Ariana Grande’s newest album thank u, next is sincere and truthful

Heather Suraci, Features editor

After a difficult 18 months that included a terrorist bombing at one of her concerts, an engagement, a wedding called off, and the death of an ex-lover, Ariana Grande seems to have found herself in her new album, thank u, next. Last year’s Sweetener was the first step in this exciting new direction, but with thank u, next, she’s arrived. The whole album crackles with personality and emotions. Other pop stars could have sang these melodies, but few could have brought the words with so much meaning.

Before you hear the title track, “thank u, next”, you might think it is just a simple radio tune. However, the “thank you” couldn’t be more sincere as the “next” is filled with hope; there’s a hint of attitude and more than a little sadness. This is emotionally complex terrain, where you can’t get the whole mood from just one line or even just one verse.

On the track“ghostin’”, the lyrics are speculated to be referencing her ex-fiance Pete Davidson as well as her recently deceased ex Mac Miller. Some of the lyrics include, “Though I wish he were here instead, don’t want that living in your head/ He just comes to visit me when I’m dreaming every now and then.” It’s a very heart wrenching performance. Even as she berates herself and says she hates herself, her voice hardly rises above a whisper.

The album layout consistently helps the songs. The push and pull of “needy” turns into needing space on “NASA” while Grande’s love has limits on, “bloodline”. Soon she’s getting a “bad idea” against a background of aching, urgent strings. The Ariana Grande presented on thank u, next is full of internal friction. She loves herself but she doesn’t always like herself and faces a never ending challenge.

The payoff comes on the album’s closer “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored”. The track arrives at the end after all the sass, grief, joy, and self-loathing, coming right after the graciousness of “thank you, next”! So when Grande says, “I know it ain’t right, but I don’t care,” she’s slipping back into her old bad habits. This gives the finale a sour aftertaste, which is fitting for an album that’s as much about the pain of growing as it is about growth.

Overall, one can conclude that her last album, Sweetener, was very optimistic, however, thank u, next is made up of numerous things, but optimism is not a part of it. Compared to her other albums, this album features Ariana Grande’s worldview which seems to be a little messy; or at least she has allowed her public image to get messier. Of course, the album is a highly polished product and not some journal page; the album feels truthful and authentic. thank u, next is a personal statement from a generational talent who is only 25 years old. Perhaps that is the most exciting part: Ariana Grande is just now entering her prime in her career.