Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next – Album Review Ranked By Tracks
PopTara has become a place where we can come together to support small and up-and-coming pop artists.
But, with that being said, there is no denying that Ariana Grande still slaps harder than anyone else in the industry — no matter how mainstream (and for the locals) she has gotten.
Only six months after the release of her senior album, Sweetener, Grande released her 5th studio album, thank u, next (TUN). If you are on any social media platform or have listened to any radio station, then you know that TUN is the only thing that has been talked about these past two weeks, and rightfully so!
TUN is one of Grande’s most well-written, well-produced, and most mature albums (I still cannot decide between TUN or Sweetener), so let’s take a few minutes to discuss!
To make the conversation a bit SpICiER, I have ranked the tracks on TUN from my favorite to least favorite to guide this review:
*disclaimer: there are no bad songs on TUN, I sincerely enjoy all of these tracks but this ranking is about as accurate as it can get and I said what I said.*
Coming in as number one on my rankings is imagine (John Lennon is trembling). Imagine tells the story of a fantasy world where relationships work out perfectly. With a chorus of, “why can’t you imagine a world like that” and the build of “can you imagine it” in the bridge, we can hear Grande pleading for the other person to make the relationship fulfill her fantasies. Alongside her cloudy grey aesthetic that is vividly heard throughout this track, are her signature whistle tones. The elegance and power of her vocals mixed with heart-sinking beats puts imagine as the best track on TUN.
2. in my head
In my head serves as Grande’s most relatable number to myself, personally. (The only Grande song that has ever made me cry besides thinking bout you). The song describes Grande’s bad habit of envisioning a person in her head, and ending up disappointed when reality reveals that person is not who she wanted him to be. “They see Demon, I see Angel / Angel without the halo, wingless Angel,” “Everything you are made you everything you aren’t / I saw your potential without seeing credentials / maybe that’s the issue.” It’s a habit Grande and I have in common and a hard one to get by. Besides the lyrics, Grande’s vocals on this track are also unworldly gorgeous and filled with emotion.
3. bad idea
A common opinion among Grande’s fanbase is that prior to TUN, Dangerous Woman was her best album, and Touch It was the most powerful track on that album. Well, bad idea is the Touch It of TUN. The straightforward dialogue and immensely strong vocals paired up with dance-club beats puts bad idea high up on the rankings. “I got a bad idea / Yeah, I’ma call you over here to numb the pain / I got a bad idea / Forget about it, forget about him, forget about me.” Another classic written and produced by Max Martin.
“You been so understanding, you been so good / And I’m puttin’ you through more than one ever should / And I’m hating myself ’cause you don’t want to admit that it hurts you.” In an interview with Zach Sang, Grande confirmed ghostin was the most painful track for her to put together, and will probably never perform it live. The heart-aching song that almost didn’t even make it onto the album, hits on a painful experience of trying to move forward in a relationship with a good guy, while mourning the end of her relationship with her ex. Ghostin is also the closest thing we have gotten to a classic Grande ballad since Just a Little Bit of Your Heart and My Everything.
Opened with a narrative from drag superstar, Shangela, and followed by even more ~relatable~ lyrics, NASA is a major bop on TUN. The song discusses Grande’s need for space and time alone — not due to anyone’s fault — but like…that’s just life sometimes, ya know?? Grande sings, “Think I’m better off here all alone tonight / Ain’t no checkin’ on when I get home tonight / Just makin’ sure I’m good on my own tonight / Even though there isn’t nothin’ wrong tonight,” followed by a chours that compares her to a star (like literal stars) needing space (like the galaxy), “You know that I’m a star / space / I’ma need space.” The song is overal super catchy and does a great job at capturing Grande’s dynamic personality.
6. 7 rings
Though I am not entirely convinced that this song was not inspired by Princess Nokia’s Mine… the track is still hot. Serving as an entire mood for 2019 with lyrics like, “Been through some bad sh*t / I should be a sad b*tch / Who woulda thought it’d turn me to a savage?” and “Whoever said money can’t solve your problems / Must not have had enough money to solve ’em / Happiness is the same price as red-bottoms,” this song is an anthem that the only thing we should be worrying about this year is ourselves and making money. With trap heavy beats, this track really makes you wanna buss it down, thotiana. (also want to shout out the Breakfast at Tiffany’s reference in this number…best movie of all time).
7. make up
For some reason, make up has been low on everyone’s rankings, but like….I just really get this song. This sugary track might not highlight a healthy relationship dynamic, but it’s still pretty groovy to bop to. To quote a line from Grande, this song “issa mood, issa vibe, issa look, issa match.” Short, sweet, and sugary.
8. breakup with your girlfriend, i’m bored
break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored is a fun R&B trap number with an attitude, and also, another #1 single for Grande. The *NSYNC, It Makes Me Ill, sampled song offers playful lyrics such as, “I know it ain’t right / But I don’t care / Break up with your girlfriend / Yeah, yeah, ’cause I’m bored.” This jealous yet confident song is all in good fun and is most definitely a smash.
9. fake smile
Grande tackles accepting mental health on her track, fake smile. “I can’t fake another smile / I can’t fake like I’m alright / And I won’t say I’m feeling fine / After what I been through, I can’t lie.” This number gives comfort to every listener considering this is a state of mind we all have experienced at some point in life. Not only does this track provide comfort, it also reminds listeners that it is okay to have bad days and it is not something we have to apologize for, “If I’m hurt, I ain’t gon’ lie about it / Arms crossed with the attitude, lips pouted / If I’m mad, I ain’t gon’ lie about it / Neckroll with the attitude, yuh.” Grande’s vocals on this also serve as some of her strongest on TUN, especially within the second verse.
“Tell me how good it feels to be needed.” The minimalistic beat ended by a violin breakdown on needy fits perfectly on this track as Grande effortlessly sings about her insecurities. “Sorry if I’m up and down a lot / Sorry that I think I’m not enough / And sorry if I say sorry way too much / You can go ahead and call me selfish / But after all this damage I can’t help it.” With classic Grande powerhouse vocals and yet again…relatable…lyrics, the only thing we need from this track is for it to be longer.
11. thank u, next
Had thank u, next not been as overplayed as it is, it might have ended up higher on my rankings. The album titled track gives a tribute of acknowledgment and thank-you’s to Grande’s exs for teaching her how to be a more loving and patient person. The songs also embodies the overall theme of this album of Grande taking time and space to love herself and grow.
And last but definitely not least is bloodline. Another upbeat banger on TUN, and another track that is simply fun. “I ain’t lookin’ for my one true love, that ship sailed away… / Don’t want you in my bloodline / Just wanna have a good time.” This summery track is perfect for anybody who isn’t trying to be tied down to anything and just wants to ho it up a bit.
Ariana Grande’s Thank u Next – Album Review
thank u, next clearly has a darker and more matured tone compared to her past work, but it fits in perfectly for this new chapter of Grande’s life. This album allowed for her to reach her first ever number one single (plus two) and completely dominated the Billboard Charts.
I also think Grande is beyond blessed to have such an amazing and tight group of friends who helped her write and create this album, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Grande.
My overall rating of TUN: 9.4/10
My name is Tara and I put out articles for UIC Radio on whatever day I can. I’m a media communication and professional writing major at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I host a pop music show, PopTara, on UIC Radio every Wednesday from 8:30pm-10:30pm. If you want to keep up with my saucy life you can follow me here:
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