Everything you need to know about Ariana Grande's new album 'thank u, next'
On repeat until the end of time.
Less than six months ago Ariana Grande dropped her fourth studio album, ‘Sweetener’, and now her fifth album ‘Thank U, Next’ is here. In fact, it’s exactly 5 months and 22 days since ‘Sweetener’ - coincidentally the date that the Manchester arena bombing occurred on was 22/5.
While ‘Sweetener’ was about hope, overcoming hard times and being open to love (hi Pete Davidson), soon after it was released in August 2018, our girl went through a lot. In September her ex-boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, died from an overdose, and a few weeks later she broke off her engagement with Pete (who later said on Instagram that he doesn’t want to be “on this earth anymore”).
But like always, Ariana turns her bad times into powerful songs. In between tracks that talk about passion and heartbreak, she channels self-love and empowerment. This is also Ariana’s first album where she co-wrote on every song, and didn’t include any features.
"I look forward to hopefully learning to give some of the love and forgiveness that I've given away so frivolously and easily to men in the past to myself this year," she said when accepting Billboard's Woman of the Year award late last year.
"I'm really looking forward to embracing whatever happens and whatever comes my way.”
This song focuses on unattainable love, reflecting on the past while imagining something that will never happen. It is likely to be about Mac Miller, and how their future together is unachievable because he passed. Ariana says that she put this song as the album opener as it balances the energy between her two songs ‘thank u, next’ and ‘7 rings’, as they are very self-assured and commanding while this is more “vulnerable/unsure”. Also, her whistle tones are perfection.
Our favourite lyric: Feels like forever, baby, I never thought that it would be you
This track was first teased on Twitter back in October, then in the ‘breathin’’ music video and again in the ‘thank u, next’ video. It is reminiscent of her ‘Dangerous Woman’ song ‘Greedy’ about wanting love and attention, but in this situation she feels more insecure and needs emotional support.
Our favourite lyric: Sorry that I think I’m not enough, and sorry if I say sorry way too much
One of the biggest bops on the album, this song uses space as a metaphor for wanting time away from your lover, and compares her partner to NASA (which explores space). Like many of her songs on this album, this song is co-written with her friends (and members of the 7 rings club) Victoria Monet and Tayla Parx.
Our favourite lyric: This is one small step for woman, one giant leap for woman-kind
Ariana said on Twitter that this song is about “wanting somebody, but not enough to have them in your bloodline”. She basically describes a ‘friends with benefits’ situation in the song, and tells her lover to not get so attached. Also, the song opens with her nonna (grandmother) which is SO cute.
Our favourite lyric: I ain’t lookin’ for my one true love, yeah, that ship sailed away
5. fake smile
Like many people in the public eye, Ariana feels like she has to put on a facade to hide how unhappy she is in life, but now she wants to stop. The intro of the song is a sample of Wendy Rene’s 1964 song ‘After Laughter’.
Our favourite lyric: I’m happy for the love and all of the above, if I’m being honest, I done been through way too much
6. bad idea
In this song Ariana tells her lover that they should get together to ‘numb the pain’ and help her get over an ex. At the same time, she wishes that her ex would come and save her.
Our favourite lyric: But, boy, don't trip, you know this isn't real, you should know I'm temporary
7. make up
The title of this song is a play-on-words as she sings about making up in a relationship, and the beauty product (and she name drops Rihanna’s makeup line, of course).
Our favourite lyric: Highlight of my life, just like that Fenty Beauty kit
Ariana had a lot to say about this song on Twitter, and there’s a lot to take in. She says that it is about feeling badly for the person you’re with because you love somebody else, and “feeling badly because he can’t compare and I should be ghosting him”. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one crying.
Our favourite lyric: Oh, I wish he were here instead, don’t want that living in your head
9. in my head
In this song, Ariana talks about being in love with a version of somebody that you’ve created in your head which doesn’t actually exist. The song opens with one of her best friends Doug giving her support. We all need a Doug in our life.
Our favourite lyric: Your Gucci tennis shoes runnin’ from your issues
10. 7 rings
Interpolating ‘Favourite Things’ from The Sound of Music, this track is probably the most powerful on the album. Ariana says that this song is both a flex and a friendship anthem, as she boasts about her money and material possessions, while the title is referring to her supportive friendship group who all own matching rings.
Our favourite lyric: Wearing a ring, but ain’t gon’ be no “Mrs”, bought matching diamonds for six of my bitches
11. thank u, next
The lead single from this album discusses self-love and growth after a breakup while also name-dropping all of her exes. It was released minutes before ‘Saturday Night Live’ went to air, which her ex Pete Davidson is a cast member on (coincidence?) and became Ariana’s first #1 song in the US. Also, it has possibly the best music video of all time.
Our favourite lyric: I know they say I move on too fast but this one gon’ last, ‘cause her name is Ari
12. break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored
You just know from the title that this song is going to cause a lot of speculation, however, Ariana sings in the bridge that she doesn’t even know the guy she is singing about (so stop with your Big Sean theories). No matter who it’s about, this track (which is the third single from the album) screams BDE.
Our favourite lyric: You can call me crazy ‘cause I want you and I never even fuckin’ met you
Could this be the best album of 2019? It’s a strong contender!