“Thank U, Next” — a phrase I’ve seen captioned on at least ten selfies on Instagram since the release of Ariana Grande’s latest single of the same title. Released Saturday, Nov. 3, Ariana’s new tune chronicles her past relationships in one epic breakup song.
The song, which is an undeniably catchy bop, opens with Ariana namedropping her past four exes: Sean, Ricky, Pete and Malcolm. Big Sean and Ricky Alvarez are not the focus in the public eye — after the events that have transpired over the past month, Ariana’s comments about Pete Davidson and Mac Miller have the tabloids and Twitter going crazy. Ariana Grande recently ended her very public engagement with comedian Pete Davidson. Coincidentally, or maybe purposefully, “Thank U, Next” was made public just a half hour before Davidson appeared on Saturday Night Live. Talk about the song immediately took over all social media, many empathizing with Ariana’s acknowledgment of the recently passed musician, Mac Miller.
What I found so special about this song is that it is not about slandering or embarrassing her past boyfriends. Instead, Ariana thanks her exes for teaching her about life. From love, patience and pain, Ariana has learned and grown. Even more powerful is what Ariana calls her new relationship — one with herself that’s going to last.
Both of the messages Ariana explores in “Thank U, Next” are socially relevant. In our current “cancel” culture, where large bases of people completely hate on and “cancel” public figures for whatever unpopular action they take, it is refreshing to hear the star explain how she has learned from her past, even from those that have wronged her. In particular, “Thank U, Next” seems to have taken a lot of the breakup hate off of Pete Davidson (though he has recently been criticized for making an insensitive joke about wounded veterans on Saturday Night Live, but Ari can’t help him there). Even more, Ariana’s message of self-love and owning your past is one everyone needs to hear — it is okay to have made mistakes as long as you keep moving forward and grow as a person!
Compared to breakup songs from other pop stars, like Taylor Swift, “Thank U, Next” is un-targeted, not revengeful and classy. This song is Ariana’s way of closing a chapter in her life and optimistically moving on to better things, something we could all take inspiration from.
If nothing else, Ariana Grande got one thing totally right: the song is a smash.
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