Things are never quiet with Ariana Grande. After a topsy-turvy 2018 that saw the release of her immaculate Sweetener, the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller, an engagement to comedian Pete Davidson that went kaputt months later, and the debut of her first #1 single, she’s continued to ride a wave of triumph and tumult into 2019.
“I’m so successful,” Grande sang on one of Sweetener’s many highlights, and the phrase has never been truer than in the months since that album dropped. She immediately began work on a follow-up album called thank u, next, premiering its title track on a Saturday night just before Davidson was expected to address their breakup on SNL. The tune debuted atop Billboard’s Hot 100, becoming her first #1 hit, and stayed there for seven weeks total, propelled in part by a hit music video referencing many of Grande’s favorite chick flicks. The slow-burn ballad “Imagine,” her last new single of 2018, may not have set the charts on fire, but it suggested the new record would maintain Sweetener’s high standard.
Early this year Grande added a second #1 hit with “7 Rings,” a trap-pop number that interpolates “My Favorite Things.” She again entered the chart on top, making her the first artist to score her first two #1s both as debuts. But the song also incited seemingly endless controversies. Princess Nokia accused Grande of ripping off her song “Mine,” while others more generally took her to task for doing a whitewashed Pat Boone version of trap music. Meanwhile her attempts to get “7 Rings” tattooed on her hand in Japanese resulted in not one but two hilarious mistranslations.
Lastly(?), two days before her new album’s release, Grande pulled out of a planned performance at this weekend’s Grammys over a dispute with the show’s producers. Not that she’ll have any trouble drawing attention to the release, which seems preordained to put up gargantuan sales and streaming numbers in the next seven days. Now that thank u, next is here, you can contribute to those stats if you so choose. (There is also music to be listened to.)
On the new album, Grande samples “After Laughter (Comes Tears)” by Wendy Rene and “It Makes Me Ill” by ‘N Sync. She accompanies tonight’s release with a new music video for thank u next’s final track, “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored.” Stream the album in full and watch the video below.
thank u, next is out now on Republic.