Ariana Grande should be lauded as a workhorse in what can be an exhausting industry to work in. Her previous album, Sweetener, came out only six months ago and, despite its being criticized for being too dull and slow, it’s commendable for her to release thank u, next in such quick succession.
thank u, next has an endearing and infectious charm that Sweetener lacked. Though comparisons between the two shouldn’t hold too much weight, Sweetener’s leading singles were the only pride and glory of that album. thank u, next’s singles are strong, independent songs but they also act as delicious appetizers for the rest of the album’s tracks.
‘Bad Idea’ and ‘Bloodline’ convey a charming, relatable authenticity which is the tone Grande is leaning towards in relation to her music style. This is clear when you pair them with the three singles from the album, ‘break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored’, ‘7 rings’, and‘“thank u, next’. It’s a tone that transgresses artificial politeness and fabricated kindness, instead of conveying a harsh honesty that many fans would, though they may shy away from admitting so, whole-heartedly relate to.
It’s clear that Grande has been struggling to develop her vocal style into something she can call her own, but thank u, next is evidence of self-discovery. The album can be viewed as a compilation of upbeat or slow musical anthems that are infectiously catchy and leave you humming them hours after listening. Or it can be a musical autobiography of Ariana Grande’s journey through hardship and success.
Though there’s very little to criticise about the album, it would be an oversight not to say that some of the songs on the album are weaker than others. ‘NASA’ and ‘fake smile’ possess entertaining and lively beats, while ‘imagine’ ensures that the album showcases Ariana Grande’s vocal prowess. However, some songs like ‘in my head’ and ‘ghostin’ are at times forgettable and fade into the background in comparison to the immaculate repertoire that the rest of the album serves as.
It’s difficult to provide an album full of memorable songs, so it’s hard to truly fault thank u, next when the songs that do fight their way to the foreground pack a hefty punch and leave you satisfied. thank u, next shows that Ariana Grande is one of the strongest contenders in mainstream music. She’s built up momentum, is showing no signs of slowing and with thank u, next being the musical masterpiece it is, it’s hard not to blindly and naively hope that Ariana Grande will bless us with another album very soon.
Image: Ariana Grande