How thank u, next Became Ariana Grande’s Career Changer 

“These personal moments on the album showcase how Grande does not need to rely upon high notes to make some of her most memorable work. Her strong, yet delicate voice paints some of the insecurities and fragile thoughts that she faces.”

Fresh off the successful promotion of the Grammy-winning Sweetener, Ariana Grande has returned with the anticipated thank u, next: a dark and hopeful chapter in her discography. In her most cohesive and layered work to date, Grande has brought out fun, bold and somber songs to show how she is still a powerful force.

Her romantic life may have become tabloid attention-grabbers, but the press and public seemed to forget the most important factor: she is a human being going through real and emotional … well, shit.

Where the heavily Pharrell Williams-produced sweetener showed Grande’s growth past the events of the Manchester concert, her new album conveys her emotional and painful story since this past August.

With the jaw-dropping opener “imagine,” listeners are well-aware of the journey ahead: a realistic, dreamy and emotional ride. Outside of the heavy beats and impressive whistle tones, the song provides a heartbreaking and jarring realization on the moment Grande realizes her relationship is not as idealistic as she wanted it to be. These honest moments, alongside “needy,” show how life can sometimes not be as sweet as you hope it to be. 

Songs like “needy” and “ghostin” provide some of the most intimate glimpses into the heart of Ariana Grande. These personal moments on the album showcase how Grande does not need to rely upon high notes to make some of her most memorable work. Her strong, yet delicate voice paints some of the insecurities and fragile thoughts that she faces.

In “ghostin,” which samples some of the late Mac Miller’s “2009,” Grande admits to missing her previous boyfriend in the company of her new lover. While critics will spend time analyzing who these songs are about, the most important part of this work is the honesty. Although “ghostin” was close to being cut from the final track list, it proved to be a crucial addition because it shows how human nature and tragedy can impact everybody – even the most influential pop star of 2019.  

Although thank u, next breaks down emotional barriers, it doesn’t shy away from taking the time to have fun. The first two singles “thank u, next” and “7 rings” have become notable pieces of pop culture and social media discussion. But, the song to look out for is her third single, “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored.” The sassy Max Martin-produced track shows Grande at her best: empowered, coy and not afraid to say whatever the fuck she wants. “You’re singin’ my songs in the streets / Actin’ all innocent, please / When I know you’re out here thinkin’ ‘bout it,” Grande sings, showing how unforgettable she truly is.  

Other album highlights include the sexier side of Ariana – the radio-friendly “bloodline,” which drips with female empowerment. The track, accompanied by a voice clip of Nonna talking about not being satisfied, is a not-so-secret message to a mysterious lover about having a one-night fling. This, complemented with “bad idea,” shows Grande in her element by letting her hair (or ponytail) down.

From singing about needing space in the catchy and album highlight “NASA” to realizing that you are loving the version of someone you have in your heard in the aptly titled “in my head,” she has offered a diverse and meaningful collection of tracks to show that God really is a woman. 

This fifth addition for Grande shows her at her most vulnerable, yet, at her most powerful. It is the perfect contrast to her previous LP, which showcased lovestruck and grounded songs on Grande’s personal growth. This sleek collection of tracks shows that, while Grande has been through the unimaginable, she is still finding the positive through any situation. She just has no fucks left to give.   

Album highlights: ghostin, needy, NASA and break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored 

To stream and/or purchase the new album, click here.

To get tickets for her April 5th Detroit stop on the Sweetener tour, you can purchase tickets here. 

Ryan Miller