"Thank U, Next" Album Review

Ariana Grande has done it again! Just six months after the release of her fourth studio album, the superstar is back with yet another chart-topping album entitled thank u, next. Her most personal and raw album yet, Grande gives us the antithesis to her previous optimistic album Sweetener and here is the track by track review:

“imagine”

Starting the album off with this dreamy track, Ariana illustrates a once beautiful love that has transmuted into an unattainable one. On her twitter, she described it as “kind of like...pretending it (the relationship) never ended. denial.” Through the power of scenic lyricism, whistle tones, and orchestral strings, Grande conveys the feeling of glorifying a relationship for what it could have been rather than for what it actually was. As many of us can relate to, it is hard to come to terms with the fact that what was once a perfect relationship turned out to be toxic in the end. Therefore, we just continue imagining on what could have been if everything just went right.

“needy”

A more vulnerable track on the album, “needy” is a soulful ballad that explains the feeling of insecurity a lot of us are too prideful to admit we have. The line, “sorry if I’m up and down a lot, sorry that I think I’m not enough, and sorry if I say sorry way too much” perfectly portrays the constant anxiety many of us have about not being good enough in relationships (whether romantic or not). It is not very hard to empathize with Ari on this one, as she literally took the thoughts out of our heads and transformed it into this dark yet relatable tune. Also, the melancholic strings at the ending of the song is the icing on the cake, as it fits the vibe perfectly.

“NASA”

“This is one small step for woman, one giant leap for woman-kind.” This opening line recited by famous drag queen Shangela Laquifa Wadley already set the tone for this female empowering banger. Many of us women feel pressured to be with our significant others 24/7, in fear that doing the opposite would make us bad girlfriends. But this song clearly illustrates that us women want alone time too! The double entendre of outer space equating to needing physical space from one’s partner showcases how women can feel restricted as much as men do. Moreover, Ariana expresses how she believes that a little bit of distance is healthy and ultimately makes the love stronger in the end.

7 rings GIF by Ariana Grande

“bloodline”

The ultimate feel good dance anthem! As someone who LOVES horns and upbeat songs, this was one of my favorites on the album for sure. The combination of trumpets, bass, and fun lyrics tied with a reggae feel makes this song the potential to be the next summer hit. In this song, Ariana made it clear that she was unapologetic for not wanting to settle down nor look for serious relationships with everyone she hooks up with. Power to the women who are embracing their sexualities and solely hooking up for pleasure because not all of us are looking to find someone for our bloodlines, we’re just tryna have a good time!

“fake smile”

Sampling 60’s tune “After Laughter (comes tears)” by Wendy Rene, Ariana once again appeals to literally every human being on earth with “fake smile.” Every person has had the feeling of pretending to be happy for the sake of others (or yourself) at least once in their lifetime. Ariana precisely depicts this feeling through lyrics such as “I can’t fake another smile, I can’t fake like I’m alright.” Despite how painfully accurate yet unhappy the lyrics are, Ariana manages to deliver it in a way that doesn’t quite make you sad at all. You feel bad for Grande, you feel bad for yourself, but you’re bopping your head to the uptempo beat as you do so. We all are down sometimes, and that’s alright so we should not have to put on the facade that we are okay.

“bad idea”

Ariana is really just attacking us with this album at this point, because bad idea is just too relatable. Yes Ariana I will admit, I am indeed guilty of making bad decisions for the sake of getting temporary satisfaction. A lot of us really do get ourselves in sticky situations just so we can “forget about it, forget about him, forget about me.” Everyone has their distractions and even if they are destructive, a lot of us do not tend to care in the moment. The production on this song is also extraordinary as the ending features a string quartet transition into a trap beat.

bored legally blonde GIF by Ariana Grande

“make up”

As soon as Ari started with the opening line of “I like to fuck with you just to make up with you” I knew this song would be a favorite. She’s not only being straight up about her feelings but she was able to describe the actions that many of us are guilty of doing at times (at least I know I do.) Sometimes you just gotta stir the pot in a relationship just because you know “making up” with your significant other will be worth it.

“ghostin”

The most beautiful yet utterly heartbreaking song on this album. Just when we thought “imagine” was the song that really hit us the hardest, we get to this one. In this bed of harmonies covered with a blanket of heart wrenching lyrics, you can clearly hear the sadness in her voice. It is speculated she’s talking directly to Pete Davidson about how she's still coping with the death of Mac Miller. The song itself samples a slowed down version of Mac’s song "2009" which makes it infinitely more haunting. She is aware that she has “baggage” and that she should let him go, but it is so hard to do so and she’s feeling guilty about it because she knows it’s not fair to her partner. Grande explained it as, “feeling badly for the person you’re with bc [because] you love somebody else. feeling badly bc he can tell he can’t compare…. and how i should be ghosting him.”

“in my head”

“Painted a picture, I thought I drew you well. I got a habit of, seeing what isn't there.” Y'all I swear she was talking right to me in this song because this is definitely something I do often! This song opens with another voice note, this time from Ariana’s friend Doug who had left her a voicemail saying how she's been trying to fix people when she only has the power to fix herself which is the absolute TRUTH. (Can we also note that he said he was ‘coming over’ at the end to comfort her when she really needed it? Talk about a real one.) This seems like another reference to Pete considering how their short-lived engagement ended. Sometimes the good in a person, or the characteristics of a “boy you invented,” can turn out to be someone that was only in your head. As someone who is notorious for living in a state of fantasy especially when it comes to love, I heavily resonate with this song’s message.

sad thank u next GIF by Ariana Grande

“7 rings”

She want it! She got it! Thank God she released this prior to the drop of the album because as we all know by now it’s a MAJOR bop. Julie Andrews couldn't help but be proud with the amazing spin she took on the classic Sound of Music song. She absolutely snapped from talking about the money she makes (which we already knew was A LOT), how good she looks (because who doesn’t follow her on Instagram?), and how even after all she's been through in the last year and a half she’s that B!TCH. With all her success, she’s earned bragging rights for sure and she’s not afraid to exercise them.

“thank u, next”

The title track of the project that broke the internet upon its release. From calling out all of her exes by name, to dressing up as a soon-to-be bride when she performed it on Ellen, to an all-star music video cast that recreated some of the best movies of the 90s. She’s grateful for the lessons that each of her relationships taught her but as for right now in her life she’s focused on only one relationship which is the one with herself. However, regardless of what happens, whether she finds someone new to have a relationship sooner rather than later she knows one thing, this song was completely a smash!

“break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored”

To end this personal album with a funny punchline that serves as her third single from this project, Ariana surprises the fans with “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored.” I really wasn’t sure how the vibe of this song was gonna be, mostly because it hadn’t been teased at all, but it was worth the wait. As soon as that opening beat began I could tell this one gonna be a favorite. It’s all about seeing someone at first glance and being like “I WANT YOU NOW” whether the person is single or not. You’re definitely lying if you say you’ve never felt this type of way before. The NSYNC sample in the bridge also ties the whole song together. 10/10!

break up with your girlfriend i'm bored GIF by Ariana Grande    

Overall, this album hit all the marks. Even after all the trauma she’s endured, Grande gave us a sonically cohesive body of work with lyrics that are so painfully relatable. With a song available for every emotion one could feel, thank u, next serves as the soundtrack for many of our lives.