Thank U, Next | Friend vs. Family

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Ariana Grande in the eyes of two New York based twenty-somethings.

I don’t know if you’ve been living under a twitter-less rock these past few months, but if not you know that Ariana Grande recently dropped her full length, highly anticipated album thank u, next.

Who better to review it than two girls who have had plenty of their own exes? Kate is a regular on the family reviews, and KB is her friend, coworker, and copywriter at an ad agency. While they work together every day, they have very different opinions on Ari heading into this. Let’s see what they had to say.

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Just when you thought Ariana Grande couldn’t get more savage, she went and kicked it up a notch.

All hail the new queen of breakup songs and independent AF mantras. Clearly Ari has had a year. But she tightened her high pony and rose up from the Pete Davidson ashes to claim her rightful spot, in the “don’t fuck with me” girl gang.

But this isn’t just another “T-Swifty” esque” breakup album. Ari has defined a clear narrative showcasing her growth personally and professionally. Thank u,next is actually a very delicate balance of vulnerability, self-care, and clapback’s —mixed with the kind of music that makes you want to dance wherever you might be.

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Oh boy here we go. I don’t totally love Ariana Grande but I am gonna give this a try.


KB: “Imagine”, a great opener to the album and clearly a “this could be us, but you playin” song. “Needy” states that she may be a little broken, but she wants you to know she is loyal and lovable. It captures the anxieties of any new relationship perfectly: love me, but don’t. Ari shows she is soft, but tough, and working hard on her self-worth. She’s dropped her Louie luggage at the door, but she may still keep the tote—so like deal.

Kate: The album starts off with “imagine”...wow. Okay. I can feel this. There's some early Mariah Carey vibes as Meghan pointed out in our last review of Ari. “Needy” comes next and damn, I'm digging this too? What is happening! Does this have some Mac influence? Yes? No i’m asking. Unfortunately, I only got turned onto Mac more recently but i liked what I heard. And this sounds like that. As far as the lyrics go...damn do I relate to this haha. I am needy as fuck, but sometimes I think people like it lol.

KB: She then follows it up with the opposite feeling, because girls.

Kate: Next track is “NASA” and hahah yes. she’s moved from “can’t live without u” vibes to “back TF off” in one song. And yet I feel like every girl in manhattan can relate

KB: “NASA”. If anyone has learned about boundaries lately—it’s Ari. This for sure to be a hit anthem is all about needing space and self-care. So much space, that she compares her love interest to NASA. Explaining very clearly with lyrics like “Baby, I can't really miss you if I'm with you” and “Usually I would love it if you stay the night // I just think I'm on another page tonight”.

Kate: Yeah like … ilu but i need to go do me real quick. For me, “doing me” is watching trash tv and eating popcorn for dinner. But every girl has their thing haha.

KB: “Bloodline”, a ponytail swaying anthem that captures dating perfectly in 2019. Like, this isn’t that serious dude, not trying to get you in my bloodline. Girls can be fuck boys too…and Ari is about it.

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Kate: “Bloodline” had some Rihanna vibes, I could dig it.

KB: “Fake smile”, “bad idea” and “make up” are all solid additions in their own way. This trio acts as an arch on the album. Obviously revealing the rocky part of summer 2018. Which can clearly be seen in the progression of the sassy downward spiral song titles themselves.

Kate: “Fake smile”—yes, yes. Love this change up! Love the sound bite in the beginning. Love the catchy chorus. They’re simple lyrics, but I kind of appreciate the honesty. Like it feels genuine here.

Then “bad idea” came along and oh no no. No thank u, next (I’ve been waiting to say that since I started reviewing this). Too much high-charged barbie energy and that weird theatrical breakdown at 3:30 didn’t salvage it, it kinda made it worse.

She gets me back into it with “make up”. I am hating how much I am relating to all these lyrics haha. “My energy and attitude don't really coincide//I'm stayin' mad all day so we can let it out tonight//Bring you to the bed where we can really make it right” Past Kate can feel these words FOR SURE. Not the most healthy way to live your life though. I’ve since found a man who I think it’s actually physically impossible to make mad ever (BLESSED).

KB: But all good things must come to an end. Cue, “ghostin”, “in my head”, and “7 rings”. She was sad, then she got real clear on how she felt. The savageness of “7 rings” alone is a blessing to the girl world alone.

Kate: “Ghostin” and “in my head”—they kind of blended together for me. But not bad. Then “7 rings” - hahaha oh no! What is this? Julie Andrews is shaking her head. Please NO. Didn’t Lil Mama already do this shit anyway?

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KB: But then she hit the end of her rope and writes a song that even Taylor Swift would say daaamn girl. “Thank u, next” has and had every girl screaming “I’m so grateful for my ex” like they know their ex can hear them.

Kate: The moment we’ve all been waiting for—“thank u, next”. Haha uh, yeah. Fuck yeah. I already reviewed this song. You can read my thoughts on it here.

The album closes out with “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored”. This may be controversial...but i don’t think this needed to be on the album. It’s the weakest link. Especially after following “thank u, next”.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad song! It just doesn’t add much. It’s kind of like she just wanted to say, okay i sang “thank u, next” now here’s me literally trying to get my next. It goes against the whole “i’m into me, i’m focusing on myself” sorta message of the song before. So I’m not about it. “I want you and i haven’t even met you.” that’s not exactly dating yourself lady.

KB: After she nexted her ex, Ari put on her glittery cat ears and went on the single girl prowl with “Break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored”. A very unapologetic “I had you first” song. Break up with your girlfriend will have you twirling your hair texting your ex and not giving a fuck.

Kate: I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t take the time to listen to new albums from artists that I’ve otherwise written off. But I think this is Ariana’s best album by far.

KB: I give this album 5 out of 5 ponytails, and can’t wait to causally sing these savage songs around my next victim, I mean ex. Thank u. next.

 
 
Sean Maldjian