Editorial: Is “thank u, next” Ariana Grande’s Best Album Yet?

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On February 8th, Ariana Grande released her fifth studio album – thank u, next – named after her hit song that quickly broke streaming records and went platinum after it dropped.  Her previous album, Sweetener, was only released in August of 2018, so it was quite a surprise for fans when Grande revealed she would be producing a new album so quickly. Some speculated the album would be no good due to how quickly it appeared to have been made, but a majority of fans were extremely excited for new music (including me!). After listening to the album multiple times, I think it can easily be said that this is one of Grande’s best albums thus far in her career. Let’s start by giving a song-by-song review:

  • “imagine”

This song was originally released as a promotional single for the upcoming album in December 2018, and was a good choice to promote the album. With a more relaxed tone, Ariana uses this song to convey her feelings on failed, publicized relationships. From the beginning, she imagines the perfect, private relationship she wishes she could have, with nothing more than simple relaxation and take-out food being the highlight of her night. The verses and bridges all have a trap-like beat behind them, but when the chorus comes in all of the background music stops, leaving Ariana’s pronounced “Imagine a world like that” to take the spotlight. One thing that surprised fans most in this song was Ariana’s rare use of whistle tones, which fans haven’t heard for a long time. With everything in this song working together in perfect harmony, “imagine” is for sure a strong start to thank u, next.

  • “needy”

Snippets of “needy” were released randomly by Ariana on Twitter and Instagram for a few months leading up to the album’s release. Needless to say, this song was definitely one of the more highly anticipated ones on the album – and Ariana didn’t disappoint. Despite being a shorter song, it certainly packs a punch and gets a message across. Ariana spills everything she feels in this song, saying how she loves too hard and gives too much for people who don’t give the same amount of love and attention to her. She reveals her deepest thoughts on her so-called “flaws” when she’s in a  relationship, definitely making it a relatable song for many listeners.

  • “NASA”

Clingy relationships are never good, and this is exactly what Ariana talks about in this song. Sometimes all you need is just some “me time” and time to give yourself some love, which is what “NASA” is essentially about. She still loves her significant other, but just wants to take some time for herself and focus on bettering her body and mind. She’ll need space – hence the NASA reference – because she know’s she’s “a star” and needs to be by herself, just floating around in her own little world before she can come back down the universe.

  • “bloodline”

In this song, Ariana gets rather sassy, making “bloodline” a fan favorite already. Essentially, Ariana speaks about wanting to get with somebody, but not wanting to take it too far as to where they soon get into a long-term relationship. She wants to keep things quick and simple, with no commitment. She also wants to just have fun in this fling of a relationship, but she believes that her romantic interest will grow too attached and want to make things more serious. Ariana certainly makes it clear that she doesn’t want just anybody in her “bloodline,” and that she’s going to know her limits when it comes to being in a relationship with this person.

  • “fake smile”

The meaning behind this song it rather obvious, both given the song title and the lyrics within it. At the very beginning, there is a sample from Wendy Rene’s 1964 song “After Laughter,” in which she says “after laughter comes tears,” and this bit already gives the listener a general overview of what the song will be about. Ariana then goes on to sing about how she can’t continue pretending to be social, happy, and mentally okay.  She’s over the fake smiles and acts she needs to put on when she goes out to make people think everything is fine, when it’s actually not. Ariana clearly wants to stop all of the pretending and just live her life showing the emotions that she truly feels, whether that be in public or in private.

  • “bad idea”


  • “make up”


  • “ghostin”

This song is another fan favorite, simply because of how raw it is and the story behind it. Ariana was very hesitant to put this one on the album because she felt as though it was too personal, but her friends pushed her to include it. Fans speculate that this song is about Ariana’s relationship with her ex-fiance Pete Davidson after her ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller, passed away in September of 2018. Davidson and Grande got engaged just months after her breakup with Mac Miller, and only a few months after their engagement was when Miller was found dead in his home from a drug overdose. It was rumored that Miller’s death put a real strain on Davidson and Grande’s relationship and was the ultimate reason as to why they decided to call off the engagement. The strain is clearly described in “ghostin,” Ariana saying she cried right next to Pete at night, knowing he could hear her while she tried to hold it in. One of the hardest-hitting lyrics is “Though I wish he were here instead, don’t want that living in your head,” possibly meaning that Grande wishes Mac Miller was still here with her instead of Pete, which definitely was a punch to the heart for fans. Ariana wishes she could “ghost” Mac Miller, but she can’t help but keep him in her memory.

  • “in my head”


  • “7 rings”


  • “thank u, next”


  • “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored”


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