REVIEW: Ariana Grande drops fifth studio album and new music video


Emma Sheehan - CC BY 2.0

Ariana Grande performs at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire on Feb. 19, 2017. Grande releases her new album ‘thank u, next” just six months after her previous album “Sweetener.”

Storm Ray, News editor

Pop sensation Ariana Grande dropped her fifth studio album ‘thank u, next” on Friday and I just about lost my mind.

Not only does Grande give us her heavenly vocals on this full-length album, but she also put out a brand new video for her song “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored.”

The realness and vulnerability shines through on this song as she sings about wanting a guy to break up with his girlfriend, who strongly resembles Grande.

The album features her newest single, “7 ringz”, which is currently number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 for its second week in a row.

“thank u, next” comes only six months after the release of her fourth studio album, “Sweetener.”

After winning Billboard’s 2018 Woman of the Year award, Grande is making it known that moving forward, her number one priority is herself.

After receiving a standing ovation from the audience, she said during her acceptance speech that 2018 has been a good one for her professionally.

“I find it interesting that this has been one of the best years of my career and the worst of my life,” she said.

Grande was referring to the fatal overdose of her ex-boyfriend and rapper Mac Miller, along with her failed engagement to comedian Pete Davidson, both which happened in 2018.

It’s no secret that Grande has been through some rough patches in the last couple of years, which have ultimately made her stronger. But her commitment to being honest with herself and her fans shines through on this album.

I love some songs and I don’t love others, but I can honestly say that this album is not one to be missed. Here are 12 reasons why.


“Imagine” is the first song on the album but the second single released before the album, starting off the album slow and steady. Grande mentions imagining a world where she and her lover can finally act like regular people.

This yearning ballad that clues listeners in about what it feels like to be normal in a chaotic world, is a great way to give the record a longing feeling. At about three and a half minutes, “Imagine” showcases Grande’s true talent through her unbelievable high-pitched tones.


Another song with a gentle beat and smooth vocals, “needy” is Grande telling her fans that she needs a lot of attention and isn’t ashamed of it.

As she croons about loving too hard and being needy, Grande continues through this song with airy vocals and a beat that reminds me of a Broadway musical.

This song is the perfect example of how Grande showcases her vulnerability to her fans and I love how genuine she is on this track.


When I originally saw the title of this song, I was not only instantly baffled, I was curious as to how Grande was going to make a song about NASA sound appealing. But she did.

Despite the fact that the previous song describes how much attention she needs, she follows it with this track expressing her need for space from her partner. Even with a more sullen message, she still was able to make the song upbeat and catchy. Who knew a song named after a space agency would make you want to dance?


The intro to this song is Grande’s grandmother Marjorie Grande, who she refers to as “Nona,” who says, “Because I’m trying to do the best I can. And they can’t find something to satisfy me. Look,” followed by a giggle from Grande.

Grande’s grandmother’s intro couldn’t be more appropriate considering the song is called “bloodline.”

When I heard this song, it made me want to go for a run. Now you can interpret that as you may, but for me, anything that makes me want to get up and move gets a yes from me. And this track is true pop gold.

Grande is making it clear that she doesn’t want this person in her “bloodline”, meaning that she isn’t looking to get married or make this person a part of her family anytime soon. She is most likely referring to her most recent ex-boyfriend, Pete Davidson, who she got engaged to after just a few weeks of dating.

This song is fun and upbeat, with a carefree mantra that gives it just what it needs.

fake smile

The first five seconds of this song immediately hooked me with its strong R&B vibes. But once I listened further, this song really got to my heart.

Grande is talking about how much she’s been through and how tired she is of always putting on a “fake smile.” Being in the spotlight constantly means always trying to show the world your good side, which I’ve watched Grande do over the past few years.

Grande has always tried to stay positive in times of struggle and carry herself with class in the eyes of the world.

