Saying ‘thank u, next’ to the new Ariana Grande album


Rhaya Truman

Ariana Grande released her record breaking album ‘thank u, next’ on Feb. 8, 2019.

There is no denying it: 2018 was Ariana Grande’s year.

From iconic outfits to highly anticipated singles to Instagram posts, Grande made her mark on 2018 in many ways.

To follow up this amazing year, Grande released her fifth studio album “thank u, next” on Feb. 8, 2019. The album has hip hop and pop influences that stray away from her usual R&B and pop mix.

Her sound went from Mariah Carey, Keri Hilson and Beyonce influence to a style more reminiscent of Rihanna and Migos. Because of its mainstream sound, this switch undeniably gained her more fans.

But, to say the least, I am not the biggest fan.

As soon as “thank u, next” released, many of her supporters claimed it was her best album. In my opinion it is very low in her discography. Before you get defensive, hear me out because my justifications go a lot deeper than just the music production.

Let’s be real: the reason why this album is selling so much is because of Grande’s growing popularity and devoted fans.

She has many fans who will love anything she puts out no matter what. And in Grande’s case, her previous albums set the bar super high and she has not been able to reach it since.

Her album “Dangerous Woman,” released in 2016, was the perfect album. She matured from her older sound of “Yours Truly” but also stuck to what we loved her for in the first place, her raw and sultry voice.

Her next release “Sweetener,” was full of skips. The overwhelming amount of features smashed together combined to create something I never go back to. Interestingly enough, “Sweetener,” which was released in 2018, won a Grammy for the best pop vocal album.

It’s funny how her least successful album released in her prime year of 2018 won a Grammy, is this even a coincidence?

This popularity game that has been digging its way into the music industry holds true to “thank u, next,” seeing as it was more enjoyed because it was by Ariana Grande rather than because of its production and overall quality.

After releasing the singles “thank u, next” and “7 rings,” I was expecting a banger album that would rightfully break the charts. At the same time, since her last album was released in August 2018, I was hoping for a little bit more time to go into the making of the album.

Tracks like “imagine” and “make up” are quick and poppy love ballads that show no depth or true meaning. The production is lazy and does not feel like Grande’s best effort.

On the flip side, songs like “needy” and “bloodline” lived up to my expectations. Fun lyrics, great beats and the R&B that is lacking throughout the album are prominent. As soon as “bloodline” began, my first thought was that there was finally a song on “thank u, next” that reminded me of Ariana Grande.

Fun, upbeat songs like “bad idea” and “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored” really showcased Grande’s fun production style and catchy hooks. In the case of this album, some songs hit the mark and some fell short.

Besides the aforementioned four favorites, all of the filler songs, including “NASA,” “fake smile” and “in my head,” are just that–fillers. Grande relied on the record-breaking singles to hold the album up, but her laziness in other tracks just gives the album an “okay” rating overall.

In my opinion, “thank u, next” is by no means horrible, but it is definitely not amazing. It fell short in many ways across the board but has some gems hidden within the tracks that I will continue to play because they remind me of her older releases.

The Grande that did not use her popularity in the media as an excuse to fall short.

The proposition that this album beats all of the other releases is far from the truth. “Yours Truly” and “Dangerous Woman” will always be at the top of the list for me because Grande was confident in being herself rather than meeting the standards from everyone around her.

Sadly, as media attention increases, artists become more and more influenced by what people believe they should create rather than what they want to create.

I am all in favor of an artist evolving, but this comes with the possibility of losing fans. If artists continue to allow outside influences to change their internal intentions, music will begin to become artificial and ingenuine.

Not to knock Grande down because she deserves recognition for her great artistry, but this album is simply not one of her best. I am hoping her next album is more unique and shows off her vocals and the original R&B influences she began with.

So, thank you for the appearance new Ariana Grande… but on to the next.