‘Thank u, Next’ is the fifth full length LP from Ariana Grande which was released on February 9, 2019 by Republic Records. This album is a follow up to her fourth full length album ‘Sweetener’ which dropped in the Summer of 2018. ‘Thank u, Next’ is 41 minutes and 11 seconds long with 12 tracks which boasts an array of instrumentals that are a seamless blend of low key Electro Pop, blissful ambiance and smooth spacious traps.
The album is much more uniformed although Grande uses a plethora of different producers and songwriters with the most notable being Swedish Pop Wizard Max Martin. With all of the different styles and sounds this contributes to the album being quite moody. Grande approached this album with an entirely different attitude. With all of the tragedy that’s happened in her life recently such as breaking off her engagement with Pete Davidson, Mac Miller, her longtime beau, passing away, and the Manchester bombing, the album is a deep reflection of her inner pain. It seems to be like a coping mechanism of how she is attempting to alleviate her grief. “Thank u, Next’ has got to be Grande’s most vulnerable album to date which is somewhat depressing for a Pop album.
The first song on the album is “Imagine” which is a smooth, idyllic, R&B jam about being in a blissful relationship with a guy that comes off as a vivid fantasy. It has sweet and nimble vocal lines that gives the listener a grand finish composed of strings and pianos. Next up, and moving the album into more somber territory, is the song “Needy”. Here, Grande allows her vocals to shine as she sings with a lot of passion and conviction on this track and the tone is strong enough where it still shines through vividly. “NASA” is next in the rotation and although it has a nice hook, it comes off as generic and one dimensional like a few more songs on this album.
One of the more enjoyable songs on the playlist was “Make Up” where Grande compared her enjoyment in making up in a relationship to make up that she literally wears. The instrumentals are quirky but they work well with her chirpy vocal harmony. “Bloodline” is another track that will capture the listener’s attention with its Electro Reggae fusion. It will definitely resonate with its audience and Grande’s vocals comes off as very authoritative. “Fake Smile” is just simply fantastic. It revised the Wu-Tang Clan’s classic song “Tearz” but the lyrics are very cutting and meaningful.
The overall album could have been better. Grande put more effort and herself into ‘Sweetener’ than she did here. At times it felt as if she was forcing the listener to enjoy the album, which with some songs, she didn’t have to do. With the immense vocal talents that she possesses, her fans deserve better.
‘Thank u, Next’ receives 6 stars out of 10 stars.