Rating: 3 stars
I wish I could go back to November, when Ariana Grande dropped “thank u, next” and all was right in the world. The song is upbeat and sends a message that resonates with so many of us: while ending a relationship is hard, we must reflect on how it helped us grow up and the importance of self-love.
Fast forward to today, nearly a week since Grande released her album, “thank u, next” just short of six months after releasing “sweetener.” The album is composed of 12 songs, beginning with “imagine,” which was released as a single on Dec. 14, and ending with her newest single, “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored.”
The album is perfect background music for when you’re getting ready for a night out with your friends or to shuffle through during your work commute for a morning pick-me-up. However, as a whole, the album is a bit disappointing after the build-up and excitement prior to its release. There is no doubt that Grande is talented, if you don’t believe me, check out the video of her singing “I Have Nothing” live at the White House. You will not be disappointed.
Grande pays tribute to her late ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller, in the track “ghostin.” Like many songs on the album, this song has several hidden messages within the lyrics. It’s been debated whether the song is actually a message for Miller or for her ex-fiance, Pete Davidson. The lyrics talk about the grief that Grande felt following the loss of Miller last September from an overdose, and how she projected her feelings onto others in her life. Regardless of who the song is actually written about, she shamelessly puts her emotions out for the world to be absorbed and interpreted.
While the album is not her best, it’s important to note that this is her second album in less than a year. My appreciation for Grande began almost eight years ago, when she was singing covers on YouTube, my favorite being her “Born This Way/Express Yourself” mashup. Grande’s music is therapeutic; the messages that are hidden throughout her lyrics are issues that many listeners identify with and connect with.
“thank u, next” as an album isn’t my favorite only because Grande has set the bar so high with her previous albums. Her voice is incredible and while I love the pop-feel of the new album, I miss the early days of “Dangerous Woman” and “God is a Woman.” Her vocal range is comparable to Whitney Houston, which is one of the many reasons why I am so drawn to her as an artist and “thank u, next” doesn’t showcase this talent as well as previous albums.
If you need a new song to listen to, my favorite songs off of the album include “NASA” and “needy.” However, I am still stuck on “thank u, next” as if it were just released yesterday, so it will take me some time to fully digest this album.