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“thank u, next” Showcases Talent and Journey of Self Acceptance

Ariana Grande made her grand return after releasing one single called “no tears left to cry.” She later released the album Sweetener, and by pop music standards what comes next is usually a tour. However, Grande defied expectations by instead releasing another album called thank u, next on February 8, 2019. Grande has risen to popularity once again, despite a couple of hard and tragic years, from the Manchester bombing at one of her concerts to the death of her ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller, and a broken engagement to another boyfriend, Pete Davidson. Going through these events under the public eye has made her more authentic to fans as well as put a spotlight on her.

Sweetener is the first album that Grande released after the Manchester bomb attack in 2017, and it is all about female empowerment as well as love, while thank u, next focuses more on Grande’s personal life. In “God is a woman” from Sweetener, Grande sings about women’s strength and resilience. Our society has set norms that make talking about a woman’s sexuality taboo, while men’s is talked about more openly. Sweetener takes Grande’s views and makes them more universal, as most tracks have the focus of women’s issues. Yet, that changes in thank u, next. For example, “in my head,” the ninth track off thank u, next, includes a voicemail from one of Grande’s closest friends, Doug Middlebrook. This song deals with how Grande had fallen in love with a person mainly because of how she pictured them and not what the person was actually like. Many have theorized that this was written after she had broken up with Pete Davidson.

thank u, next showcases 12 tracks that include several of her number one singles such as “7 rings” and “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored,” and the title track, “thank u, next.” A lot of tracks on her newest album have references to past relationships. In “ghostin” there are references to both Davidson and Miller. thank u, next also has a plethora of references to other romances, as she names each former flame in the very first verse. However, the album also talks about self-love, as Grande sings about loving herself enough to move on and to focus on other parts of her life that are going well. What this album does best is bring all these events together cohesively. Each song is placed in the right spot so that the flow of the album feels natural and not like 12 different albums. While subject matter varies, the melodies remain similar and so the album is heard as the experience of an artist that has gone through a lot of pain but is coming out stronger. Due to the quick release of thank u, next, there are now two albums to go through and examine, as each belongs to a different period in Grande’s life.

Each song Grande writes is like a chapter in her life. This gives her fans a more intimate view of her journey, while Grande herself can express everything openly.

Grande doesn’t have to share so much of herself with the world, yet she does anyway and that is truly inspiring to see. Artists express themselves constantly but they cannot control who hears or sees what they release. Grande has let the world into her life through her recent releases as well as through her social media presence. Grande has become one of the most popular musicians of her generation and she has accomplished this through her authentic and incredible voice.