‘thank u, next’ album review
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
The past few years have been very tough for Ariana Grande. Not long after the terrorist attack that took place during a concert that she held in Manchester in 2017, one of her ex-boyfriends, Mac Miller, passed away from a drug overdose in September 2018. She also ended her engagement with Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson in October of that year.
During that time, Grande was working on her album thank u, next, which was released a few months after her previous album Sweetener. She released thank u, next earlier than I was expecting. The album explores the major events that Grande has gone through recently.
Initially, I thought that Sweetener would be rereleased with additional tracks when Grande performed the songs. Because the album was announced not long before it came out, it felt more like a digital release than a CD release. It debuted as the number one album on the US Billboard 200 and took the top spot in many other countries’ sales rankings.
Some of the songs on the album are about sex and needing someone, including the first song “imagine.” Musically, it sounds great. In “fake smile,” Grande talks about how sad she is after what she had to go through. After the track “make up,” which is another song about sex, she talks about Miller and how she misses him a lot in “ghostin.” Next, she imagines her dream man in “in my head.”
The album’s hit singles so far are its last three songs, beginning with “7 rings”, which is controversial because some have alleged that it sounds like a copy of Princess Nokia’s “Mine” and also like Soulja Boy’s “Pretty Boy Swag.” My favourite song on the album, “thank u, next”, references all her ex-boyfriends and is about Grande loving herself.
At the last minute—on January 13—Grande announced on Twitter that she was taking out one song that she decided against releasing and replacing it with another track. This replacement song turned out to be “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored.”
I’m personally not a fan of the lyrics for most of the songs on the album, and I feel that it shows that the album was rushed. The subject matter fits the album though, and if its producers had spent more time making it then thank u, next would be more impactful. Still, the avant-garde sounds throughout the album enhance the songs and show what Grande is going through.
While the album presents the recent events that Grande experienced in music form, in my opinion it is her most underwhelming album. What is next for Ariana Grande? We will wait and see.