Almost two months ago, Nicholas Krgovich released a new album called OUCH. In songs like “Rosemary,” “Lido,” and “Belief,” he portrayed the wreckage of a failed relationship, the first real heartbreak he’d experienced in his life. Krgovich has described the flood of inspiration that came with OUCH and one would have to imagine that’s a cathartic process. So, appropriately enough, Krgovich has returned with one more missive for 2018 and it’s a cover of the year’s most beloved, meme-inspiring breakup anthem.
Ariana Grande, of course, had a year that was both big and tumultuous. When she released “thank u, next,” it took over the internet, seized as a track that seemed to somehow be a kiss-off and an attempt at peacefully moving forward all at once, triumph out of hurt. It inspired the similarly fixated-upon 1975 to offer their rendition, but it also prompted, naturally, plenty of people to post their own videos on YouTube. The latter turned out to be part of Krgovich’s inspiration for the clip that accompanies his cover, and it also speaks to the appeal of this song, what might draw artists as disparate as Matty Healy and Krgovich to sing these words, connecting to a universality despite the lyrical specificity to Grande’s life.
Here’s what Krgovich had to say about where the idea to follow OUCH with his “thank u, next” cover came from, and how the track came together from there:
On November 3rd I was driving along the 5 through Washington and Oregon. It was grey and rainy the whole trip. I listened to “Sa” by Jonathan Richman, the new Mega Bog, a bit of the new Cypress Hill, kneejerking-ly blasted Incesticide which I hadn’t heard in a million years while passing through Aberdeen. At one point I pulled over for gas and checked my phone and had a bunch of DM’s from friends and other people asking me if I’d heard the new Ariana Grande song — all remarking on the eerie thematic parallels between it and this album I had just put out called OUCH. So, after I filled the tank I put it on and listened to it twice. While it was playing the second time I got two more messages from people, one of them my boyfriend, suggesting that I cover it. And that was that, I had a fun assignment.
I made the track quickly at home, using a similar palette to what’s found on OUCH, borrowed drum samples from Owen Ashworth, some spare sax and flute takes I had from Joseph Shabason. Louise Burns came over to do some singing (she already knew all the words and the tricky phrasing!) and Sydney Hermant came by to sing as well, wearing a ponytail hair extension leftover from her daughter’s Ariana Grande Halloween costume. Oh! Her daughter Gloria did the beautiful artwork that starts off the video. When I put that part together it reminded me of the end of Andrei Rublev.
I had the idea for the video while in the shower. At that point the song had already been out for a few weeks and I was like “I bet YouTube is full of people covering and karaoke-ing this by now.” So I gave it a goog’ and it was true. I ripped a bunch of them and stitched them together while slowly drinking coffee. This is such a weird song to cover, to have captured the hearts of millions, are people even thinking about what they’re singing while they’re singing this? Or does the song just blast some sort of universal glow despite all the details that fill the lyric sheet? I have no idea.
Check it out below.
OUCH is out now via Tin Angel Records.