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Ariana Grande Tells Her Own Story in ‘Thank U, Next’

By Karina Flor0ez |Staff Writer

Ariana Grande has been through a lot in the past few years. 

After the Manchester Arena bombing left 22 people dead during her performance in May of 2017, Grande told British Vogue that she had been suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have witnessed a traumatic event, as a result. 

On top of that, her ex-boyfriend and rapper Mac Miller passed away in September of last year due to an accidental drug overdose, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Miller was in a relationship with Grande at the time of the Manchester Arena bombing and was one of her many sources of emotional support. 

When news of Miller’s death broke out, Grande said in a post via Instagram, “I adored you from the day I met you when I was nineteen and I always will. I can’t believe you aren’t here anymore.”

However, this hasn’t stopped Grande in her career. Her newest studio effort, Thank U, Next, which was released in early February by Republic Records, came out only six months after Sweetener, which was released in August of last year.

In October of 2018, Grande began sharing photos and videos on her Instagram story of her recording music in the studio, leading fans to speculate whether she was recording material for a new album or not.

The album was produced by a multitude of people. Most notably, Max Martin and Ilya have helped produce and co-write material for Grande’s other albums: My Everything, Dangerous Woman and Sweetener

The album starts with “Imagine,” which debuts Grande’s signature smooth and sultry vocals. She belts the chorus, attempting to imagine a world with a perfect relationship. During the last minute of the song, Grande introduces her whistle notes, which are the only time they are heard on the album.

As I listened to the album, I realized the tracks were sequenced in a way that would tell a story. 

“Imagine” describes Grande’s need for an ideal relationship. She wants what she and so many other people feel that they simply can’t have– a happy and healthy connection. 

“Needy,” the second song on the album, describes Grande as just that– needy in her pursuit for love. 

In “NASA,” Grande is fed up with her partner in her relationship and wants space. 

“Bloodline” describes how she really likes her partner, but not enough to stay in their relationship.

The album has some reflective moments as well, such as the next track, “Fake Smile.” In the song, Grande talks about how she’s tired of hiding and fabricating her emotions. 

In “Bad Idea,” Grande wants her partner to numb her pain so she can forget about it for the moment. 

“Make Up” is one of the more fun songs on the album. Grande takes this song, almost like an interlude on the album, to take a break on the things that are causing her pain and making her sad. 

The album then takes a darker turn with “Ghostin.” The song describes being in a relationship with someone while clearly being in love with someone else. The title is also a slang term, which means to cut off all communication without any explanation. 

Many fans speculate that this song is about Grande’s deceased ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller, but she has neither confirmed nor denied this.

“In My Head” describes falling in love with an idea of who someone is, not who they actually are. This is the last song before the final conclusion of the album. 

The last three songs, which were released as official singles, “7 Rings,” “Thank U, Next,” and “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored,” were the icing on the cake for this album.

 “7 Rings” describes a reborn Grande. She’s rapping/singing over a trap beat and bragging about her riches. In “Thank U, Next” she’s grateful for the experiences and lessons her past lovers have taught her. Lastly, In “Break Up With Your Girlfriend…” Grande realizes what she wants for herself, and even though she might make mistakes along the way, she will learn from them.

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