Thank You, Next: Ariana Grande Makes a Powerful Comeback

Angela Orlando, Entertainment Editor

Following a rough year of both personal and professional tragedies, pop artist Ariana Grande has transformed her struggles into an ode to positivity and growth. In her hit single “thank u, next,” which has since broken tens of records for both song and video, Grande comes to the conclusion that some things simply don’t turn out the way she hopes for, but they can’t keep her down forever. Fans and critics alike have praised the song for its unprecedented revelation in self-growth and optimistic reasoning. Rolling Stone applauds Grande for documenting the “fifth stage of grief”—acceptance—within the lyrics, as opposed to solely voicing her pain after enduring such tragic losses.

This past May marked one year since the mournful Manchester Arena bombing that took place following of Ariana’s concerts. The event claimed many lives and brought suffering upon the families of victims, to which Grande responded by organizing a benefit concert on behalf of compensating for their loss. A few months later, after wrestling with fame and addiction, Grande’s ex-boyfriend and rapper Mac Miller sadly passed, an event which ultimately sent her into a period of reflection. While her life was seemingly on an upward trajectory toward the beginning of the year, having already released her top-selling album “Sweetener” to the masses and quickly getting engaged to comedian Pete Davidson, Ariana was aware that her pain, alongside her successes, needed to be addressed.

The result of this realization was “thank u, next,” a culmination of Ariana’s strengths as well as her weaknesses, which she claims are realistically unavoidable. For instance, she jokes about the chances of her future marriage failing, poking fun at her unlucky engagement that abruptly ended earlier this year. Ariana goes on to discuss how she has “met someone else,” at first causing listeners to perhaps roll their eyes at the mention of a new relationship, then says that “her name is Ari,” meaning that she has instead chosen to focus on her relationship with herself. The entire composition exudes messages of self-care and ability to acknowledge past struggles as learning opportunities for the future.

Following the release of the critically-acclaimed hit and its positive feedback, Ariana dropped the “thank u, next” music video this week. The video quickly surpassed 50 million views in its 24-hour debut, breaking YouTube’s record for such an achievement. The video creatively features references from four iconic female empowerment films circa early-2000s, including Mean Girls, Bring it On, Legally Blonde, and 13 Going on 30. Grande and her team recreate the most recognizable scenes and additionally feature cameos from the films’ actors.

As shown by her upbeat approach to entering this new stage in her career, Grande has embodied the type of personal development that we all strive for. Her album, also named “thank u, next,” is expected to be released later this month.