No Tears Left to Cry

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"No Tears Left to Cry"
The cover shows Grande's profile with a rainbow light cast across her face.
Single by Ariana Grande
from the album Sweetener
ReleasedApril 20, 2018 (2018-04-20)
  • Max Martin
  • Ilya
Ariana Grande singles chronology
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
"No Tears Left to Cry"
"Dance to This"
Music video
"No Tears Left to Cry" on YouTube

"No Tears Left to Cry" (stylized in all lowercase) is a song by American singer Ariana Grande serving as the lead single for her fourth studio album, Sweetener. Written by Grande, Savan Kotecha and its producers Max Martin and Ilya, it was released by Republic Records as the album's lead single on April 20, 2018, alongside its music video. The song is a dance-pop and disco song with a UK garage beat.

In the United States, "No Tears Left to Cry" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number three, further extending her record as being the only artist to debut in the top ten with the lead single from all of her studio albums. It became her third single to top the US Mainstream Top 40 airplay chart. Internationally, the song has topped the charts in Australia, Hungary, Ireland, Malaysia, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, and Slovakia, while reaching top ten in most other territories including Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, Finland, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The song also won the award for "Best Pop" at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards.

Background and release[edit]

Following the bombing at her concert at Manchester Arena during her Dangerous Woman Tour in 2017, Ariana Grande became reluctant to record new music, preferring to spend time with her loved ones because of the emotional impact the tour had on her.[1] She returned to the studio in late 2017, writing "No Tears Left to Cry" with Savan Kotecha and its producers Max Martin and Ilya.[2][3] Regarding the song, Grande said she hopes it brings light and comfort, "but also makes you wanna dance and live ya best life!"[4]

Variety initially reported on April 9, 2018 that the track would be released on April 27, 2018.[5] Grande began teasing the release on social media on April 15, 2018, using teardrop emojis and the song's title written as "ʎɹɔ oʇ ʇɟǝl sɹɐǝʇ ou".[6] The title appeared on billboards across the US and featured on grey sweatshirts worn on social media by Grande, her half-brother Frankie and then-boyfriend Mac Miller.[7][8] A listening party in London was also held.[9] The song premiered worldwide at midnight ET on April 20, 2018, as the lead single from Grande's upcoming fourth studio album, Sweetener.[10][11][12] The grey sweatshirts were made available for purchase on Grande's website the following day, bundled with a digital copy of the track.[13] In the US, "No Tears Left to Cry" was sent to hot adult contemporary radio stations on April 23, 2018,[14] and to rhythmic contemporary and contemporary hit radio stations the next day.[15][16]


"No Tears Left to Cry" is a dance-pop and disco song with a UK garage beat.[17][18][19] It is composed in the key of A minor using 4
and a tempo of 122 beats per minute. The refrain is based on an Am–G–F–Am–G–F–C–Dm–Am–C chord progression, while the verses follow an A(add2)–F(add2)–G(add2) sequence. Grande's vocal range spans from G3 to G5.[20]

Critical reception[edit]

"No Tears Left to Cry" received praise from music critics upon release.[21][22] Meaghan Garvey of Pitchfork said it is a musical progression for Grande and her vocals surpass those of her peers. According to Garvey, the song is "striking in its optimism: the soundtrack for the exact moment you decide to keep going."[19] Similarly, The Observer deemed it "a dazzling exercise in pop lightness, bringing optimism after last year's Manchester attack."[23] In The Guardian, Laura Snapes gave it four out of five stars, citing it as a "timeless sad song" and akin to Grande's One Love Manchester concert as "one of the most joyful, defiant celebrations of pop and the communities it inspires".[24] Joel Golby, also from The Guardian, found the song expansive and appropriate, complimenting Grande's high notes and unconventional adlibs.[25] Matt Mellis of Consequence of Sound noted Grande's skill in cadence change and a lasting relevancy through hope and resilience.[26]

In NME, Nick Reilly complimented the track's "hugely infectious" chorus,[27] while Hannah Mylrea regarded it as euphoria and concluded, "Tackling hate and devastation with hope and disco, 'No Tears Left to Cry' is a triumph."[28] Matthew Kent of The Line of Best Fit commented, "Ariana is picking it up while we're turning this up", and said she "certainly pulled it out of the bag".[29] Fact gave the track a score of 7.7 out of 10, describing it as "somber but triumphant and even though it includes cringy lyrics... it packs a punch."[30] In his review for Billboard, Andrew Unterberger wrote that the song is "a grower, not to be fully appreciated on first listen."[31] Writing for Variety, Chris Willman called it "the breeziest, most danceable kind of post-traumatic recovery anthem", but said "it's not likely to ever be inducted into the Max Martin Hall of Fame".[32] Spencer Kornhaber, in The Atlantic, called the song "one of the best pure pop singles in memory. ... Grande’s voice curls in surprising ways, from husky to flighty and back. Most glorious are the keyboards: The progressions verge on jazziness, with each chord stabbed out in a manner that evokes someone touching a hot surface. The lyrics describe being all cried out, but the arrangement clearly suggests a flood of tears on the dance floor."[33] In a May 2018 Time magazine cover article, Sam Lansky says of the song:

