Grande’s new album, “thank you, next” a success

Move over ladies in the spotlight, Ariana Grande has done it again. For those of you who thought that Ariana Grande’s reign ended in 2016 with her album “Dangerous Woman,” you might want to take a seat.

Grande got her start in Hollywood on the Nickelodeon TV show “Victorious,” where she played the airheaded, though talented, Cat Valentine from 2010 until 2013. In 2011, she was signed to Republic Records and released her first album, “Yours Truly” in 2013. Since her debut album, Grande has released three others, all of which gained the attention of pop fanatics and the Billboards 100 list. Most recently, her songs, “7 rings,” “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored,” and “thank you, next” occupied the top three slots of the Billboard Hot 100, the first artist since the Beatles to achieve this. She is also the only female and solo artist to do so.

Her new album, “thank u, next” is the perfect blend of pop and new, experimental sounds that listeners had yet to hear from Grande.

Her song, “in my head” features what appears to be the ending of a phone conversation, leading into a swelling, punchy beat. The song that follows is a heartbreaking, fast-paced recount of falling in love with the idea of someone, rather than who you’re truly with.

There’s something enticing about an artist who’s constantly experimenting with their sound and doing things that may not be popular, but what they’re interested in. Typically, Grande tends to go for chest voice and more powerful vocals but this album seems to be a bit more subdued with its ethereal, quieter sound.

Her song, “ghostin” is a ballad that features a softer, raspier sound. It opens with what seems to be sound of a warped record, and this continues to be the sole accompaniment until the second verse, when a violin comes in. In the third chorus, a cello is added, creating a swelling, mournful sound as it crescendos into the end of the song.

This song is one that’s soul-aching, heartbreakingly beautiful, which reflects the pain and guilt that accompanies losing a past lover and feeling shame for grieving for them while currently in a relationship. Some speculate that it is about the death of her late ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller, and how she felt about his passing. Despite the slow tempo, it could easily be one of the strongest songs on the album.

The gentle, repetitive backtrack adds to the heart-rending lyrics without pulling too much away from the message of the song. For example, in the chorus, Grande says, “And I’m puttin’ you through more than more one ever should/And I’m hating myself ‘cause you don’t want to/ Admit that it hurts you, baby.” This line tells the audience that though Grande recognizes how harmful her behavior may be to her partner, she can’t help but feel the way she does, and it causes a great deal of anxiety for her.

On the other hand, her song “imagine” seems to be a bit more like what we’ve previously heard from Grande. With stronger vocals, it calls back to some of her previous hits such as “God is a Woman” and “breathin.” However, this song manages to break away from what one might expect with its soaring whistle tones following the bridge.

Over all, the album blends well. Grande is able to tell a cohesive story without making all the songs feel too much alike. Both “in my head” and “fake smile” feature recycled audio clips, creating an interesting parallel between the two. Each song brings a new flavor to this interesting amalgamation of different pop subgenres with tones pulled from R&B, Alternative, and even some indie influences.

Despite not being a fan prior to this album, I was pleasantly surprised. Should Grande’s sound continue to take this form, I’d gladly continue to support her music. While this may be a pop album, it certainly isn’t one we’ve heard before.