Saying “thank u, next” to the challenges in life

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Saying “thank u, next” to the challenges in life

"thank u, next" is Ariana Grande's fourth No. 1 album in the US, and broke records for most album streams ever by a female artist in one week

By Republic Records

"thank u, next" is Ariana Grande's fourth No. 1 album in the US, and broke records for most album streams ever by a female artist in one week

By Republic Records

By Republic Records

"thank u, next" is Ariana Grande's fourth No. 1 album in the US, and broke records for most album streams ever by a female artist in one week

Thompson Wong, design editor

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It seems like only yesterday that people were waiting with bated breath for Ariana Grande’s “Sweetener” album after her two-year break. Now six months later, “thank u, next” comes along just to prove that Grande is not one to stick to the norm

Typically, most artists take the time to relax and recuperate from album releases and promotions before starting on a new project. Instead, Grande jumped back to the studio immediately and cranked out a new album.

While Grande’s “Sweetener” album was all about finding light in the darkness and happiness through love, “thank u, next” exposes the dark side of her newfound “happiness,” to show that things aren’t perfect.

I’ve been an avid fan of Grande for years, but I wasn’t happy with her “Sweetener” album. Noticeably, the majority of the album that I didn’t like happened to be produced by Pharrell Williams. So when I heard that Williams wouldn’t be touching the upcoming album, I felt optimistic. And I wasn’t disappointed.

This album is what I would consider Grande’s most personal album yet. For the first time in her discography, there are no collaborations on the album, only Grande to tell her stories. She takes off the mask and reveals her deep thoughts and emotions while also giving her audience insight on her past relationships, tragic events, and herself.

Songs like “imagine” and “ghostin” reveal how she felt about the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller, and how it affected her engagement to Pete Davidson. “needy” and “fake smile” are songs of self-reflection and understanding her faults. “7 rings” and “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored” aren’t just party anthems, but also songs to empower herself. Of course, we have to acknowledge the popular title track of the album, “thank u, next,” and how she admits to learning from her past relationships and growing as a person.

Grande’s previous albums were kind of a mess when it came to how the tracks were organized. I remembered listening to the “Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart” ballad from her “My Everything” album, and then hearing the “Hands On Me” dance track right afterward, then back to another ballad. So I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this album was very cohesive, where the tracklist flowed naturally, and songs matched each other in subtle ways.

As much as I enjoyed listening to this album, I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed with Grande’s vocal prowess on the project. When I listened to the first track, “imagine,” with her doo-wop vocals and whistle notes, I was ecstatic that she was going to fully use her vocal skills again. By the end, I didn’t hear any whistle notes return, and only a few tracks with the sky-high notes she is known for.

However, this disappointment was made up for by the fact that her lyricism has grown since her first album. Even with her beautiful vocals, her past music was skin-deep. There weren’t any songs that dug into deep stories or emotions, before the “Sweetener” album at least. But “thank u, next” is definitely her most personal one yet, where she finally digs into the issue of things and connects with listeners on a much deeper level.

I can say with confidence that “thank u, next” is Ariana Grande’s best album yet, which is crazy to think about with the short amount of time she used. In spite of the trauma and pain she has endured the past few years, she found the ability to learn, and to grow as a human being. This is an album you should not miss.

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