'thank u, next' is SO Worth the Listen

Look, I know everyone and their mother is an Ariana Grande stan nowadays, but it’s for good reason. Ariana has given us one more reason to love her in the form of her new album "thank u, next."

Not even six months after releasing "Sweetener," Ariana has dropped her fifth studio album, "thank u, next" and let me tell you, it's worth the 41 minutes it takes to listen to it in its entirety. While "Sweetener" was the album that brought healing, "thank u, next" is a step toward a new direction—a reinvention, if you will. The album is full of self-awareness, brutal honesty and just saying whatever it is that you feel with your chest.

On this album, Ariana embraces her flaws and she doesn’t try to portray herself in a positive light in every song. Instead, she chooses to sing about the parts of her character that aren’t so great, the vulnerable parts. She embraces a very "2019" concept of being open and honest with her audience. She shows that despite online representations of flawless lives and characters and the media making her seem like she’s perfect, everyone is human and we’re all on the struggle bus every now and then.

Kicking off the album's promotional singles with “thank u, next,” Ariana had already given us a little taste of what this album was going to be like. She thanks her exes and moves on, anticipating the good things that will come her way later on and appreciating the lessons learned as a result of the relationship. She didn’t deny that she dated these men and that the relationships failed, she appreciated what she got from the time she spent with them and moved right along. The title track was followed up by “imagine,” where she sings about a beautiful, unattainable love, and “7 rings,” the anthem all of us broke bitches love, in which she sings about empowering herself by spending her money on herself and her friends.

And then came the album.

Filled with consistent R&B-style songs and some orchestral and cinematic takes, this album addresses everything from casual sex to the struggles of having to fake a smile to the desire for attention. And that’s exactly why it’s worth the listen. Every day we take in the lives of people who seem perfect on social media, we see the highlight reels from both the lives of our friends and the celebrities and influencers we look up to. Almost no one wants to say that they’re struggling or that they cry themselves to sleep every night. No one wants to talk about the ugly parts of life that keep you up at night or the parts that people would judge you for, but that’s exactly what Ariana does here.

"thank u, next" invites all of us into the heart of Ariana Grande, a person we have seen go through so much on all ends of the spectrum. It invites your fascination about how a person could deal with so much and still get up every day to produce music for her audience. It invites you to feel the confidence, the rediscovery that presumably she feels too.

In a time where a lot of us are unsure of how much is too much vulnerability to share online, Ariana sets the bar high. It’s okay to have bad days, it’s okay to be a little messed up and to need your space. In fact, it’s human. This era is all about embracing who you are, the mess that is life and the growth that comes with working through it.

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