Thank U, Next- Ariana Grande
Sydney Davis February 21, 2020
By: Sydney Davis
Imagine a world without Ariana Grande’s new album thank u, next. If we are being completely honest, everything would be pretty much the same, but the album is nice to have. This album was released only a little over six months after her #1 album Sweetener which was released in August 2018. This is somewhat surprising for Grande since she usually would release albums within a year or two of each other. Obviously, Grande had a lot of material due to the loss of rapper Mac Miller, her ex-boyfriend of two years, in September 2018, and her recent break off of her engagement to comedian Pete Davidson in October 2018. In the same month of October, Grande announced she was taking a break from music, then a few weeks later she announced she was working on new music. At that moment, I knew that she was bringing us some heat to listen when we’re in our feelings and/or need to get out of them. Guess what she did? THAT!
The album’s first single, which shared the name of the album, “thank, u next”, was released in November 2018 with the visual soon following. This gave fans a feeling of what was in store for the album’s overall theme –– her recent relationship trials and tribulations. The track list totals to twelve songs. The album was mostly pop with a hip-hop influence on some songs. There is also a little of maybe a Carribean vibe on the song “bloodline” and “make up”. The hip-hop vibe can be heard on the songs “7 rings”, “in my head”, and “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored”. The beats used for her songs and her flow give you hip-hop vibes. The music video of “7 rings” had a pink house that resembled 2 Chainz’s pink trap house on the cover of his 2017 album, Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, and her flow in this song has been compared to Soulja Boy’s flow in his song “Pretty Boy Swag”. 2 Chainz embraced the similarity though and hopped on a remix for the song with Grande.
The album starts off with “imagine” which is a slow song where she yearns for a world where she can be peacefully with her boyfriend and ends with “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored”, where she contemplates taking someone’s boyfriend. While this seems like a huge momentum change, the songs in-between these all slowly show a change of pace from pain into acceptance. The pain is really heard in “ghostin” where Grande talks about her struggle of being engaged to Pete while losing Mac Miller, and acceptance can obviously be heard in “thank u, next”. An overlooked component of the album is that Grande supports female empowerment in many songs. The song “NASA” begins with changing Neil Armstrong’s famous line to “one small step for woman, one giant step for womankind.” In “7 rings”, she expresses getting things on her own, buying rings for six of her girls, and not getting married even though she had an engagement ring. Finally, in “thank u, next”, she talks about having self-love, and not worrying about romantic relationships.
This album told stories that just felt real and relatable. While we all maybe haven’t gone through the exact same thing as Grande in the public eye, much of what she says can be related into everyday life. Like on her song “fake smile”, she talks about having to go to things and act like she was happy, but on the inside she wasn’t. Almost everyone has had days where they had to do things and they just weren’t feeling up to it, but they had to, as the saying goes, “fake it ‘til they make it”.
I personally really like the album because she really expressed her emotions on it. I think the fact that the album just felt so real to me due to its timing and her recent issues helped make me like it and continue to listen to it about twenty times by now.
Favorite Tracks: “imagine”, “in my head”, & “fake smile”