ARTIST OF THE MONTH: ARIANA GRANDE
Nickelodeon alum Ariana Grande, who can leap three octaves in a single breath, became radio’s biggest female star. But "Thank U, Next" Grande’s fifth album, from a world-beater who was fresh off two singles debuting at No. 1, and sat out the Grammys and hit No. 1 on the charts in the same weekend. The album was released on February 8, 2019, via Republic Records and only six months after August 2018’s album "Sweetener." It’s a maverick move; the usual pop formula is to produce a blockbuster album, milk it with singles and tours, then lie low for a while to avoid overexposure
The album’s three best-known songs surprisingly occupy the last three places on the record. The second single from the album "7 rings’ borrows the melody from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘My Favourite Things, and the song’s embrace of super-stardom and materialism is oddly aggressive. It’s also difficult to hear Grande reflect on the title track, then close with "break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored," a saucy meme expanded into a song. Because the singles are pushed to the end of the record, the album tracks have plenty of chance to shine and the standard’s high. "Bloodline" finds an infectious groove that’s halfway between reggae and pop. The low-key electric piano and elegant melody of "Needy" recalls Stevie Wonder’s 1970s prime, while also Grande sounds great on the stripped-down moments of "Imagine."
The production is a highlight on this album, just as it was on her last, with her voice still sounding absolutely incredible. "Thank U, Next" is a flawed but often excellent record – when you consider that "Sweetener" was only released six months earlier, Grande has produced a lot of great music – combine the best songs from the two projects. There’s an all-time spectacular pop record. Grande’s still only 25. There are and hopes yet to reach the peak of her potential.