by Dinah Aguilar ‘19
Honesty is a quality many artists lack in the music industry, but for one of the world’s biggest female star, Ariana Grande, this trait is used to her advantage in the new album “thank you, next.”
In the past, Grande was primarily known for catchy pop hits, with easy-to-dance-to beats and cliché subjects of love and breakups. This simple blueprint of how to create a pop song Grande used, as she shifted her image from Nickelodeon star to mainstream star. And as she has growth into her own person, Grande has found a way to break these traditional elements on “thank you, next,” adding her own soft and dreamy style and not shying away from getting deep and personal.
What sets her apart from other singers striving for Billboard recognition is her willingness to share her experiences and feelings with the public eye and her fans. In “thank you, next,” the lyrics showcase her life in the past year from how she was coping with the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller to getting engaged with “Saturday Night Live” comedian Pete Davidson to splitting up with Davidson after five months.
Grande lays out the album like a story, beginning with songs of being in love on “imagine,” and “needy,” written about her relationship with Davidson. Her style is highlighted in these songs with the use of distorted piano notes and slow, echoey beats, making the songs sound sweet and demonstrating how Grande sees love.
The story transitions to dissatisfaction in her relationship with themes of needing space in “NASA,” and not wanted to be together anymore in “bloodline.” At this point, Grande is saying she started realizing she did not want to be around her fiancé anymore and lost the connection they once had.
This leads to a point in the story in which Grande is confused, shown in the scatter of topics in these songs. She sings about not being able to put on a happy facade in “fake smile;” struggling to come to terms with the death of Miller in “ghostin;” and admitting that she made up a positive persona about Davidson in “in my head.” Like the topic of these songs suggests, they are the sadder and slower songs of the album, reflecting the time of her life which felt really long and depressing.
After a period of grief, Grande decides to end this chapter of life by leaving her past behind her and surrounding herself with friends and her success shown in “7 rings,” focusing on self love and learning from her past in the title track “thank you, next,” and moving on in “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored.” These songs are fast and fun to represent she is not letting what has happened to her drag her down, but instead lift her up.
Grande opens herself up to the world in “thank you, next,” and she has shown that what she sings in her title track holds to be true, “she’s learned from the pain. It turned out amazing.”