Let’s keep it real: Ariana Grande has been through a lot of s**t these last couple of months. While we were busy feeling sorry for her, all she has done is work her ass off in the studio, dropping hit after hit after hit. With the release of “thank u, next,” her latest album, the ponytailed singer looks to continue her winning ways, gifting us with a body of work that is just as personal as it is exciting.
5. fake smile
I love “fake smile!” The song thrives in its imperfections, as Ariana lets the world know she will no longer bottle up her true feelings about any and everything. At times, I hear vulnerability, frustration, fear and paranoia in her voice, but the one characteristic that keeps all the other characteristics in check is ‘fearlessness.’ fearlessness is what makes this song special, relatable and inspiring.
At the end of the day, I’m not sure how much burn this song will get in the clubs, but I do know people will connect with it.
I can definitely see Ariana Grande as a ‘needy’ person…
“needy” is yet another song in which Ariana Grande uses a brutally honesty approach to carry her to the finish line. Throughout it, she lets the world know that if you want to be with her, you have to accommodate her clingy mentality: That means no making sandwiches without her in your presence, getting mad at her obsessiveness or succumbing to her erratic behavior.
The performance Ariana puts up on “needy” is phenomenal. I feel like she does a great job of aligning her emotions directly with her vocal stressings, even if that means going off the rail sometimes. Is there anyone better at doing this than Ariana nowadays?
“imagine” is a romantic ballad that has Ariana Grande opening up about craving a man that can give her serenity, a nice touch and an honest conversation (Who doesn’t want all of that?). Personally,
I love how Ariana bounces off of the walls vocally on this song, caring less if she shatters glasses, wakes up sleeping babies or causes government shutdowns. Such carefreeness should be prompted to our youth.Also, carefreeness should be a word in the dictionary.
Ariana puts up her best vocal performance on this song. Seriously, did you hear her reach Pikes Peak of vocal ranges towards the end of it?
2. thank u, next
We all know what went down between Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande a few months ago, right? They were entrenched in an all-out petty war that had each of them dishing out fake ass thank you’s to one another via SNL and social media. In “thank u, next,” Ariana Grande gets a chance to put the whole situation to bed (At least from her end), creating this heartwarming pop banger that has her thanking not only Pete for being in her life, but also prior exes Big Sean and Mac Miller for their services, too. I believe she genuinely sounds like someone who has learned from her mistakes on this song, as she does her best to gently tip-toe her complicated feelings over this ritzy instrumental.
I feel like “thank u, next” took Ariana’s career to the next level.
1. 7 rings
Ariana Grande (7 Rings) > Tom Brady & Michael Jordan (6 Rings).
It might take a while for “7 rings” to click with you, but once it does, you’ll fall in love with it! The track does a great job of drawing you in with its Disney-like melodies, trillness and materialistic-talk (That’s a helluva combination). Aside from that, I thought Ariana did a great job of showcasing her inner diva throughout, showing off a side to her that could legitimately win a fight against Sasha Fierce. (I said that so I can hear Beyonce say, “OH, HELL NO!” In her Sharon Charles from “Obsessed” voice)
This may very well end up the song of the year.
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. imagine (5/5)
2. needy (4.5/5)
3. nasa (4/5)
4. bloodline (4/5)
5. fake smile (5/5)
6. bad idea (3.5/5)
7. make up (4/5)
8. ghostin’ (4/5)
9. in my head (4/5)
10. 7 rings (5/5)
11. thank u, next (5/5)
12. breakup with your girlfriend (4.5/5)
In my opinion, Ariana Grande found a formula that works for her on this album, and that formula is being personable while also showing a level of fearlessness when it comes to blending a myriad of genres together. Aside from that, what I heard was an unapologetic version of the singer that didn’t mind trading her goody too-shoe image for a bad-ass one that is horny, mischievous and materialistic.
Ariana Grande’s vocal performances on this album were damn-there flawless. For a while now, she’s been on my Mount Rushmore of singers, and she only solidified me putting her there with what I heard today. Not only does she fiddle with her voice in ways that are legendary, but she also does a great job of getting out every ounce of her emotions when she sings, allowing listeners to fully engage with her every thought. You won’t hear a complaint from me regarding the singing on this album.
I think the instrumentals on thank u, next are fantastic! From start to finish, Listeners are greeted with a good mix of gentle and uptempo gems, which I believe allows Ariana to go through the motions throughout. I also felt like the beats on the album had personality, wit and evolved when it needed to, refusing to play second fiddle to Ariana. Do you know how hard it is to stand up to Ariana’s vocals?
I feel like Ariana Grande finally let us dive deep into her fractured soul on “thank u, next,” and the end-result is an undeniably entertaining/touching album that ignores the message its title gives off.
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.