“Thank U, Next”: Ariana Grande’s Newest Album Tops Charts

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Karla Villegas Pineda, News Correspondent

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Earlier this month, Ariana Grande released her fifth studio album, “thank u, next. The album, which debuted at the top of the Billboard 100, was recorded amidst her breakup with SNL star Pete Davidson and the death of her ex-boyfriend, beloved rapper Mac Miller. Grande’s new record features songs about self- empowerment and growth as well as addresses some of the pop singer’s personal faults.

The opening track, “imagine,” is a love-letter to Grande’s dream relationship. Many fans speculate it was written about her relationship with Mac Miller, as some of the lines draw parallels with Miller’s track “Cinderella,” which has been confirmed to be about Grande. Regardless, the song is catchy and shows off Grande’s impressive whistle-note range.

“needy” is a confession of Grande’s faults. In “needy,” the lines “I admit that I’m a lil’ messed up/ I’m obsessive and I love too hard/ Good at overthinking with my heart” are harsh truths for Grande to admit, which contrast with outro’s delicate violins and string plucking.

“NASA” and “bloodline” are about learning to be happy by yourself, without external love. While “NASA” features gentle lyrics that appreciate that external love, “bloodline” pushes away the lover, saying “I know what you need, won’t be me/ Don’t you in my bloodline.” Both are upbeat, feel-good songs.

“fake smile,” is about Grande’s refusal to put up facades, and her strong inclination for being transparent about her feelings. The song’s bridge and outro, however, are a bit lackluster and do not flow naturally with the peppy chorus.

In “bad idea,” Grande talks about wanting a new lover only to “numb the pain” caused by her exes and herself. The song is in a minor key and features a slightly aggressive beat, adding to the imagery that getting a new lover for the purpose of forgetting past memories is not good.

“make up,” draws parallels with the ups and downs of relationships, and features puns about cosmetics with lyrics such as “highlight of my life, just like that Fenty Beauty kit.” The bridge flows naturally to and from the chorus, and also possesses a satisfying fade out that will be sure to keep the melody playing in your head.

“ghostin” and “in my head” are about being hung up on past love. Despite being about the same topic, the songs are very sonically different. The gentle melody in “ghostin” reminds me of a lullaby, yet pairs with sad lyrics such as “What was done and what was said/ Leave it all here in this bed with you” to make a raw, hard-hitting song, sure to be featured in plenty of pop breakup playlists. “in my head,” on the other hand, highlighted by a smoothly syncopated beat and has a faster moving melody.

The final three tracks, “7 rings,” “thank u, next,” and “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored,” are all higher tempo, and are therefore a bit more suited to pure jamming than the other tracks. The three tracks, along with “imagine,” were released as singles before the rest of the record, and are very popular among the pop-listening community.

In all, I’d give Grande’s new album 4 out of 5 stars. Some of the tracks shine more than others, but they are definitely a stellar showcase of her talent as a songwriter and vocalist.

 

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