I was never a huge fan of pop music. I always liked to consider myself a fan of "real music," namely obscure indie bands nobody's ever heard of. However, with the release of "Sweetener" in summer 2018, Ariana Grande caught the attention of music fans from all around the world, including me. The album's positivity and dreamlike quality coming from a girl who had been through
so much in the past year (a terrorist attack at her concert in Manchester during the Dangerous Woman tour and a breakup with long term boyfriend, Mac Miller, just to name the major setbacks) was truly inspiring.
From then on, I was hooked. I followed Ariana's music and life in general after the release of "Sweetener," as did the rest of the world. When her ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller, died of a drug overdose in late 2018, and then her engagement with comedian Pete Davidson was called off soon after, I thought that for sure she would take a break from the public eye. She did quite the opposite; she dropped her hit single "Thank u, Next" in November and announced her fifth album by the same name soon after. The album is truly awe-inspiring in terms of musical production and in the sense that she produced such quality music in such a short time frame and in the midst of what must have been unimaginable emotional distress and turmoil.
When you listen through the album, one thing I noticed was an astounding lack of bitterness. We had bittersweet with her first track, "imagine," and we had heartbroken on her track about Mac Miller, "ghostin." However, throughout the album, even in the breakup jams, there isn't a hint of bitterness or anger. This is one of the things I admired the most about the album. In the midst of adversity, she had only love to give.
In addition to her album being lyrical and musical gold, it is also certified platinum in the US, and the album broke the record for the largest streaming week. She replaced herself as #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (her third single from the album, "Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored" replaced the second, "7 Rings"), and became the first female artist to have accomplished replacing herself as number one on the charts. The album and the success it's received proves that overcoming great adversity is possible. The message of girl power it also sends is extremely empowering for her female fans.
Her lyrics on the title single, "thank u, next," sum up the overall message of the album. "I've loved and I've lost, but that's not what I see, look what I've found, there's no need for searching..." And truth be told, if you need an album that will make you feel confident and remind you that there's always a light at the end of the tunnel, there's no need for you to be searching for a better fit than "thank u, next."