"Grande made a song about resilience because she has had to be resilient, in ways that are difficult to imagine, after a terrorist detonated a bomb outside her May 22, 2017, concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 people and leaving more than 500 injured. What happened is part of the song, but the song is not about what happened. Instead of being elegiac, it's joyful and lush".[34]

Commercial performance[edit]

North America[edit]

On the US Billboard Hot 100, "No Tears Left to Cry" debuted at number three (barred from the top by the Drake songs “Nice For What” and “God's Plan”) with sales of 100,000 digital downloads sold in its opening week according to Nielsen Music, debuting atop the Billboard Hot Digital Songs becoming Grande's third chart-topper there. The track drew in 36.9 million streams from the time of its release, allowing it to debut at number five on the Streaming Songs chart, and received early radio support causing it to enter Billboard's Radio Songs chart at number 35 with 27 million audience impressions. The single became Grande's ninth top-ten single and her highest debut on the Hot 100 (tied with her 2014 single "Problem"). The song also marked her sixth top-ten debut, thus tying Grande with Lady Gaga and Rihanna in sixth among acts with most top 10 debuts on the chart.[35] Grande also continued her record for being the first artist to debut within the opening ten positions of the chart with every lead single—"The Way", "Problem", and "Dangerous Woman"—of her first four studio albums.[36][not in citation given] Following the release of Sweetener, the song rebounded into the Hot 100's top ten at number seven in its eighteenth week on the chart, rising five positions from number 12 the previous week, allowing it to notch a 12th week within the top ten.[37] In July 2018, "No Tears Left to Cry" was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments exceeding one million units in the United States.

On the Billboard Mainstream Top 40, "No Tears Left to Cry" debuted at number 30 as the highest entry of the week, rising to number 22 the following week. The song eventually topped the chart on the issue dated July 21, 2018, becoming her third number one on the chart after "Problem" in 2014, and "Side to Side" in 2016.[38] The song has also reached a peak of number three on the Radio Songs chart, number four on the Adult Top 40, number 12 on the Rhythmic Songs chart, and number 16 on the Adult Contemporary chart. On the Billboard Dance Club Songs, it reached number-one on the magazine's June 23, 2018 issue, becoming her second number-one hit on the chart and first as lead artist. She also became the first female artist ever to have two number one hit songs on the chart.[39] In Canada, the song became Grande's highest charting single, entering in the runner-up position on the Canadian Hot 100, behind Drake's "Nice for What",[40][41] while debuting atop the Canadian Digital Song Sales chart. The track was later certified platinum by Music Canada in July 2018 for shipments of 80,000 units.

Europe and Oceania[edit]

In Australia, "No Tears Left to Cry" debuted at the summit of the ARIA Singles Chart, making it Grande's first number one and sixth top-ten single in Australia.[42][43] The single was later certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for exceeding the 70,000 sales limit in June 2018.[44] In New Zealand, it entered the New Zealand Singles Chart at number four, becoming her sixth top-ten single there,[45] as well as being certified gold for shipments exceeding 15,000 units there.[46][47] In the United Kingdom, the song debuted at number two on the UK Singles Chart for the issue dated May 3, 2018 with first-week sales of 74,290 units, marking Grande's sixth top-ten single in the territory.[48][49] It was held off the top spot by Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa's "One Kiss" for two consecutive weeks.[50] The track was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for selling 600,000 units.[51] In Ireland, the song debuted on the Irish Singles Chart at number one becoming Grande's second number one single and her fourth top-ten entry in the country.[52] Across Europe, the song topped the charts in Czech Republic, Hungary, Norway, Portugal and Slovakia[53][54][55][56][57][58], reached the top five in Austria, Germany, Finland, Netherlands (Single Top 100), Poland and Switzerland,[59][60][61][62][63][64] and the top ten in Belgium (Flanders), Denmark, Italy, Spain and Sweden.[65][66][67][68][69]

"No Tears Left to Cry" also saw success in Japan as well, peaking of number 12 on the Japan Hot 100 becoming her sixth top-twenty single in the country.[70] It also debuted at number six on the Japanese Hot Overseas chart, and reached number one in its fifth week there.[71]

Music video[edit]

