Ariana Grande has become the biggest pop star on the planet. It's a thing that happened through extraordinary events, inviolable talent, and a better understanding of the cultural landscape than most. She has become a heroine, rising above her greatest obstacles and slaying a series of events with wide-eyed wonder and empowerment.
In a way we all hope to face our adversity like Grande has, the ultimate example of "living well is the best revenge", standing strong against loss, heartbreak, and international incidents with a fractured fortress built on self-love. Her high-profile breakup with Pete Davidson, the death of her ex Mac Miller, and the attack in England have all helped shape this powerful young voice, which was always soaring, find a real purpose.
In all the ways that Sweetener was a reclamation of strength, recapturing the light after the darkness of Manchester and celebrating new love, thank u next feels like a further dive into Ariana's relationship with herself, exploring her own soundness and force, taking back any power ever exchanged in the relationships of her past. Even in songs about others, it's clear the orbit surrounds Grande and her own prowess.
"I can't fake another smile, I can't fake like I'm alright" she sings on "fake smile", showing a sheen of vulnerability and awareness as she discusses the real life discussions that have surrounded her for the past year. Grande has emerged with fresh sass and swagger, refusing to be a part of the narrative. Instead, on thank u, next she crafts her own headlines, tweets, and memes into futuristic R&B, borrowing from the past but injecting a healthy Hip Hop bravado.
Ariana Grande is a pop star built for 2019, blessed with the voice and dexterity to bounce back in record time. On thank u, next she turns heartbreak, retail therapy, and post-ex conversations into introspective pop gems, shined to perfection. The titles and subjects are intriguing, launching a tweetstorm of speculation, but regardless of the IRL examples on display in these songs, Grande shines the brightest. These are songs born of the moment for Grande, and offer a revealing look at her own persona. It's flirtatious and blunt, wounded but strong, but above all authentic and exquisite.
Ariana Grande's thank u, next is available everywhere.