Ariana Grande released her anticipated fourth studio album Sweetener on August 17, 2018. A few months later, after ex-boyfriend Mac Miller died of an overdose and after calling off her engagement to Pete Davidson, she released the first single from her fifth studio album.
“Thank U, Next” was received with high praise. The fun song name-drops Grande’s exes, declaring she’s grateful for all of them no matter the outcome. Following the release of the single, she announced that her new album was named after the song.
Grande released two more singles prior the release of the album. “Imagine” was released on December 14, 2018. A soulful ballad, the song showcases her sweet whistle tones. Fans speculate the song is about Mac Miller, with lyrics similar to his 2016 song “Cinderella,” which was written about Grande.
The final single released was “7 Rings,” a song written with Grande’s friends about a drunken night at Tiffany’s, where her and six of her friends purchased engagement rings. The song samples from “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. Grande raps on this song, shying away from her earlier albums which were more bubblegum pop and R&B.
Thank U, Next was released on February 8. She released the album less than six months after the release of Sweetener. The album’s lyrics mostly consist of dealing with heartbreak, moving on, accepting and acknowledging her flaws, and enjoying life. She wrote the album while she was going through a lot of personal matters.
The album consists of twelve songs, all mostly written by Grande. It’s the only album of hers without any guest features. She carries the album all by herself and does it well. The album has broken many records, including some of her own. The album broke the record for the largest streaming week ever for a pop album. All twelve songs appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
Grande experiments a lot on this album, with no two songs sounding alike. It’s a nice contrast to Sweetener, which is happier and more upbeat in sound and in the lyrics. Thank U, Next is toned down, making it the perfect album to listen to after a long, stressful day.
R&B seems to be a powerful influence in this album. On songs like “Bloodline” and “NASA,” the beats are memorable. They’re the most upbeat songs on the album. The rest of the album is softer, with Grande’s voice matching the mood. There are very little vocal runs on these songs, unlike on some of her previous albums. Grande relies mostly on the lyrics and the beats of the songs.
Ariana Grande will be going on a world tour later this year to promote both Sweetener and Thank U, Next. There will be two stops in Toronto, on April 3 and June 26.