Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next” Will Have You Saying “Thank You, Ariana”
By Maya Gorman
Ariana Grande has been on fire recently; even her broken-off, one-month engagement with Pete Davidson has not slowed her down. Releasing two albums in under a year --“Sweetener” on Aug. 17 of last year, and “thank u, next” on Feb. 8 -- is her greatest dedication to music so far. “Sweetener” was written in three months and recorded in two weeks. Her previous album, “Dangerous Woman,” was released back in 2016.
“Sweetener” is a melodic, edgy, and rhythmic album that includes 15 songs and features from Nicki Minaj, Pharrell Williams, and Missy Elliot. Grande told Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” that she wrote the album as a “sweetening of her situation.” While some may think “Sweetener” is better because of its catchier songs, others like “thank u, next” more because Grande is experimenting more with her sound and creating different music.
Jayson Coy, Adv. 905, an avid Ariana Grande fan, said “I think ‘Sweetener’ appears more catchy because although it sounds very different than what she has done, a lot of it sounds similar so it is easier to remember the beats and rhythms.” Williams, who is “known for his beats” produced it, so this makes perfect sense.
On the other hand, “thank u, next” has no features and the songs are more experimental and mellow. Kristin Corry of Noisey said that in this album, Grande is “working through her less than grand moments and trying to decide which is more important: the face she has to put on for the public, or the one she looks at in the mirror … thank u, next finds Grande as the protagonist and antagonist of her own story.”
Coy elaborated his opinion on “thank u, next,” and said “I really like ‘thank u, next’ and I personally think it is better than ‘Sweetener.’ Each song has its own unique identity and none of them flop. Plus, I really like how Ms. Grande, herself, is playing with her sound and trying to produce music that creates a totally different experience from her past albums.”
Most of the 12 songs on the album involve Grande’s relationships and her thoughts on the role she plays or has played in those relationships. The first of the 12 songs on the album is “imagine,” a dreamy love ballad with a simple beat about “a simple, beautiful love that is now (and forever) unattainable,” Grande told a fan in November. The song is a nice beginning to the album and represents the album well because it encapsulates the common theme of the album -- love -- with lyrics like “We go like up 'til I'm 'sleep on your chest, Love how my face fits so good in your neck… Can you imagine it?” Another song, “needy,” a fan favorite track, discusses Grande’s need for attention from her significant other. The song starts off with a strong, steady beat made by seemingly xylophone noises. The beat continues throughout the song and compliments her high and calm vocals which sing “I'm obsessive and I love too hard, Good at overthinking with my heart.”
Overall, Grande’s new album is a success and worth a listen. “Thank u, next” is available on all music streaming platforms.