Perhaps one of the most daring moves of her career, Ariana Grande came out with “thank u, next” only a couple months after the release of her last album “Sweetener.” While I enjoyed a few songs on “Sweetener,” “thank u, next” is full of back to back hits with such a variety of style that it takes the spot as the best Ariana album.
The titular song, “thank u, next” is the breakup anthem we all need with a video to match. The message is clear: yes we’re over, but thank you for all the good times we’ve had. Instead of pulling a Taylor Swift and bashing her exes one by one, Grande decided to give each their proper thanks for all the life lessons she learned while she was with them, and it’s powerful. There’s a level with maturity shown through this song that hasn’t been apparent in some of her past hits. It’s not just a breakup anthem; it’s a song about loving yourself. By choosing a relationship with herself and spending time with friends that matter, she is opting to learn more about herself before entering another relationship.
A song that is also capturing everyone is “break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored.” In a music video featuring Charles Melton from Riverdale, the song has a catchy melody and is purely a song of lust and having fun. With a plot twist of choosing the girl at the end of the video, Grande keeps people hooked as she reveals more and more about herself through her songs. This song is most likely going to hit number one soon on Billboard’s top 100, which will make Ariana Grande the only artist in history to have three songs hit number one (currently “thank u, next” and “7 rings” held this spot).
My personal favorite on the album is “needy,” which is more of a ballad than it is an anthem like the past two. This song effortlessly works in minor chords in a haunting way while Grande croons about her flaws. In another example of how Grande has matured with this album, “needy” talks about how desperate we can be with the people we care about, and how we don’t want to lose them. The choir that backs her up makes the song even more heartbreaking as she lays out her emotions on the table, and it’s one that for sure will capture you.
For the last pick of my favorites, I want to honor the rest of the songs on the album. The song “imagine” depicts a romance with no worries, while “ghostin” talks about a romance where they’re trying to make it work but it’s getting harder. “make up” and “bloodline” both have the same idea of a possibly toxic person. “7 rings” is all about having no cares and spending money, while “fake smile” is all about pretending you’re okay all the time. Finally, “bad idea” is about being with someone you shouldn’t, while “NASA” is all about needing some alone time.
My least favorite on the album is “in my head,” a song about believing someone to be one thing but having them be another. It hits close to home with the idea we want to see the best in people, but sometimes that’s not correct. Grande sings about battling herself with what’s right and what’s wrong and having to come to terms with when it’s right to let go.
Usually, I’m not the biggest fan of pop, truthfully I’m a casual listener. “thank u, next” has me obsessed and I find myself listening to it more and more. It’s a stellar album all about relationships, the highs and lows, and what it means to love yourself. It’s an album that speaks to our flaws and our aspirations. Ariana Grande has outdone herself with his record, and I can’t wait to see how she follows up.