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Ariana Grande's "thank u, next" Is overrated (opinion)

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"A personal entry yet a stereotype record."

(five minutes read)

2019 was such a year for Ariana Grande. Just less than a year after dropping her fourth studio album, Sweetener, she already made a follow up record with thank u, next, released on February 8, 2019, pursuing the opportunity of her relevance in music industry.

The record saw commercial success, breaking various streaming records and ranked as one of the biggest album released that year. It also claimed great critic reviews citing it's cohesiveness in production and songwriting. For which in some points, I disagree.

thank u, next is widely influenced by trap, hip-hop and r&b genres and in some extent, a subtle touch of pop. And that's what this record's biggest issue. The production of some tracks are too cohesive, making them unadventurous and almost monotonous. 

Take make up as an example, the syths from beginning to end are just repeatedly engineered, and adding some extra beats and backdrops in choruses don't helped either with it's redundant chorus. And ghostin', the eerie sirenhead-like hums from the first verse could drive you into a hazy state. At least the instrumentals that build up after the first chorus is a good redeemer of the track.

thank u, next's forwardness is one of the record's asset, and also it's greatest flaw. Some tracks are too realistic-ly delivered in most unfashioned and uncanny ways, making the potential imageries invalidated. And that's how the fake smile's bridge demonstrated the swagg-y but yet awkward choice of words:

If I'm hurt, I ain't gon' lie about it 
Arms crossed with the attitude, lips pouted
If I'm mad, I ain't gon' lie about it 
Neck roll with the attitude, yeah

And make up's most uninspiring chorus as possible:

I love it when we make up (Yeah-eh-eh)
Go 'head, ruin my makeup (Yeah-eh-eh)
I love it when we make up (Yeah-eh-eh)
Go 'head, ruin my makeup (Yeah-eh-eh)

The redundancy of the chorus shouldn't be an issue with any song if the producer knows how to add/introduce synths, instruments and vocal backdrop or switch the beats to make the chorus sounds new or occupied than the verses. Proper dynamics will save any song though the songwriting is a letdown. 

And that's where 7 rings, imagine, NASA and bloodline excel. Yet these tracks have the similar production but the dynamics between the verses and choruses are quite distinguished. And though bad idea and in my head have the monotonous syths, the vocal stunts Grande projected in these tracks are well enough to save them.

In all, thank u, next is still a pretty solid record in Grande's discography. However, it is almost a trap-stereotype that doesn't give it's wing to explore and experiment with a more pop sound she established in her previous works. The production and songwriting are also not exceptional to even best some of the experimental records other artists or even hers have done.

These are just my thoughts, and I never think the record does not deserve it's recognitions. It's just I think critics and public ratings have always been unfair and exaggerating at times.


Edited by Urbanney
🏅 Featured! -Urbanney
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6 minutes ago, Stefani said:

I loathe that album because it overshadowed Sweetener, which I believe is the better album of the two.

I Said What I Said GIFs | Tenor

Totally agree. I definitely adore Sweetener, and one of those records I could bare to listen to for straight week. Though it is not well received by the public and her fans, I still think it's her strongest work she'd ever put out and even one of the best album by pop perspective. 

thank u, next has became a meh record for me just like two months of listening. It isn't bad at all, but there's nothing really genuinely remarkable about it.

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thank u, next is the first CD I ever bought and I do NOT regret it. That album, while lacking in some areas, is a beautiful body of work and is extremely impressive considering it was made in only two weeks. I relate to almost every song on it and I think it deserves the attention it got. A PHENOMENAL follow-up to sweetener for SURE!

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2 minutes ago, ColdAsFire88 said:

You are entitled to your opinion but I enjoyed it and still bump to it. It was one of my favs from 2019 :cheersney: People can hate on it but its the start of Ari’s peak and reign :ari:

I have my reasons and if you'll read thoroughly, there's no hate intended towards Grande or her so called peak era. I enjoyed the record but probably not like those I would listen regularly. 

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I literally did this when I saw the headline on the homepage :didilie:

Could not disagree more. It was my favorite album of 2019 and I still play it frequently. 

She had SUCH such such a difficult year in the spotlight. She hid away to process everything and channel it into TU,N. I'm very grateful for that. 

However, despite me disagreeing, I do have mad respect that you wrote all that out and I can tell a lot of thought and time went into this. Huge props for that @Albert Aspera

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My expectations about that album were quite low, mainly because of it being ‘rushed’ and because of how much of a mess ‘Sweetener’ was (apart from the glorious singles, R.E.M. and Good night n Go). 
Once I heard it, I was impressed. Unlike your thoughts, ‘Thank U, Next’ and ‘7 Rings’ are more memes than songs to me. The rest of the album though :comingthru_miss_ny_new_york_pollard_tiffany_walk_runway_hair:

 Bangers like ‘Bloodline’ and ‘Bad Idea’. Bops like ‘NASA’ and ‘BUWYGIB’. Heartfelt songs like ‘Ghostin’ and ‘In My Head’. And her ever impecable vocals shining in ‘Imagine’. 
So no, not overrated in my eyes at all. :nopingout:

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