Seven standout moments from Ariana Grande’s fifth studio album.
“break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored”.
As if the release of the twelve-track album thank u, next wasn’t already too much for our heartstrings to cope with for one day, Ariana also dropped the visuals for its closing single “break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored”, and it’s fair to say the internet lost its shit.
At first, some fans weren’t impressed with its lyrics, which imply the implementation of a scheme to break up another woman’s relationship (some speculated the track was about Ariana getting ex-boyf Big Sean to break up with his girlfriend Jhené Aiko), but the video suggests a different scenario: the aforementioned, Ari-lookalike girlfriend is supposed to represent her own boredom in an unhappy relationship. The plot thickens…
You don’t need us to tell you Ariana Grande’s had a rough year in the romance department. Following the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller in September and break-up with then-fiancée Pete Davidson the following month, she’d be forgiven wanting to write about anything but being in love. And yet:
“Lately, I’ve been on a roller coaster, tryna get a hold of my emotions – but all that I know is I need you close” she sings on sultry slow jam “Needy”:
“I’ma scream and shout for what I love, passionate, but I don’t give no fucks… I’m obsessive and I love too hard, good at overthinking with my heart – how you even think it got this far, this far? And I can be needy, way too damn needy…”
Still, a whole host of lyrics on thank u, next underline that Ari won’t let anyone, or anything, compromise her love for herself (Amen!), and the album is basically a guided tour to prioritising herself amongst the madness.
See: “Bloodline” (“I ain’t lookin’ for my one true love”), “in my head” (“look at you, boy, I invented you”), “7 Rings” (“wearing a ring, but ain’t gon’ be no “Mrs”) and, lest we forget, the entirety of “thank u, next.”
If Sweetener was a love letter to Davidson, this feels like her love letter to herself – and we’re absolutely obsessed.
And there it is: the heartbreaking lyrics we’ve all been waiting patiently to hear.
“I know that it breaks your heart when I cry again over him”, she sings on “ghostin”: “I know that it breaks your heart when I cry again, ‘Stead of ghostin him.”
One can only assume Ariana wrote the hazy, dream-like track about the last few weeks of her relationship with Davidson post-Miller’s death. We knew it was coming, but still we weren’t prepared for the tears, more tears and all. The. Feels.
Given that thank u, next arrived less than six months after Sweetener, it’s fair to say Ariana’s been working pretty damn hard. According to our #quickmath calculations, that’s two songs completed each month – one every two weeks.
Even in the ruthlessly quick turnover of a want now, stream now fuelled music industry, that’s quite a feat – and Ari’s showing no signs of slowing down, with a Sweetener tour in the works, as well as a Coachella headline set lined up in April.
And we’re not complaining. With an album this good, who wouldn’t want a constant stream of more new bops?
The release of thank u, next also lined up with a twitter drama with Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich, after he told Associated Press that she pulled out of a performance slot at the awards on Monday because she “felt it was too late for her to pull something together.”
“i’ve kept my mouth shut but now you’re lying about me”, she tweeted: “i can pull together a performance over night and you know that, Ken. it was when my creativity & self expression was stifled by you, that I decided not to attend…”
While we’re all gutted she won’t be showing to steal the show with a live rendition of “7 Rings”, we stan an assertive queen…
cried sm tonight that my eyes feel like they know something i don’t
Ecstatic tears. Desperately sad tears. Cathartic tears. Us too…
thank u, next feels like a raw, painful but hopeful representation of a rocky six months: loss, heartbreak, unprecedented success. It’s a cocktail few of us would have been able to manage with such dignity, let alone produce a such an honest, full and progressive album.