Photo Credit: Instagram @arianagrande
Ariana Grande, America’s pop sweetheart, and currently the most followed profile on Instagram at 147-million and counting, just released her fifth studio album titled thank u, next. This album came as a surprise to some fans because she released her fourth studio album titled Sweetener just six months prior. Well, apparently Ms. Grande wanted to switch some things up and didn’t feel like waiting to do so. On this effort we have a new and matured Ariana Grande.
This 12-track record featured co-writers, and Grande’s close friends, Victoria Monet and Tayla Parx, who worked with Grande for years, along with other co-writers such as Tommy Brown, Charles Anderson, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Kandi Burruss, Michael Foster, and producers such as Happy Perez, Social House, Pop Wansel, Brian Baptiste, and more. The collaborations on the album added more of an R&B vibe, with a hint of trap compared to her previous albums. Grande also pulled this album together in the midst of her dealing with tough and public personal issues like the breakup from her fiancé, Pete Davidson, and the sudden death of her ex-boyfriend and good friend, Mac Miller.
Fans first noticed Grande may have a new album coming when she released the now title track; “thank u, next”, as a lead single on November 3, 2018. This single became Grande’s first No.1 single on the US Billboard Hot 100, as well as being No. 1 in twelve other countries. Day’s prior to the release of the song, Grande tweeted “Thank u, next” in response to a joke her ex-fiancé said regarding their broken engagement.
“Thank u, next” mixes the sounds of pop and R&B with lyrics referencing her past relationships stating that she is thankful for them and everything they have taught her, but she is moving on to the next. Grande sings, “One taught me love // One taught me patience // And one taught me pain // Now, I’m so amazing // Say I’ve loved and I’ve lost // But that’s not what I see // So, look what I got // Look what you taught me // And for that, I say // Thank you, next (Next) // Thank you, next (Next) // Thank you, next // I’m so f*ckin’ grateful for my ex.”
Grande’s second single titled “7 rings” grabbed a lot of attention and some criticism from fans and others alike. The song begins with similar melodies and lyrics from The Sound of Music’s “My Favorite Things” by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and then transitions into a trap-pop, R&B, and rap song. She was accused of plagiarizing the song from rappers 2chainz and Soulja Boy. However, without any hard facts, the discussion turned into merely other people’s opinions.
“7 rings” debuted at No. 1 on the US Hot Billboard 100 and reached No. 1 in twenty other countries, making this Grande’s second No. 1 single and the first artist to have their first two number ones debuted at the top spot. Classic New York hip-hop fans can appreciate the few bars she spit sampling the late Notorious B.I.G. That, along with the trap-sound and the friendship anthem lyrics, combined with Grande’s unmatched passionate vocals, certainly makes “7 rings” a stand out track. Grande raps, “Go from the store to the booth // Make it all back in one loop // Gimme the loot // Never mind, I got the juice // Nothin’ but net when we shoot // Look at my neck // Look at my jet // Ain’t got enough money to pay me respect // Ain’t no budget when I’m on the set // If I like it then that’s what I get.”
This new attitude and record-breaking Ariana starts off her album with the track titled “imagine”, a slow, smooth, daydream-like ballet. This is followed by the cohesive track titled “needy”. Then Grande adds a little more bass and beat with the following tracks “NASA” and “bloodline”. The album continues to showcase Grande’s vocal talents and lyric mastery, making her songs completely relatable to all girls that may be dealing with a breakup, in a relationship but catching feelings for another person, having to pretend everything in life is going fine, and/or girls who know they are the bomb and can take you from your man. On the album thank you, next Grande most certainly does not let her fans down. She came through with her sweet sounding, angelic, soprano notes that some say only dolphins can hear, while also gaining some new fans and listeners by this being her most R&B/rap infused album yet.