Ariana Grande performs live in Jakarta.
In addition to exposing her relationships, Grande sings about her own faults and painful experiences. And, of course, the single "thank u, next" ties the album together with an understanding of both self-love and gratitude for the lessons she has learned from her exes. "Bloodline" cuts through the album with trumpets and a bubbly chorus, reminiscent of a low-key version of her 2014 single "Problem".
Grande said the album cover was "made with tru [sic], deep friendship and love".
Five months after "Sweetener", comes "thank u, next", Ariana Grande's fifth studio record.
The self-aware humour present in the titular track - a synth-driven pop kiss-off to her former lovers - is largely relegated to the album's closing moments alongside the cocksure anthem "7 Rings" and the amusingly-titled "Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored", a slick urban bop that cleverly interpolates an obscure album track from *NSYNC's 2000 offering No Strings Attached. "So I didn't know what was gonna happen [with "Thank U, Next"]". She has gone through these similar feelings in the past year.
Secondly, instead of whiskers on kittens, "7 Rings" praises the wonders of wealth: "lashes and diamonds, ATM machines". The video sheds some light on one of the album's most eye-catching track titles and has clocked up more than 9 million views (and counting) since its debut.
While Grande is a singer who talks about millennial narcissism with disarming directness, one can't help but feel there is something more interesting to be found here.
This song is about Grande's need to not be in a serious relationship after the tragedies and scandals that have surrounded her this past year. Ariana is careful not to mention Pete Davidson's name, but alludes to a potential marriage that affected the song.
But it is also quite apparent who she is referencing. Without shading those who decide to have children, this track speaks deeply to the lives of queer millennials such as myself, for whom the thought of families and childbearing is something of a mythic construction.
"7 rings" has been top of Billboard's Hot 100 for 3 weeks and the United States charts are looking like the tracklist of her whole album. The album's lyrics are Grande's most personal yet.
But even while dealing with her issues in an unflinching manner, like on Fake Smile, she still retains her signature sass - "If I'm hurt, I ain't gon' lie about it/Arms crossed with the attitude, lips pouted" - all over a catchy, vintage soul sample. Davidson matched hers amidst their blossoming romance late last summer. After the initial recording, she and Davidson were off but they got back on soon after.