By Jamie Lewis (‘19)
On November 3, pop star Ariana Grande shook the country with a surprise single titled “Thank U, Next”, which remained #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for three consecutive weeks.
Grande released her song shortly after breaking off her engagement with SNL comedian Pete Davidson in October. Davidson is even mentioned in the first verse of the single where Grande says she is “thankful” for their brief relationship.
Rather than focusing on the past, Grande moves on from her previous relationships and shows the world that valuable lessons can be learned from moving on. Grande also teaches her listeners to be grateful for their friends and family, in addition to the obstacles they have overcome.
“Thank U, Next” is not the typical break-up song that is played on the radio. Rather than focusing on the people Grande has dated, she focuses on her self-taught lessons: love, patience, and pain.
Senior Steven Sitarik commented on how Ariana Grande’s music has changed his day-to-day outlook on artists’ messages.
Sitarik said, “Well, unlike a lot of popular mainstream break-up songs, this song focuses on everything you can take away from it, not just the negatives, but also the positives too. Instead of having the ‘glass half empty’ mindset about a break-up, Ariana Grande focuses on a ‘glass half full’ perspective, and what she’s learned and what she’ll take away from the relationships.”
Artists often ignore self-healing and appreciation, so Grande is one of the first musicians to break the ice and create conversation on how to live a healthy, happy life.
Over the past two years, Grande has opened up about her own mental health situation. She experienced a terrorist attack during her concert in Manchester back in May of 2017 where twenty-two of her fans were killed.
Then, on September 7 of the next year, Grande’s ex-boyfriend Mac Miller passed away after a drug overdose, and many people blamed Grande for his death. Soon after Miller’s passing, Grande broke off her engagement with Pete Davidson in October.
For the past year-and-a-half, Grande struggled with severe PTSD, anxiety, and depression, and even needed to take a brief break from the public eye in order to heal. Grande no longer wanted to hide her pain in order to relate to her fans’ inner pain, no matter the situation.
Senior Simran Amin described her deep connection to Ariana Grande and explained what her music and messages have done for her.
Amin said, “I’ve watched Ariana Grande while growing up and I feel like I have grown with her. I felt deeply impacted by the events in Manchester, and I understand that it is difficult to find happiness after such a tragedy. Ariana showed me that I can persevere, even on the worst of days, and I can push to be the best me possible.”
Grande has given students at South Brunswick High School the chance to see their silver lining through “Thank U, Next”, in addition to her new album Sweetener.
“Thank U, Next” has given her followers the opportunity to see how amazing life could be if everyone held onto their hope and surrounded themselves with the love and support they need.