ALBUM REVIEW: ‘thank u, next’ – Ariana Grande

Thank_U,_Next_album_coverAriana Grande is at an odd point. In the middle of her biggest era of her career thus, less than six months out from her last album release and at the very peak of the industry. Many woman have occupied that spot before her and it’s safe to assume many will after her. However, what goes up must come down. What was once endearing becomes annoying, what was once incredible becomes boring, and so the cycle continues. It will be. An interesting moment to see if, how and when Grande falls. However, with the release of thank u, next, it’s safe to say it won’t be her music that brings about her downfall.

Despite the pressure of all eyes being on her, Grande safely pulls off what could well be her defining album. Her fifth studio album thus far, thank u, next builds on her previous releases, taking the good from her hit and miss Sweetener and ramping up the experimentation. The first thing you notice on thank u, next is the cohesion. Thank u, next is wonderfully diverse yet cohesive unlike the homogeneous-ness of Sweetener that bordered on cannibalism. Here, Grande flicks between genuine ballads, back to fiery trap numbers and even throws it back to her Broadway roots. The album never feels clunky, even in its more filler-esque moments, of which there are a few. ‘ break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored’ is not the most endearing moment of Grande’s discography, instead coming off as bit of a nasty attempt to recapture the drama of lead single ‘thank u, next’. ‘make up’ isn’t anything particularly exciting and sounds a bit like a reject from the first half of Sweetener, while ‘bad idea’ is an ok track with no real purpose. The three tracks are quite out of place given the rest of the record, which has a very distinct, and very purposeful voice.  ‘imagine’ is a gorgeous opener that soars into the rafters before bringing us back down to earth and transitioning into the equally beautiful ‘needy’. Grande’s songwriting style is even more clear on the ballads here, as she refuses to switch away from the more informal writing that is typical of the more banger-trap moments. thank u, next’s superior ballad is appropriately haunting ‘ghostin’, which really showcases the emotion in Grande’s vocal, as well as skill of Max Martin and his team. Martin is also all over another album highlight ‘bloodline’, which is fierce, pop-reggaeton banger that offers a moment of pure fun in the album’s track-list. The album’s two singles, title track ‘thank u, next’ and ‘7 rings’ are easily the most commercial offerings here, with the former being arguably the easily marketed tracks ever, and the latter just being a straight up banger. ‘7 rings’ is probably the most out of place track, with its Sound of Music sample and complete display of richness in an otherwise quite emotional album, but the brilliance of the track makes it easy to overlook.

Overall, thank u, next seems as though it’s supposed to be Grande equivalent of Beyoncé’s Lemonade, but given that Grande has far less to say, thank u, next is ultimately more comparable to Rihanna’s Anti. Like Anti, thank u, next isn’t a perfect album, nor is it the industry changer that Lemonade was, however, it marks an important shift in Grande’s career. Here, she seems more in control, more sure of herself, of what she wants to sound like more so than what she needs to sound like. thank u, next probably won’t alter the world as we know it, but it certainly will alter Grande’s world and it’s truly a sight to behold.

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TRACK REVIEW: ‘Imagine’ – Ariana Grande

It’s hard to comprehend just how fast and how high Ariana Grande has risen as of late. Although she had success with her first three LPs, she had never quite had superstar status success. With the release of Sweetener, it’s singles, and the media frenzy that surrounded her relationship with Pete Davidson, it seemed she was beginning the transition from pop star to superstar at a relatively predictable pace. Then her relationship with Davidson broke apart and she put her foot on the pedal with the release of ‘Thank U, Next’. Now, with it’s follow-up ‘Imagine’, Grande proves she’s a superstar in other aspects.

Although not a sure-fire hit as the ever catchy and radio-friendly ‘Thank U, Next’, ‘Imagine’ is a magical showcase of Grande’s pure, raw, superstar level voice, as she lets her voice loose for once, belting high and whistling higher. Lyrically, ‘Imagine’ is beautifully mundane, conjuring up a plain and simple life where everything is fine. It is the simple version of Lorde’s ever-complex ‘The Louvre’, as both songs detail immaculate relationships that are practically art in their perfection. The production here is so sparse it’s barely there, but it’s magically constructed to provide a beautifully wistful for this melancholy ballad.

Overall, ‘Imagine’ is one of those rare gems of a pop song that is practically perfect in every. It feels simple, but epic at the same time. Its lyrics are relatable but never cliché. The production is innovative and original. But what truly elevates ‘Imagine’, is that it is a great vocalist letting her voice do what her voice is supposed to do, and that’s truly something you can’t imagine.

Listen to Ariana Grande’s ‘Imagine’ below and let us know what you think in the comments:

NEWS: Ariana Grande is the ultimate Mean Girl in ‘Thank U, Next’ music video

Ariana Grande has finally dropped the hotly anticipated music video for her latest single ‘Thank U, Next’.

The music video sees Grande reenact famous scenes from four classic romcoms including Mean Girls and Legally Blonde. The video also features huge cameos from stars such as Liz Gillies, Colleen Ballinger, Mean Girls star Johnathan Bennett and Legally Blonde star Jennifer Coolidge.

Since its release in early November, ‘Thank U, Next’ has dominated pop culture, reaching number one across the globes including the USA and the UK, becoming Grande’s first number one in the former and her first solo number in the latter. The song has also been a streaming force, breaking numerous records and propelling Grande into first place on Spotify’s monthly listeners, overtaking Selena Gomez.

Check out the Official Music Video for Ariana Grande’s ‘Thank U, Next’ below: