Since its release in early November, Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” has been (rightfully) celebrated both critically and commercially. It hit No. 1 a few weeks later, and it’s also been named one of the best songs of the year by a few different publications. What makes it so endearing is its upbeat and downright zen approach to heartbreak and trauma; “I’m so fucking grateful for my ex,” Ari’s refrain goes, nodding to the fact that every past experience has helped shape who she is today.
In a recent open-hearted Billboard cover story, Grande confirmed that the single is the title track from her next album, which is essentially done and ready to be launched into the world soon. Will it all be as clear-eyed as “Thank U, Next?” According to Ari herself, don’t bet on it.
“Imagine,” her presumed next single, is due out Thursday night, she tweeted. It’ll be yet another piece of music from an already much-celebrated body of work in 2018, including Sweetener, one of MTV News’s albums of the year. Then she went further in detail about how it’s essentially the corresponding denial to the acceptance found in “Thank U, Next.”
“A lot of this album mourns failed yet important, beautiful relationships in my life (as well as celebrates growth / exploring new independence,” she drafted in an unsent tweet, preserved by fans. “I look forward to you hearing it and having your own experience with it.”
“It’s just feelings really,” she concluded. That, mixed with the “feminine energy and champagne and music and laughter and crying” that Ari described in the Billboard piece, is shaping up Thank U, Next to be a continuation and an evolution of an artist who’s at the absolute top of her game, making the music she wants to make in her moment. And we can’t wait to hear it.
In the meantime, relive Ari’s most recent performance of the title track below.