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Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next” Isn’t Shade- It’s Catharsis

Last night at 11:00 pm, Ariana Grande released “thank u, next”- the first song after her breakup with Pete Davidson. This took no time AT ALL- how fast are you getting in and out of that studio, girl? Hot damn!


She starts out the song by name-dropping four of her famous exes: rapper Big Sean, dancer Ricky Alvarez, Pete, and the late Mac Miller:


“Thought I’d end up with Sean

But he wasn’t a match

Wrote some songs about Ricky

Now I listen and laugh

Even almost got married

And for Pete I’m so thankful

Wish I could say thank you to Malcolm

Cause he was an angel”


She goes on to voice her gratitude for the personal growth she’s experienced as a result of her former relationships:


“One taught me love

One taught me patience

And one taught me pain

Now I’m so amazing”


It would be easy to write this new empowerment anthem off as confrontational, full of shade, an ultimate clap-back. But I think that it’s truly saying what it means.


Yeah, when you go through a breakup you need to be angry and sad and scream at the sky. You need to do that for awhile. In the beginning, when you’re still processing your feelings, it’s helpful. But you can’t stay like that forever. And Ariana isn’t.


She’s had a lot to deal with. Celebrity or not, she’s suffered through several tragedies and personal hardships. Yes, we view breakups as frequent and trite and hilarious, but love is one of the most human experiences. No matter who someone is, breakups suck. They hit you hard, amicable or otherwise.


The only way to get better is to let go of your pain and be genuinely grateful that you’ve been happy. Take care of yourself and grow. Then, when you’re ready, and completely on your own time, move on.


This isn’t another callout breakup smash. This reads more like Kesha’s “Praying,” to me. It’s like “Praying” but for a healthy relationship that just happened to not work out. Or maybe not! It’s whatever you want it to be.


For me, it’s been super powerful, and it came at the exact right moment.


I’m forever astonished by the power of music and the strength found within songwriting.

Kait Wilbur is an aggressively optimistic individual obsessed with sitcoms, indie music, and pop culture in general. She hails from Manito, a rural wasteland in Illinois so small and devoid of life that she took up writing to amuse herself. Kait goes to Butler University to prepare for a career in advertising, but all she really wants to do is talk about TV for a living. You can find her at any given moment with her earbuds in pretending to do homework but actually looking at surrealist memes.
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