Thank u Ariana, next review please

Breaking up with this album, I’m bored.


Jahlea Douglas

GENESIS staff writer Junior Jenaro Delprete is a first year reporter at Elkhart Memorial High School. He specializes in music and reviews.

Jenaro DelPrete, Staff Writer

Ariana Grande’s fifth studio titled, “thank u, next” was released by Republic Records Feb. 8. Being her most hyped album of her entire discography, it was expected to hit critical acclaim and praise, especially in  light of her recent Grammy win for “Best Pop Vocal Album” for her last project titled “Sweetener.”

Coming in at a strong 41 minutes, these 12 tracks create a fierce physical embodiment of exactly what a 2019 independent woman on Twitter wants to be.

This album opens up with the song “imagine,” a track that brings a cold and cut-dry introduction to what’s going to be one of the biggest pop albums of the year. This self-aware composition creates a witty and airy atmosphere with  soft and soaring vocals, orchestral parts mixed in with the snappy 808s.

Possibly referring to her relationship with Mac Miller as well, this track really does give listeners some insight into what the album has in store for us. While it’s no anthem for someone’s summer love, it solidifies Ariana’s place in dream pop culture.

Skipping a few tracks to save time, the next real killer track I am picking up on is “fake smile.” I enjoyed this easy R&B flavor and the southern trap influence in the latter half of the song. The lyrics on this song definitely make me feel like I am a strong, well-fashioned person who’s got everything going for them. I can definitely see myself rolling around town with the fellas, singing this all the way to Sephora.

“Bad idea” also sticks out to me, not because of its musical endeavors, but mostly for the backing vocal samples. The smooth “yeah!” in the back, it throws me for a loop every time.

I enjoy the production of the album. I think a lot of the instrumentals are done well. I cannot really say that it’s not a technically proficient LP because there is a lot going on here that it is kinda hard to analyze.

I can see Ariana’s direct influences here in a few tracks. “Bad idea” is definitely tacking onto the Lil Peep style suburban trap: guitar leads, soft vocals, hard and trill Roland electronics. She’s got a lot of dream pop going for her, with a light PC music type thing as well. This album is nostalgic and vibrant, evoking the soft center on some songs while other tunes bring out the baddie in me.

But, every rose has its thorn. Unfortunately, I think this album has a lot of thorns on it; from the lyrics, to the aesthetic, Twitter presence, and production.

I am just going to get this one out of the way because it needs to be said. This album is the equivalent to a toxic person wiggling into your life. I mean, with songs like “Break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored,” you cannot avoid the comparisons to this. I am not trying to be the bad guy here, but the whole shtick of being a “baddie” and trying to make the whole world believe that you are a femme fatale is kind of overdone and overt here.

Sure, Ariana has been the director of some real musical feats in her life and that is something that is really amazing for her, but this whole culture created around music like hers and other artists like Cardi B and others, it is silly.

I am all for empowering women and creating a culture of equality, but I cannot help but feel like all of this is just for single girl’s Twitter accounts.

Furthering on from that, Ariana does not hesitate to rely on repetitive lyrics and what I like to call “buzzwords.” I mean, “I want it, I got it” is a great line, but being repeated  throughout the entirety of a song, it loses its effect. We know Ariana is a great lyricist, her earlier work had some of the most tasteful pop songs in the industry at the time. I wish she used some of that for this album. This album is great for one liners and quotes, but as far as anything below surface level lyrics, I do not see how anyone could pull those out.

My last real complaint is going to be about the production of this album. I think it was really well done, as far as musical ability and quality. But my main gripe is the lack of diversity and the overt rips from other artists. Besides like maybe two tracks, I can hardly tell these apart. The vocal delivery is essentially the same. Basic songwriting sticking with the whole “verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus” until it is beat like a dead horse, I expected more. A lot of these songs also sound like they are not just influenced by other artists but rather pretty much ripped directly from that artist’s B-sides track listing.

While I do not hate this album, I am just not impressed. I expected more out of this overhyped album, I wanted this to truly be a real pop anthem album of the year, but I was met with a lackluster breakup album that sounds like it might be more relevant in like 2012.

This album had a few solid songs, well done musical compositions, and enjoyable catchy tunes. But with all my gripes, I am gonna have to give this album a 5.5 out of 10. Thank you Ariana, next.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the GENESIS staff. Reach Jenaro DelPrete at [email protected].