Thank U, Next is the perfect follow up to Sweetener, as Ariana Grande crashes back to reality and is forced to find new ways to cope.
Grande has pulled her support system in on this one, with songs featuring a voicemail from her best friend Doug Middlebrook, a quote from drag star Shangela, and some musings on satisfaction from Grande's grandmother.
And it's no wonder, as she's opened up even more than on Sweetener.
On the heartbreakingly beautiful Ghostin, she admits her love for Mac Miller came between her and Pete Davidson and on In My Head she seems to admit she turned Davidson into something she wanted him to be and it was never going to work. On Imagine she reminisces on what could've been with Miller, and on Needy and Fake Smile she gets real about how much she's really been struggling.
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But despite all the pain, Thank U, Next remains gloriously upbeat, filled with heavy trap beats and hip-hop braggadocio. Bangers like 7 Rings, Break Up With Your Girlfriend, and Bad Idea are about sex and money, but they also speak of ways of coping - even if it is via retail therapy or casual sex.
The arrangement of ballads versus bangers prevents the album from flowing as well as it could, but that's about the only criticism here.
Thank U, Next is an exercise in honesty, vulnerability and healing, told with some beautifully controlled vocals, hip-hop swagger and admirable resilience.
Ariana Grande, Thank U Next
Artist: Ariana Grande
Album: Thank U, Next
Label: Universal Music
Verdict: A raw response to real life, told with huge talent and perfect balance.