By: Timothy Coffman, Columnist
Photo courtesy of Junkee
Ariana Grande has had a rough few years, all things considered. Given the vocalist’s breakup with her ex-fiancé Pete Davidson, as well as the death of her former flame Mac Miller, and the terrorist attack at one of her concerts, it would make sense that Grande would take a break for a little while and recuperate. Instead, what has been released is Grande’s most personal album yet, “Thank U Next,” taken from last year’s smash single of the same name. With all of Grande’s raw emotions about her relationships hung out in the open, how do the songs hold up?
This album is certainly one of the greatest records that Grande has released thus far, which comes from her blunt honesty when talking about her personal struggles. There are songs like the title track which takes a mature stance on learning from past experiences in love, but most of the tracks revolve around the bittersweet period after the love has faded. Songs like “needy” and “imagine” show Grande talking about how she is learning from her past mistakes, but is unable to let go of the people that are leaving her life. The album also talks about Grande’s fatigue in having to keep staying positive with “fake smile.” The album’s track “ghostin” is an emotional powerhouse which talks about the sad loss of Mac Miller and how she is still coping with his demise.
However, there are some songs that do feel a tad repetitive after a while, like “bloodline” and “bad idea.” Also, the song “7 rings,” while sonically pleasing, does seem a bit out of place amongst the track listing, and the melodic lift from “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music” doesn’t really do the track any favors either.
For all its raw-nerve emotion, this record is an irresistible diary of Grande’s past hardships. This has all the emotional drama of other break-up albums, like Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” or any of Taylor Swift’s recent output. However, the songwriting does seem to be lacking in a few of the cuts. This album shows that while Grande hasn’t made her masterpiece just yet, there seems to be something bigger and better just over the horizon if she keeps making music that is this emotionally gripping. Overall, this was a very solid outing from an artist with massive potential.