Aline Silva Contributing Writer
It’s fitting to review Ariana Grande’s newest album, “Thank U, Next,” released Feb. 8, 2019, after her first Grammy win on Feb. 11, 2019. On Grande’s Twitter, she describes her album as, “[mourning] failed yet important, beautiful relationships in my life (as well as celebrates growth/exploring new independence).” This album had two songs worth highlighting:
According to her Twitter, Grande said this about her single “imagine:” “But for those of you asking about imagine: i would say if ‘thank u, next’ = acceptance… ‘imagine’ = denial. hope that makes sense.” It seems that the song is about her not being to accept that the relationship isn’t as fulfilling as she wants it to be. The lyrics paint a picture of how she spends intimate times with her partner. “Staying up all night, order me pad thai/Then we gon’ sleep ‘til noon.” She describes how laid back she can be with this person, “Me with no makeup, you in the bathtub/Bubbles and bubbly, ooh/This is a pleasure, feel like we never act this regular.” However, in the chorus, she gives clues that this might only be a fantasy, “Imagine a world like that,” is repeated. The combination of playful beats, a range of vocals from low to whistle notes, vulnerable lyrics about her relationships layered on the chill, and sultry beats make this the ideal romantic ballad.
One of Grande’s songs has been sparking controversy just from the title alone. Some responses to “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored” are “I just listened to break up with your gf, and my inner homewrecker just leapt out,” “break up with your gf is so immature and inconsiderate,” and “Honestly don’t see the vibe with ‘break up with your gf I’m bored’. Not the type of energy I support or tolerate.” Even so, fans have been confused because the music video depicts Grande following a heterosexual couple around, but it ends with the twist of her pushing the man away and leaning in for a kiss with the woman. The controversial ending has some accusing Grande of queerbaiting to further her career. Queer-baiting is defined as the practice of hinting at, but not actually depicting, a same-sex romantic relationship. Ultimately, the potential romance may be ignored, explicitly rejected or made fun of. Fans come to her defense saying that it was a symbol of self-love since the girlfriend in the video resembles Grande and she breaks up with her boyfriend so she can fall in love with herself. Watch the video and decide for yourself.
“Thank U, Next” definitely isn’t Grande’s best album, it can’t compete with her 2016 release of “Dangerous Woman” however it has some catchy songs that are worth listening to: “needy,” “bad idea” and “make up” are just some to name a few.