ariana grande comes clean on ‘thank u, next’


on february 8, ariana grande released ‘thank u, next.’ the album is titled after her smash hit by the same name, a song so huge that it produced several memes and catchphrases. ‘thank u, next’ is the fifth installment in ariana’s discography, hitting the shelves only six months after the release of ‘sweetener.’ however, ariana seems to have grown exponentially from her last album. ‘thank u, next’ features some of ariana’s most personal songs while still providing the sassy, confident bops that she’s known for.

imagine: having a dreamy introduction is a reoccuring theme in ariana’s albums, and ‘imagine’ lives up to its expectations. ‘imagine’ is written like a daydream with ariana lamenting about a relationship that could have existed. ‘imagine’ is sonically barren, but what the song lacks in instrumentation is made up by ariana’s stunning vocals. ariana hits several whistle notes in the bridge of the song, making ‘imagine’ one of her most stunning vocal performances to date.

needy: ariana teased this song on twitter after she released her fourth album, sweetener, and fans have been obsessed with it ever since. ‘needy’ is ariana’s most vulnerable song to date, where she admits that she can be insecure and obsessive in relationships. this track gives ariana, who can seem untouchable at times, human qualities that listeners can find themselves relating to.

nasa: this upbeat track uses space as a metaphor for needing some time away from a romantic partner. ‘nasa’ follows the album’s theme of self-love, and this track focuses on ariana taking care of herself first. this song is jam-packed with space references, like the when ariana sings ‘usually i would orbit around you, but gravity seems to be the only thing that’s pulling me.’

bloodline: ‘bloodline’ is one of the standout tracks on the album, from the trumpets to the trap beat on the prechorus to the infectious lyrics. this track is about not wanting anything serious from a romantic encounter, but the other party wants to continue the relationship. this song has so many great lines, but one of the best is the lyric ‘i know what you need but it won’t be me.’

fake smile: ‘fake smile’ masks sad lyrics with a pop-infused instrumental. the track opens with a snippet of wendy rene’s ‘after laughter’ which ariana samples on the instrumental. ariana sings that make her upset, like negative media coverage, but then immediately talks about how she’s grateful for ‘the love and all the above.’ on the chorus, ariana explicitly states that she’s done pretending she’s okay when she’s not, which is inspiring to listeners who might be hiding their struggles.

bad idea: this track centers around a situation where ariana uses a casual romantic encounter to try and numb the pain that she’s feeling. ‘bad idea’ is very fast-paced, giving the song an anxious feel that matches the lyrical content.

make up: ‘make up’ is a lighthearted track about picking fights with a partner just to make up later on. the song uses makeup as a double entendre, referring to both makeup and making up in the chorus’ lyrics ‘i love it when we make up, go ’head, ruin my makeup.’

ghostin: like ‘imagine,’ this track is about yearning for a relationship that’s impossible to have. before the album’s release, ariana told a fan on twitter that this song was about feeling bad for the person she’s with because she knows she’s still in love with someone else. ‘ghostin’ is one of the most honest songs on the album with heartbreaking lyrics like ‘we’ll get through this, we’ll get past this, i’m a girl with a whole lot of baggage.’ this song’s instrumental is reminiscent of a train speeding by, giving it the sense of a fleeting romance.

in my head: coming off the heels of ‘ghostin,’ this track’s lyrical content is just as distressing as the previous song. ‘in my head’ is about ariana creating an idealized version of the person she was with. the chorus is catchy, starting with the lyrics ‘falling, falling, but i never thought you'd leave me, falling, falling, needed something to believe in.’

7 rings: ‘7 rings’ served at the second single from the album and it definitely lived up to the hype that ‘thank u, next’ had. this track follows the melody of ‘my favorite things’ from the sound of music, focusing on material items that ariana enjoys. ‘7 rings’ is a feel-good bop that’ll make the listener feel expensive and confident.

thank u, next: the title track made waves in late 2018 when ariana released the song unannounced. ‘thank u, next’ became an instant hit when it debuted at #1 on the billboard hot 100, and that praise is well deserved. ariana focuses being grateful for her exes and learning to love herself on this upbeat pop smash, giving every heartbroken person an anthem for moving on.

break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored: the album’s closer is a flirtatious song about crushing on someone who’s already dating another girl. the bridge of ‘break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored’ samples the prechorus from nsync’s song ‘it makes me ill,’ which is about a similar situation. this uptempo trap song is sure to be a fan favorite with its catchy lyrics and irresistible beat.

thank u, next: is ariana’s most personal album to date, with ‘ghostin’ and ‘in my head’ being two of the most raw songs she’s ever released. the album also has its fair share of uptempo songs, like ‘break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored’ and ‘bloodline,’ which are both single-worthy anthems. ‘thank u, next’ is a perfect blend of emotional songs and danceable tracks, and will more than likely live up to the hype ariana has been receiving.

thinkpiecesAshley Rana