The Westfield Voice

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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Thank U, Next: Ariana Grande’s Rise From the Ashes


I remember being twelve years old and my younger brother telling me about this new show on Nickelodeon that features an actress with the same name as me. She even spelled it the same way. And boy, could she sing.

That Ariana Grande is long gone now, and nowhere is it more evident than in her latest album Thank U, Next. After Victorious ended, I stopped following Ariana Grande so closely because I assumed she would either vanish from the limelight altogether or would go on to make music I really couldn’t care for.

And for the most part that was true. I really hadn’t listened to any of her prior albums past whatever was occasionally played on the radio. But that all changed with the arrival of Sweetener.

So now comes Thank U, Next, Grande’s fifth album and the second one released in less than a year; something considerably impressive for a Western artist. The album features the title track “Thank U, Next,” Grande’s first number-one hit, among other early releases like “7 Rings,” and “Imagine” that preceded the album drop.

And so far, the album doesn’t disappoint. No song sounds exactly the same, from pop tones of “Thank U, Next,” to the slow R&B rhythms of “Fake Smile”, and the rap verses of “7 Rings.”

I really can’t narrow it down to one specific track to crown my favorite. “Bloodline” immediately charmed me with an intro voiceover from Grande’s grandmother, something that reminded me of my own Nonna. And “Thank U, Next” is my own personal break-up song (thank u, Ari).

“Ghostin,” with is melancholic strings is absolutely beautiful, but so is Imagine and its high notes. But Bad Idea also makes me want to get into trouble, in a good way.

The album has something for everything, and while Sweetener was my introduction to Grande’s music, there was something that rubbed me the wrong way about Pharrell Williams’ production work, like there was too much emphasis on the uniqueness of the tracks instead of Grande’s incredible vocal range.

Miss Grande did not come to 2019 to play. She survived her 2018 trauma following her engagement and break up with comedian Pete Davidson, along with the passing of longtime boyfriend, Mac Miller. And all of these emotions are present in this album.

With each passing day, Grande becomes a bigger star than she was before. And into 2019, Thank U, Next is setting the tone for her year, as well as her fans’. This year, Grande is celebrating her friends, her family, and most importantly, herself. This is her redemption arc.

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