For anyone who has ever put on a fake smile, this song reassures them that sometimes it’s OK to not be OK.

bad idea

Something about this track screams “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” The fast pace of the tempo and the beat makes me feel like I’m in a spy movie running through busy city streets.

Grande’s “bad idea” is an ode to hitting up an old flame and trying to temporarily get a fix. As she croons about not being able to let go, Grande revels in the fact that she shouldn’t even be thinking about this boy in the first place.

make up

I have to say I was not a fan of this song. The underlying beats don’t go together in a way that makes the song flow.

Grande sings about how she picks fights with her lover just so they can make up, which is definitely not the healthiest relationship habit.

As deep as my love runs for Ari, I have to say she could have left this one out.


This one is even worse and something about this song runs chills down my back. While listening to it, I find myself waiting for something exciting like a beat drop or a tempo change, but I never get that.

The song is not only boring and slow, but it doesn’t complement Grande’s vocals in a way that makes me want to keep listening.

in my head

With a spoken word from her “BFF” Doug Middlebrook to open the song, Grande gives fans a little more insight into her dating history.

As she sings about falling in love with someone created by her imagination, she shows her vulnerability in the line, “well, you broke my heart. Said you only wanted half of me.”

When Grande sings, “Yeah, look at you, boy, I invented you,” I immediately felt that in my soul.

The feeling of putting so much work into someone to make them who you want them to be and in the end they leave you. Wow, talk about heartbreak.

Grande opens up about her heartbreak and admits to having blinders on when it comes to love. But ultimately accepts that her lover is meant to be with somebody else.

7 ringz

As her third single off the album before it was released, “7 ringz” is the epitome of what it means to be a bad b**** and I love it.

The verses are a play on the classic musical number “My Favorite Things” originally sung by Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music.

But Grande’s take on this song is much more modern as she sings about her favorite things, highlighted in lyrics like, “breakfast at Tiffany’s and bottles of bubbles, girls with tattoos who like getting in trouble”.

Pretty sure these things wouldn’t have been the most appropriate for Andrews to sing about in front of six small children.

The underlying message of this song and video combination is the result of Grande coming to the conclusion that she has to take back her power and own it.

thank u, next

As the first single to drop from this album, “thank u, next” is hands down the most iconic song on the record, with a video to match. Released only a few weeks after her split from comedian Pete Davidson, Grande dropped this banger and the world went nuts.

RELATED: REVIEW: ‘thank u, next’ is the self-care anthem we all deserve

This song gives strength to all the girls out there who have trash exes. As she personally thanks four of her exes, and calls them out by name, Grande reassures her fans that she is focusing on herself.

She has mastered the art of creating music and videos that portray her growth in a way that empowers women everywhere.

break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored

By the time I got to this song I was scared because I hadn’t found a new favorite yet and I knew this was my last chance. Five seconds into the song, I knew that this was the one that was going to be blaring through my car stereo on repeat for two weeks straight.

Grande feens after another girl’s boyfriend in this song and video, which she released on the same day as the album.

The title alone is enough to draw you in, but once she starts singing, it’s over. The thing I like most about this song is the honesty. It’s not easy to admit that you want another girl’s boyfriend but Grande clearly has no shame, because she’s bored.  

The video shows Grande as she clings to the couple while secretly crushing on the boyfriend. Things take an unexpected turn at the end of the video, but the message is still the same: Grande wants what she can’t have.

Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

This album gets an overall rating of a solid eight from me. Although there were a few songs I didn’t really care for, the ones that I love, I love a lot. Grande’s insane vocal range gave her the opportunity to put so many different types of songs on this album and she did just that.

From her 2013 debut album “Yours Truly” to “thank u, next”, Grande has grown not only as an artist but as a person. The maturity in her voice and her lyrics has changed over the years and she only continues to improve.

As she grows and experiences life, it only makes her music more relatable and real. This album comes after some hard life lessons for Grande, but she confides in her team, her friends and her fans to support her music.

Give this album a listen, you’ll be glad you did.