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Ariana Grande - thank u, next (Album Review)

Wednesday, 13 February 2019 Written by Jacob Brookman

Five months after ‘Sweetener’, comes ‘thank u, next’, Ariana Grande’s fifth studio record. It is a detailed and emotional collection of modern pop that speaks candidly on an intense, life-changing two years for the singer.

In 2017 a terrorist attack occurred at one of her gigs in Manchester, and 23 fans were murdered. After that, the singer took some time off, broke up with rapper Mac Miller and got engaged to the American comedian Pete Davidson. Then, shortly after Miller's death from a drug overdose, the engagement was called off.

As an artist who lives much of her life on Instagram, the social media melee of these events must have been overwhelming. And Grande has got in front of this potentially stifling maelstrom by satirising her own fans in the video to the album’s title track.

It’s a bold turn from an singer who has rightly employed a delicate lyrical approach to genuine trauma. And for the most part, ‘thank u, next’ handles this balance well.

7 rings details retail therapy after a breakup—which might feel a little shallow were it not for the wider context—while needy is a candid investigation into that particular emotional state: “You can go ahead and call me selfish / But after all this damage, I can’t help it.”

While Grande is a singer who talks about millennial narcissism with disarming directness, one can’t help but feel there is something more interesting to be found here. Such a fixation with the id is quite exhausting.

But then again, maybe the tone is exactly right; a return to poised pop that rewards fans who see themselves in the same way, and/or who identify completely with Grande. The record's longevity will likely tell on that one, but in the meantime, it is good to see her consistently making music again. People have quit over less.

Ariana Grande Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat August 17 2019 - LONDON O2 Arena
Mon August 19 2019 - LONDON O2 Arena
Tue August 20 2019 - LONDON O2 Arena
Sat September 14 2019 - BIRMINGHAM Arena Birmingham
Sun September 15 2019 - BIRMINGHAM Arena Birmingham
Tue September 17 2019 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro
Thu September 19 2019 - SHEFFIELD FlyDSA Arena
Sun September 22 2019 - DUBLIN 3Arena
Mon September 23 2019 - DUBLIN 3Arena

Click here to compare & buy Ariana Grande Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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