Album Review: Ariana Grande-thank u, next

Tanya Cunningham
February 15, 2019

Album title track 'Thank U, Next' spent several weeks at the top of the United Kingdom charts and given it's catchiness, it's not hard to see why, but there's also a resonance and relevance to nearly every word that has found a home in the hearts of millions of her fans, meaning the song is proving to be, and is very much, a favourite among the many great tracks featured.

When I found out that Ariana Grande released her latest studio album thank u, next on the morning of February 8, I was standing in below-freezing weather at a north Boulder bus stop on my way to a conference in Boston.

Less than six months after releasing her fourth studio album, Ariana Grande released her fifth album "thank u, next" on February 8.

The album has already gone down a storm with fans, and was her second release in the space of six months, with Sweetener debuting in August a year ago. Because of her up and down relationship with ex-fiance Pete Davidson. Similarly, she knew how to construct a relatable song that would tailor itself to the masses: 99 problems but bae ain't one? Once the song fades out, the album returns to its former speed, in a way eager to jump past the loaded emotions of "ghostin". And the bright, boppy "bad idea", which includes a Gotye-esque hook destined to be sung (screeched?) at every public party for the rest of time, replacing "now you're just somebody that I used to know" with "I've got a bad idea".

Grande describes this song in a tweet as a "simple beautiful love that is now (and forever) unattainable". But I think I realize now that Grande was purely not given the proper room to be herself and showcase her real, unfiltered talent and confidence.

Understandably, it would take more than the turn of a calendar to shake the feelings that linger with Grande through this album.

"There's a version where I was getting married [to Pete], a version where I'm not getting married". Grande emotes all these feelings and more across a grand beautifully majestic scale.

Her personal life made her muse work overtime as she tried to create an album that best reflected everything she was going through at the time.

Nonetheless, far from conveying bitterness or resentment, "Thank U, Next" is a lovely tribute to those who have poured into our lives and helped us grow on our own life journeys, even if in the end they weren't "the one" for us. In December, after the release of her breakup anthem "thank u, next", she announced she would be releasing an album of the same name. "This is really, really, really special and it feels really like something, you know?'" She revealed. "7 rings" is a great play on the classic "My Favorite Things" from "The Sound of Music" (1965), but Grande's "rap" verse near the end of the song is neither good nor necessary. Later in the album, the voicemail of Grande's close friend Doug Middlebrook starts "in my head" with a heartfelt piece of advice. And Grande continues to grow into her own voice, four octaves and all.

Grande announced the collection on her Instagram by photographing several Mean Girls-inspired burn books, filled with custom candy hearts.

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