I’ve always thought Ariana Grande was a star. I first watched her act on Victorious and thought her character Sam was spot on yet likeable. Then, she launched her music career shortly after that and I was blown away that someone who stands about four feet nine inches could have such a booming and powerful voice. Yet, with Thank U, Next she wrote, recorded, and produced this album within six months of her previous work Sweetener.
Before we talk about the Grammy nominated album Thank U, Next, let’s first note the sweetest tracks on Sweetener:
- Debuted at #1 with three Top 20 singles in the US
- Finished out the year at #38 on the Billboard Hot 200.
- First notable track: God is a Woman– a female empowerment track discussing sexual empowerment using spirituality imagery. Musically, it is trap-pop with some reggae elements.
- Second notable track: Breathin’– a dance pop mental health bop discussing Grande’s overcoming struggles with anxiety.
- Third notable track: No Tears Left To Cry – A dance pop and disco track about overcoming a tragic event and turning it into a positive.
- Fourth notable track: Get Well Soon – a soul-ballad that has a laid back R&B melody with lyrics that talk about Grande’s personal anxiety & trauma following the Manchester Arena bombing.At the end of the song, 40 seconds of silence are played as a tribute to the twenty-two victims of the bombing and the date of which the bombing took place (May 22, 2017).
Thank U, Next Song by Song Review
Grande’s 5th studio album was released on February 8, 2019, and spent two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 200, as well as four weeks in the Top 10 of Billboard Hot 200.
Musically, it contains pop, r&b, soul, dance hall, trap and urban. It was nominated for both Album of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2020 Grammy Awards.
Ends 3/31/20 and open to an international winner. Sorry for the wonkiness.
Imagine: First promotional single about an unattainable love. About a “now and forever” unreachable love. It’s musicality contains whistle noises and is an R&B trap ballad.
Needy: mid-tempo minimalistic song with a metronome-like synth in the foreground. Lyrically, it shows that any lover can be insecure and craves emotional support.
NASA R&B tune featuring a thumping bass and trap drums; a song about needing space or distance to create a “miss you” effect with the person you are in a relationship with.
Bloodline: My instant favorite off this album about wanting to be friends with benefits. A reggae pop song with R&B influences that contains brassy horns and a pumping bass. The song opens with a sound bite of her grandmother referencing her hearing aid.
Fake Smile: A hip-hop soul track with a trap groove, Grande discusses her dissatisfaction with life and how she won’t wear a facade to hide her emotions. This is her opening up about the Manchester bombing and the death of her ex Mac Miller.
Bad Idea: An EDM and trap number opening with an 80’s rock ballad intro compared to David Guetta’s Titanium featuring an orchestra in the bridge and outro. Lyrically, it discusses using a lover to numb her pain.
Make-Up: A wonky pop and bubblegum influenced sound with a rap-influenced bridge set up a double entendre about makeup applied to one’s face to enhance one’s features and make-up sex after a heated argument.
Ghostin’:An emotional synth-and-strings ballad about being with someone while still being in love with someone else.
In My Head: A track with trap pop hybrid musicality with many R&B influences about falling in love with someone she created in her head only to realize that is not who the person is at all.
7 Rings: A trap and R&B cover of My Favorite Things by Julia Andrews from The Sound of Music. Instead of the musical reprise, the track has a female empowerment hip-hop flex feel. It’s also acknowledges the power of women friendships and women who support one another.
Thank U, Next: The title track off the album. Self-empowered pop and R&B track discussing being grateful for the lessons learned in past relationships and from past lovers.
Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored: Trap-pop and R&B song that samples “It Makes Me Ill” by NSYNC in the bridge. A song that at first sounds like being attracted to a guy only to realize he has a girlfriend but she really wants to love herself.
Grande hit the nail on the head despite the short time span this album took to create and come out but sometimes, it’s the heaviness of life that creates the most lasting art, song, or story.