Ariana Grande Releases “thank u, next” Despite Personal Struggles


Chloe Patel, Website Editor and Lead Reporter

Even though Ariana Grande was mourning the loss of former boyfriend Mac Miller and the breakup with ex-fiancé Pete Davidson, she released her album “thank u, next” on Feb. 8. While many might hide from the spotlight during hard times, Grande instead showed the world that she can overcome her struggles while still remaining an influential artist and an independent woman who emphasizes self love and empowerment.

Furthermore, Grande was also involved in writing every single track for the album—the first of her albums where she has done so.

Like her previous album “Sweetener,” Grande has moved towards speak-singing, prominent in “bloodline,” among others; however, her strong vocal range is still extremely prominent in each track, especially in “in my head” and “imagine.” Grande still includes ballads similar to previous songs that are infused with her new sound. These ballads—“imagine,” “ghostin” and “needy”—vary from the rest of the album and showcase her vulnerability in opposition to the tough appearance she puts up. This variation in character fits perfectly with the different sound these tracks have in contrast to the rest of the album.

In another emotional song, “fake smile,” Grande thanks fans for their love and also acknowledges that she is tired of faking smiles and faking she is alright during these hard times. Grande’s “fake smile” allows listeners to empathize with how she is feeling. Additionally, “NASA” explicitly sends the message that Grande is not looking for commitment and wants some space. Through the space references in the song, she sends that message in sophisticated way, which she also does in “bloodline” as well. In “bad idea,” Grande focuses on her rushed relationship with Davidson and admits it was a “bad idea.”

The leading single, “thank u, next,” demonstrated it was an anthem, debuting at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 when released in November. Grande iconically calls out her exes by name in the song, and the simple repetition throughout the song proves that Grande remains as a strong woman even though she has had a significant amount of tough life experiences.

The second single, “7 rings,” was released on Jan. 18. Grande used accompaniment from “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music” into varying verses in “7 rings,” which evoked nostalgia in many listeners through the well-known song. Grande gives songwriting credit to the writers of “My Favorite Things,” Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. “7 rings” is all about self love, and the reference to “My Favorite Things” promotes that message.

“break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored” was the third single and music video combination Grande released prior to the album release. Although the song appears to be problematic at first glance due to the lyrics, Grande tweeted it was a fun song prior to the release.

Although Grande moved towards a music with a R&B sound rather than her typical pop music, she still stays true to her roots through her powerful vocals, impactful messages and popular songs in “thank u, next,” an album that emphasizes female empowerment and self-love.