This week: “thank u, next” by Ariana Grande (Republic Records, 2018)
Why we’re into it: Beyond being one of the most beloved tracks of the week, Grande’s breakup song is the perfect sendoff to the Republican-controlled House and this news-drenched week.
A surprise drop last weekend, “thank u, next” is Ariana’s letter to herself—about growth, regret, and moving onto bigger and better things.
Here’s the soapy backstory: Grande recently split from her fiancé, Saturday Night Live‘s Pete Davidson, who later joked about the failed engagement, prompting tweets from Grande that, in turn, alerted fans to an upcoming album; its lead single, “thank u, next,” was then released an hour before Davidson’s appearance on SNL on Saturday night. Ouch.
But enough drama—let’s get to the song. Grande opens with a bang, offering intimate details by way of naming her exes. But instead of calling them out for their bad deeds like oh-so-many tired breakup songs before her, she offers gratitude and self-affirmation: “Even almost got married/And for Pete, I’m so thankful.”
The pre-chorus starts with the lyrics, “One taught me love/One taught me patience/And one taught me pain” against a relaxed beat. Rather than indulging in a revenge fantasy, Grande soars above it all. Then she puts herself centerstage: “She taught me love/She taught me patience/How she handles pain.” Grande closes the tune with, “I’m so fuckin’ grateful for my ex/Thank you, next.”
On full display here is Grande’s vocal command, which infuses even her poppiest tracks with emotional clarity and depth. If her upcoming album—the second in under a year—is anything like this track, there’s a lot to look forward to.
And, to top it all off, the song became a viral hit, launching the internet into full-blown meme mode:
One taught me love, one taught me patience, and one taught me pain. Now I’m so amazing. pic.twitter.com/Sz19khGZjm
— Ryan Bloomquist (@ryanbloomquist) November 4, 2018
One taught me love. One taught my patience. One taught me pain. pic.twitter.com/1gBQTcM3R4
— Joe (@JoePassmore) November 5, 2018
one taught me love, one taught me patience, one taught me pain pic.twitter.com/A1eDnh0q2r
— miss acacia (@jessfilippo) November 7, 2018