God Is a Woman and It’s Ariana Grande
Well-known superstar Ariana Grande has had a whirlwind of a year. Back in September Grande’s ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller, passed suddenly from a drug overdose. A month later, her previously announced engagement with Pete Davidson was called off. She has been going through the absolute most, yet has somehow managed to drop music faster than Fashion Nova’s habit of knocking off the Kardashians OOTD. Grande stepped into the spotlight with the release of “Sweetener” back in August, followed by the release of her chart-topping single “thank u, next.” Her fans have devoured her new music, craving more of this new ‘Ari.’ With a ripeness for inspiration in a time of tragedy, she released the new, much-anticipated album “thank u, next,” named after the hit that broke the internet. Nearly 5 months later, the album debuted on February 8th, which included her most recent hits “7 rings” and “imagine” alongside 10 other new tracks. The album is filled with confident lyrics and uplifting beats, helping to bring out the inner “God is a Woman” in all of us.
I hate to admit it, but I judged this new ‘Ari.’ After she released the teases “thank u, next” and “7 rings” for the album, I agreed with assumptions that were floating around the internet. With these pop-star fueled, self involved hits, people believed she was taking advantage of the spotlight to further her music career. Before listening to the album, I expected more from Grande rather than hear about the new hair she just bought. I wanted to feel the loss and pain in her new music. However, after listening to the album, it does all of this. The album takes listeners on the emotional rollercoaster ride that is now Grande’s life. As some of her best work, the album illustrates the pain, the grief, and ultimately the healing process through Grande’s eyes. It’s clear she has used the album as a coping mechanism, demonstrating the inner growth she has gained. Grande is unapologetic for who is and what she creates. She drops music whenever she wants and sings about whatever she is feeling. In “fake smile” she admits to faking happiness, loving too hard in “needy,” and needing space in “NASA”. All of our questions are answered in “thank u next," which depicts her relationship with Davidson and how she grieved over Miller. In the heart-wrenching song “ghostin,” she sings about the love triangle between Miller and Davidson as she croons “Though I wish he were here instead/The one that living in your head/He just comes to visit me/When I'm dreaming every now and then (And then)”.
Grande describes “ghostin” as the hardest song to produce on the Zach Sang Show. She opened up about the album, explaining the meaning behind it without going in too deep. Zach kicked off the interview by asking “What about this album makes you so jazzed?” Grande responded, “I think just how we made it. I made it with my best friends over the course of a very small period of time, and it kind of like, saved my life. It was this super challenging chapter, that sucked and my friends made it amazing and special and I’m forever grateful for that and the music feels how it felt making it.”
It took almost two weeks to create and produce the album with the help from Victoria Monet, Social House, Tommy Brown, and Tayla Parx, among others. Grande described the album to Billboard as “Feminine energy and champagne and music and laughter and crying. This [album’s] not particularly uplifting… A lot of it sounds really upbeat, but it’s actually a super sad chapter.” As the best album in her career, it was created in such an organic way; a room full of her best friends and lots of pink Veuve Clicquot. The album combines trap-like beats with soft, emotional vocals. The sorrowful lyrics are hidden behind the uplifting vibe of the album, weirdly giving the urge to get up and dance to Grande’s misery.
The success from “thank u, next” continues to grow, holding it’s No. 1 spot on the Billboard’s 200 chart. Grande also has become the second artist to claim the top 3 slots on the Billboard's Hot 100 with her hits “7 rings,” “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored,” and “thank u, next,” making her the first artist to do so since The Beatles back in 1964. Can we just take a moment of silence… The Beatles! Grande is defying odds as a female artist, breaking records left and right. Back in December, Billboard awarded Grande as the Woman of the Year for 2018. The award promotes female power and equality in the music industry. Her new successful, queen-like persona teaches us to embrace the challenging chapters and learn from the struggles life throws at us. As a new stan for Ariana Grande, I will be patiently waiting for her next sudden drop, thank you, next.