Written by Harrison Squire Mines
Overnight, Ariana Grande has turned recent bad-breakup press into a streaming pop music smash hit. Grande released “Thank U, Next” as a midnight surprise last week, after a series of tweets suggesting new music could be on the way. The song, which resembles an upbeat continuation of her latest album Sweetener, has captured mass attention not for its catchiness, rather its A-list subject matter. The track name-drops Grande’s ex-boyfriends, including rappers Big Sean and the late Mac Miller, and most notably Pete Davidson, Grande’s fiancé up until this past month.
While media coverage of the “Thank U, Next” has been enamored with its celebrity lyrics, listeners have gravitated to the song for a different reason. Rather than slight or insult her romantic partners, Grande thanks each of them for the lessons learned in their respective relationships. Moreover, Grande expresses lyrically that her focus is now on herself and her growth as a woman. Audiences have applauded the track because of its empowering message in which Grande thanks past lovers for experience with love, patience and pain. Consequently, the surprise release has rocketed charts in a matter of days.
“Thank U, Next” is projected to be the biggest streaming debut by a female to date. The accolade’s arrival is timely; a testament to Grande’s recent naming as Billboard’s Woman of the Year. By releasing a single that promotes maturity, gratitude and self-love, Grande has successfully defined herself further as an artist by both popularity and musical honesty.