Review: thank u, next by Ariana Grande

thank u, next by Ariana GrandeHere I am again, confronted by the premise that I’m really just not cut out for reviewing pop records. You see, I don’t like Ariana Grande’s thank u, next. I tried, though. I tried to understand what it’s for, considering it’s released just five months after Sweetener. The two albums are intrinsically connected, not least through the continuity of narrative: the former sees a respite, apparently temporary; the latter, an outright rebirth, embracing themes of self-care and independence without being an asshole about it, as other similarly-themed albums with their “fuck you” demeanor tend to be. thank u, next definitely has its highlights: the fluttering title track, the affecting “Imagine”, the playful “NASA”. But then, perhaps it really is just me. I’ve said a few posts ago that my musical preferences are arguably too white, and so I’m not predisposed to the sounds coming from the urban sphere. To me it all sounds generic, and the middle bit of the album, as much as it has something significant to say, feels all too generic to me, trying too hard, perhaps. More credible critics seem to like it, though, but then the focus is on the narrative. That, and they’re more predisposed to understand these trends more than I do. I wanted so hard to like thank u, next, but I was irritated by the time the surprisingly throwaway “7 Rings” came on. But does it matter? This album, as much as we want it to be for us, is really for Ariana. [NB]3/5

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