“I’m So Fuckin’ Grateful.” Alex Reacts to “Thank U, Next”

 

Y’all knew it was coming. Ariana Grande surprise-released her new single “thank u, next” on Saturday night and I, along with most of the internet, nearly lost my mind. An unexpected, autobiographical anthem of self-empowerment and gratitude, existing in a post-relationship state, “thank u, next” is everything we needed this November. With a discussion of her past and her present, Ariana Grande proves to the public that her story, and therefore her future, is exactly that—hers.

 

“Thank you, next / I’m so fuckin grateful for my ex.” Ariana tackles each of her most famous and publicized relationships with her exes, and even references them each by name. Reserving two-line anecdotes for each of the four exes she names (Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez, Pete Davidson, and late, great Mac Miller), Ariana quickly shifts from discussing her exes specifically, and the song becomes what it’s really about: accounting for your mistakes and the mistakes of others, learning to forgive, and even learning to appreciate. “One taught me love / one taught me patience / one taught me pain / now I’m so amazin,” sings Ariana in the buildup to the chorus, leaving fans to wonder which ex taught Ariana what. But, as we soon realize, it doesn’t matter. This song is about Ariana.

“I met someone else / we havin’ better discussions / I know they say I move on too fast / but this one gon’ last / ‘Cause her name is Ari / and I’m so good with that.” It’s hard to listen to this line of the song and not feel something. Just about a month following the dissolution of her engagement to Pete Davidson and two months following the death of Mac Miller, Ariana Grande has channeled her heartbreak and anxiety into her work. Working exclusively with her close-knit group of friends, including singer-songwriter Victoria Monét and producer Tommy Brown, Ariana has lifted the veil of her artistry, entering a new state of honesty and appreciation in her music. In doing so, she has gained the ability to find love and hope within herself.

 

“One day I’ll walk down the aisle / holding hands with my momma / I’ll be thanking my dad / ‘cause she grew from the drama.” Ariana connects the dots to the very first source of love and strength she encountered: her mother. Divorced from her father when Ariana was still a child, Ariana’s mother raised her without her father, and in this lyric, Ariana identifies with her mother’s struggle, thanking her for the strength and hope she taught her.

 

Aside from being quite unlike any other song, especially as far as message and lyrical content, the track itself is an absolute bop. There’s something about knowing that Ariana’s best friend Victoria suggested the title for this track, and for her forthcoming fifth album, just because it’s something Ariana has always said. In contrast to many mainstream, big-name artists, Ariana is giving her fans an inside look into her world, and leaves us knowing exactly where she is right now. Right now, she doesn’t want us to focus on Pete Davidson, or how she’s handling Mac Miller’s tragic passing, because she isn’t focused on that—Ariana is moving forward, and encouraging us to do the same. “God forbid something happens / at least this song is a smash.” No matter what life throws at us, Ariana implores us to receive it, deal with it, appreciate its lesson, and move forward from there—thank you, next.