“thank u, next”
By: Tosin Faseemo
As media coverage of her high profile breakup from Pete Davidson consumed the internet, Ariana Grande swiftly assembled a new set of songs. These songs expand on the ideas presented in “sweetener,” her previous album, but with a slightly pessimistic twist.
The album begins with "imagine," a sweet, atmospheric song previously released as a single. It describes an imaginary relationship based on trust and kindness and creates a picture of an ideal partnership between two people. Next is "needy," a track with minimal production and a focus on Grande’s vocals. The lyrics delve into the insecurity that makes someone become clingy.
These songs reflect the conflicting emotions that Grande has experienced and expressed through the album. On one hand, there are upbeat tunes such as "thank u, next," which celebrates autonomy and identifies the benefits of being free from a relationship, or "NASA," a smooth, poppy tune about demanding space from a partner. On the other hand, there are songs like "ghostin," a regretful song from the perspective of someone who longs for another outside of their relationship.
The theme of imperfection contributes to the vibe of the songs in a way that is introspective rather than defeatist. The album’s production sometimes falls short when compared to her previous album, but mostly avoids sounding rushed. In combining such different songs together into one album, Grande has painted a realistic picture of what it’s like to be in a romantic relationship: fun, messy, enticing, and painful.