Ariana Grande has been through a lot in the last couple of years. Back in December, Grande gave an insightful interview with Variety after a series of tragedies: the 2017 terrorist attack outside her concert in Manchester, England; her brief engagement to SNL star Pete Davidson, who she dedicated a song on her Sweetener album; and the death of her former boyfriend Mac Miller, who also was on her breakout hit “The Way.” “It’s just like, ‘Bruh, I just want to f-ing talk to my fans and sing and write music and drop it the way these boys do,” she said. “Why do they get to make records like that and I don’t? So I do and I did and I am , and I will continue to.”
After releasing her album Sweetener, which was aimed towards her healing after the tragedies at the terrorist attack outside her show, she then went through another handful of tragedies. Six months after Sweetener, Grande is back with her biggest, most personal album yet. She released the supremely catchy gratitude bop “thank u, next,” and people were so shook by her emotional maturity, the song became Grande’s first No. 1 single. Then by the end of 2018, Grande hinted at a Sweetener follow up.
The new album, thank u, next, is out now. The album is packed with personal confessions for the fans “Arianators” to pick over. It might lack a centerpiece that match the arresting depth and space of Sweetener‘s “God Is A Woman,” but Grande handles its shifting moods and cast of producers, including Max Martin and Tommy Brown, with engaging class and momentum. One moment you’re skanking along to the party brass of “Bloodline,” the next floating into the semi-detached, heartbreak of “Ghostin,” which appears to address Grande’s guilt at being with Davidson while pining for Miller. She sings of the late rapper as a “wingless angel” with featherlight high notes that will make people ask if it’s her or a bird chirping?
Underneath the mellow drift of its melodies and its star’s frictionless, four-octave range, however, thank u, next finds the lovable Grande embracing her inner mean girl. On her sexy song “Break Up with Your Girlfriend. I’m Bored” owning her flaws and contradictions. She’s then a stifling girlfriend over the layered finger snaps of “Needy” and pushes for space against the expansive, echoing bass of “NASA.”
Overall, the album is full of personal messages for fans to weep and dance to. Let us know your favorite song by sounding off in the comments!