Ariana Grande has reminded the world of what she is capable of — releasing a pop song that breaks all barriers.
Just 30 minutes before the Nov. 3 Saturday Night Live episode, Grande surprise-dropped “Thank U, Next” on streaming services worldwide. She first teased the single with an array of tweets after comedian Pete Davidson discussed his failed engagement to Grande on national television.
During a promotional video for the upcoming episode of SNL posted to YouTube on Nov. 1, Davidson asked for musical guest Maggie Rogers’ hand in marriage.
“Hey Maggie, I’m Pete. You wanna get married?” Davidson jokingly proposed.
Rogers quickly shot down the comedian’s advance, prompting Davidson to reference his past failed attempts at love.
Grande, however, didn’t find the joke at the expense of their split the least bit funny. Grande took to Twitter Thursday shortly after the SNL promo video was published to throw some of her own shade.
“For somebody who claims to hate relevancy u sure love clinging to it huh,” she tweeted, followed by other tweets that seemed to be aimed at Davidson, including “thank u, next.”
The tweets have since been deleted.
The title track of the album as the lead single for her forthcoming 5th album, “Thank U, Next” is under four minutes long, but accomplishes so much.
“Thank U, Next,” debuted at No. 1, surpassing the Iggy Azalea collaboration “Problem” to become the highest-charting song of Grande’s career.
As Billboard reports, the song earned over 55.5 million streams in the United States as well as 81,000 downloads. It’s the first song by a female artist to debut at No. 1 since Adele’s “Hello” in 2015.
The song mentions four of Grande’s famous exes, including Mac Miller and Pete Davidson. Some might say “Thank U, Next” is a diss track in disguise, taking jabs at her previous relationships. But “Thank U, Next” is more than that.
The song starts off with the verse: “Thought I’d end up with Sean/But he wasn’t a match/Wrote some songs about Ricky/Now I listen and laugh/Even almost got married/And for Pete, I’m so thankful/Wish I could say, ‘Thank you’ to Malcolm/’Cause he was an angel.”
Grande begins by listing off her exes: Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez, Pete Davidson, who she was engaged to earlier this year, and the late Mac Miller whose death shocked the world. These imperfect men have taught her important lessons of relationships, which have ultimately helped her grow as a person.
One line that stands out is “Wish I could say, ‘Thank you’ to Malcolm ’Cause he was an angel,” since Grande and Miller ended their two-year relationship and broke up in May 2018. Even after breaking up, they decided to remain friends.
Mac Miller died on Sept. 7, 2018, from a drug overdose of fentanyl and cocaine.
Fans took to the internet to harass Grande, blaming her for the Pittsburgh rapper’s untimely death.
The pre-chorus, “One taught me love, one taught me patience, and one taught me pain” took the internet by surprise, raising the question: Who taught Ariana Grande pain? The pre-chorus also gave birth to a new meme format, the “love, patience and pain’” meme, which takes Grande’s lyrics about her ex-boyfriends and applies them to all manner of pop culture oddities.
The song then shifts focus by teasing listeners with a possible new lover — herself.
“Plus, I met someone else/We havin’ better discussions/I know they say I move on too fast/But this one gon’ last/’Cause her name is Ari/And I’m so good with that (So good with that)/She taught me love (Love)/She taught me patience (Patience)/How she handles pain (Pain)/That shit’s amazing (Yeah, she’s amazing)/I’ve loved and I’ve lost (Yeah, yeah)/But that’s not what I see (Yeah, yeah)/’Cause look what I’ve found (Yeah, yeah)/Ain’t no need for searching, and for that, I say.”
Overall, the message of “Thank U, Next” is that she has loved, lost and learned as we all have — and all her former relationships have taught her lessons to carry into future relationships. An eloquent display of inner strength and incisive self-awareness, “Thank U, Next” embraces the mindset rarely granted to past loved ones. The high road is not always the easiest path, but Grande offers to lead us there by her own example.