Grande’s new single dropped during a tough year, and is a joyful anthem of growth.
Ariana Grande recently released a new song called “thank u, next” where in the first thirty seconds she name drops four of her exes. Literally. The first verse is “Thought I’d end up with Sean/But he wasn’t a match/Wrote some songs about Ricky/Now I listen and laugh/Even almost got married/And for Pete, I’m so thankful/Wish I could say, “Thank you” to Malcolm/’Cause he was an angel,” referring to Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez, Pete Davidson and the late Mac Miller.
She continues into the chorus, singing, “One taught me love/one taught me patience/and one taught me pain,” which is obviously illustrative of what she learned throughout each relationship. The chorus of “Thank you, next/I’m so fucking grateful for my ex” means that she is ultimately thankful for the relationships, but wants to move on.
The second verse has Grande explaining that she’s found a new love, and that she knows this one will last, ignoring that people think she is moving on too fast. She knows “‘Cause her name is Ari,” meaning herself, or self love.
Ariana has gone through a lot this year, from her breakup with Mac Miller, to her rushed engagement with Pete Davidson, to the cancelling of that engagement, to Miller’s death. Through it all, she has had people attacking her from all sides, perhaps most viciously with people blaming her for Miller’s death. So this proclamation of self love is remarkable and uplifting, as she is not doubting her worth.
The bridge into the final pre-chorus is also lovely, as it is a message of hope. “One day I’ll walk down the aisle/Holding hands with my mama/I’ll be thanking my dad/’Cause she grew from the drama.” She has hope for her future, knowing that one day she will get married to the love of her life, but until then, she has herself and all that she has learned.
Grande continues with: “I’ve got so much love/Got so much patience/I’ve learned from the pain/I turned out amazing/I’ve loved and I’ve lost/But that’s not what I see.” She has moved on from the pain of breaking up and losing those she loves, and has learned from it. She hasn’t forgotten those she has left, but she is not dwelling on the past. She knows she has “turned out amazing” and she knows that she is not solely defined by her experiences, as some like to claim she is.
This song is inspiring, as it’s a proclamation that no matter the heartbreak you go through, you can come out even better than before, and can take what you’ve learned and turn out amazing. It’s also a message to everyone that you don’t need a significant other, you just need yourself. That if you have yourself and love yourself that’s all you need. You can still be incredible and worth something.
To quote a tweet by Brent Buller (@brent_buller on twitter), “Ariana Grande is like one song away from making girls never talk to guys ever again.” Grande replied: “thank god.” She knows that she doesn’t need a man, and she wants all the girls out there to know they don’t need one either.
“Thank u, next” is out now on all platforms, and I highly recommend it. Not only for its message, but because it is a bop.