On Ariana Grande’s fifth studio album, thank u, next, we see a new side of Grande; sassy, sad, and strong. Grande’s personal life has been rocky recently, from broken engagements to the dead of an ex-boyfriend to a concert bombing. Many expected Grande to take a step away from the spotlight but instead she further plunged herself into the public eye. Her most recent album proves she is stronger than ever and cements her status as the queen of pop.
The album opener and pre-released single address Grande’s fantasy about how a relationship could have worked out. Although it Grande believes it would be realistic for their relationship to work out her partner seems less optimistic.
On the second track Grande craves affection and owns her neediness. She apologizes for her insecurities, but blames it all on the damage to her personal life. Not only does she claim she is needy, but also that she wants to be needed by someone else.
Grande shifts her feelings on “NASA” by requesting space from everyone. She explains that space is beneficial and needs time alone to figure who she is and what she wants.This song is in no way a break up, but rather a break from any and all relationships.
With an introduction from her grandma, Grande sings about a loose, no commitment relationship. She is makes it very clear about what she is looking for, “I ain’t looking for my one true love/ Yeah that ship sailed away”.
Grande stays open and honest as she addresses the downside of fame and the pressure to always be happy. She remains optimistic singing, “I’m happy for the love and all of the above”, but still addresses her sadness singing, “If I’m being honest, I done been through way too much”.
Filled with innuendos, Grande calls a lover to help, “numb the pain”. She urges him to forget about her exes and herself, just wanting him to distract her from the personal pain she is experiencing. The last minute of the song replays the melody, but distorts it by loudening the bass and remains purely instrumental.
Singing about the ebbs and flows of a relationship, Grande admits to starting fights just to make up with her partner. She even mentions Rihanna’s popular makeup brand Fenty singing, “Highlight of my life, just like that Fenty Beauty kit”. Upbeat and sassy, this is sure to be a hit.
One of the more emotional songs on the album, Grande is torn between a lost lover (presumably Mac Miller) while still deeply in love with her current partner (this is thought to be Pete Davidson). This song carries heavy undertones of misery and sorrow, even going as far as commending her current lover for all that she is putting him through and how well he is handling it.
in my head
Grande admits to inventing a version of person instead of realizing who this person truly was and being cognizant of their problems. She sings of a perspectives of the same person, “My imagination’s too creative/ They see Cain and I see Abel”. This song is said to be about Mac Miller, as Grande has spoken out about how she tried to help Miller through his struggles, but was ultimately unsuccessful.
Grande reworks the beat from The Sound of Music’s “My Favorite Things” to create an r&b, pop infused anthem about living lavishly and doing what she wants. The catchy chorus boasts, “I want it, I got it”. She references her identity as a newly single woman, and proclaims retail therapy as the cure to her problems singing, “Whoever said money can’t solve your problems?/ Must not have had enough money to solve them”.
thank u, next
The titular track shows Grande’s gratitude for her past relationships while still insisting that she move forward. In the first verse she explicitly names four of her past boyfriends and goes on to name her current partner: herself! Released just weeks after her break up with Pete Davidson, this breakup anthem broke numerous records for both Grande and the music industry. Her star studded video included appearances from actor Jonathan Bennett, youtubers Gabi DeMartino and Colleen Ballinger, former co-star Elizabeth Gillies, singer Troye Sivan, and media mogul Kris Jenner amongst many others. The video reenacts famous scenes from nostalgic movies such as Mean Girls, Bring it On, 13 Going on 30 and Legally Blonde.
break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored
The closing track on Grande’s album is without a doubt one of her most sultry and sexy songs ever released. It gained much popularity after its release, with many listeners awed by its frankness. Soon after its release she issued a video starring Riverdale heartthrob Charles Melton. The video arguably garnered more attention than the song, with thought provoking images and a surprise ending.
picture credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thank_U,_Next