Since a very young age, I've been a huge fan of Ariana Grande. She is an empowered female who has gone through hell and back and somehow manages to look on the bright side of things. Her new album "Thank U, Next" is everything you didn't know you needed and more.
She includes very personal songs such as "ghostin," but also has incredible bops like "thank u, next." However, each song on this album showcases the 5 stages we go through after a breakup. While I listened to it for the first time, I noticed the beat, but after a few listens, every lyric really resonated with me. With each stage of grief, a song on the album corresponds. Ari, you outdid yourself this time.
Denial: Avoidance, Confusion, Shock
"We go like up 'til I'm 'sleep on your chest
Love how my face fits so good in your neck"
This song really captures the beginning of the denial phase. She speaks about imagining a simpler time where two lovers are together. Denial is simply not believing that someone has left your life, and for some, you may believe you're even still together. Ariana has spoken about the song, saying that if "thank u, next" is about acceptance, "imagine" is about denial. With the fairytale-like beat, it almost feels as if she's creating a dream sequence about two lovers.
In My Head:
"Painted a picture; I thought I drew you well
I had a vision of seeing what isn't there"
A lot of the denial phase accounts for believing that someone you love hasn't changed and that they're still the same person. Ari paints that picture perfectly, including a snippet of one of her friends saying that she was in love with a version of a person who didn't exist anymore. She realizes that it really is just all in her head, and her lover is at fault as well.
Anger: Frustration, Irritation
"I know what you looking for, but I'm complete
I know what you need, but it won't be me"
The anger phase consists of a lot of harsh words, and Ariana really captures the feeling of finally entering this phase, where she acknowledges that her lover's affection is just for show. She also repeats that she is already complete without him. Many people can relate to the feeling of knowing you deserve better and being angry enough to want to go out there and want to get it.
"My energy and attitude don't really coincide
I'm stayin' mad all day so we can let it out tonight"
While "bloodline" is purely based around not wanting to be involved with someone, "make up" is about having arguments that lead to sexual interaction. She sings about breaking up with someone just to make up with them (totally not healthy, by the way). It could also coincide with denial because she's denying the fact that they should break up.
Bargaining: Struggling, Reaching Out
"Lately, I've been on a roller coaster
Tryna get a hold of my emotions, But all that I know is I need you close"
While "imagine" is more of a dream sequence, "needy" seems to be more of a song where a girl begs to be held by her old lover, convinced that her words are enough to get him back in her life. She is singing about bargaining, which is where one will try any tactics to talk to their old lover and work things out. She knows that she can be needy, but she still wants to be with him anyway.
"Even though we shouldn't, baby boy, we will
Need somebody, gimme something I can feel."
Ariana sings about knowing she shouldn't be hooking up with someone, she still does. Everyone can relate to this song, about wanting something they know they shouldn't have. During the bargaining phase, you think of other ways to be with someone instead of actually being in a relationship with them. Ari grasps this concept perfectly.
Depression: Helplessness, Sad
"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"
Personally, this is my favorite song on the entire album. Ariana sings about crying about her old lover next to someone new. She has been through so much throughout her life, and with all the recent events that have happened to her, she still perseveres. "Ghostin" is definitely her most personal song on the album, and literally brought me to tears. This song truly describes the depression phase.
"I can't fake another smile
I can't fake like I'm alright"
Ariana sings about being unable to fake another smile for people. She finally acknowledges that it's getting hard to pretend she's alright, and this is a stage many people struggle to get to. Some may bathe in their sadness for a while, finding it easier to pretend everything's okay. However, to truly be happy, you have to feel all the feelings.
Acceptance: Moving On
Thank U, Next:
"One taught me love, One taught me patience
And one taught me pain"
Throughout everything, Ariana has remained hopeful, and she shows that through this song. She accepts all her failed relationships for what they are, knowing that she has learned many lessons and that she'll continue to learn. We can all take a page from her book, and start being grateful for our exes.
"Wearing a ring, but ain't gon' be no "Mrs."
Bought matching diamonds for six of my bitches"
While "thank u, next" is much more reflective of her past relationships, 7 rings address the feeling of being truly confident in your own skin and loving the person you are. This is so vital during the acceptance stage, especially because you can finally feel free again and know that you'll always be the best, with or without somebody.
Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored:
"You can say I'm hatin' if you want to,
But I only hate on her 'cause I want you"
To me, this song seems like the final stage of acceptance, where she has her sights set on somebody new, although he does happen to have a girlfriend. Moving on is never easy to do, but sometimes having a little crush may help distract you, and Ari describes that feeling perfectly. However, I wouldn't really recommend trying to hook up with somebody's boyfriend (that just is NOT okay).
Ariana Grande will continue to be one of my biggest idols in the music industry. Her ability to overcome anything has helped me realize I want to be a better person for myself and my future relationships. I'm sure her future albums will be just as relatable as this one. Thank you, Ari, for blessing my ears once again.