samples Mac Miller’s 2018 track “2019”
7 Rings is a flip on the classic song My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music, and while I doubt Julie Andrews ever expected this to come from the original song, it works. I also think it helps that Grande really excels with her charisma on tracks like this and the closer of the album, (Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored) with both tracks benefiting from her confidence despite being less traditional pop songs.
The song Thank U, Next is motivational and therapeutic, while also just allowing itself to sound fun. It is easily one of Grande’s best songs from her entire discography.
Many were wondering what Grande’s album was going to sound like since it came as a surprise that she had another one coming out so soon after the release of Sweetener. This is definitely a continued step in the right direction. Right now, nobody can touch Ariana.
You can stream Thank U, Next below.