Development and release[edit]

A revolving hallway was created for the video (above), which allowed Grande to move on walls and ceilings. (below)

The music video for "No Tears Left to Cry" was directed by Dave Meyers and produced by Nathan Scherrer.[72] It explores a concept of disorientation in life, and the complexities and disillusionment of the world.[73] "We sort of flirt with the ambiguity of whether you need to find the ground or whether the ground's just what you make of it," Meyers said.[74] Grande was filmed in front of screens to chroma key locations in post-production. Referencing dancer Fred Astaire, a revolving hallway was built to allow Grande to walk on ceilings and walls. Other stunts involved her harnessed to a rotating stairway and jumping through a chute.[75][76] Grande's face was covered in a green substance and bandaged for 30 minutes to create masks of her face.[77] The music video premiered on Vevo at midnight ET on April 20, 2018.[78][79] Three behind-the-scenes videos were released on April 23, April 27, and May 25, 2018, respectively.[73][77]


Grande wears six different outfits in the music video, including a voluminous green gown, satin minidress and Stuart Weitzman platform shoes.[80][81][82] She also eschews her signature high ponytail for styles such as a braided and low ponytail.[83] The video begins with an extended choral introduction and an evening bird's-eye view of a metropolis of skyscrapers sideways, overhead and underfoot.[32][84] Grande is first shown reclining on a window-lined hallway before walking on its walls and ceiling in an optical illusion.[32][80] She then falls through the floor into a wall with fairy lights, and is shown swinging from the banister of a fire escape overlooking the city.[83][85][86]

In another scene, the singer and a troupe of suited dancers perform with umbrellas from the sides of a skyscraper.[87] Grande then falls through the sky ahead of an interlude featuring a kaleidoscope of her face.[88][89] The next segment shows Grande seated on a floor removing her face like a mask while also surrounded by multiple versions of her face showing multiple expressions and singing.[83][89] In the last scene, Grande sits in a field at sunrise, playing fetch with her dog, Toulouse.[88] The video concludes with a worker bee flying off screen, one of the symbols of Manchester.[2]


The video received critical acclaim.[90] Emily Heward of the Manchester Evening News called it "a touching tribute" to Manchester, noting that its symbolic worker bee represents the city's resilience.[91] Similarly, MTV UK's Ross McNeilage said the video "perfectly encapsulates the dream-like euphoria of the song and is a beautiful, subtle tribute".[92] McNeilage deemed it "a truly stunning visual that is undoubtedly her best music video to date."[92] Charles Holmes of MTV likened it to visuals by M.C. Escher and praised the juxtaposition of moods, writing, "Instead of Ariana telling us her world was turned upside down the video shows us... The dark muted video feels like sadness, while Ariana's voice sounds like triumph."[93]

Chris Willman of Variety described the music video as "a combination of Inception and Fred Astaire's old dancing-on-the-ceiling movie musical routine".[32] Calin van Paris of Vogue called it "an Inception-style dreamworld", and regarded Grande's braided ponytail as "a surprising twist on a classic updo" and "a high-impact aesthetic".[94] In Billboard magazine, Abby Jones viewed the visual as a spectacle, finding it "dazzling and dizzying",[80] while Shanté Honeycutt deemed it "a beautiful, mind-bending video".[75] Spencer Kornhaber wrote in The Atlantic: The video ... is lush and transporting, aestheticizing the idea of one's feet searching for solid ground."[33]

The video has received over 660 million views on YouTube[72] and surpassed Grande's 2015 single "Focus" to become her most-viewed video in its first day and first week of release (15 and 51.7 million views, respectively).[95] The music video won the Best Pop Video award at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards and was nominated for Video of the Year, Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects.[96]

Live performances[edit]

Grande first performed "No Tears Left to Cry" during Kygo's set at the second weekend of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 20, 2018.[97] On May 1, 2018, she gave her first televised performance of the song on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.[98] She later performed the song on the same show on May 14, along with Fallon and The Roots, using Nintendo Labo and Nintendo Switch-based instruments.[99] Grande also opened the 2018 Billboard Music Awards on May 20 with a performance of the song.[100] She also performed the song, along with "Side to Side" and "Dangerous Woman", at YouTube Brandcast.[101]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download
  1. "No Tears Left to Cry" – 3:25
  1. "No Tears Left to Cry" – 3:25
  2. "No Tears Left to Cry" (instrumental) – 3:25


Credits adapted from Tidal.[3]

  • Ariana Grande – vocals, keyboard
  • Max Martin – production, keyboard, bass, drums, percussion, programming
  • Ilya – production, keyboard, drums, percussion, programming
  • John Hanes – mix engineering
  • Sam Holland – engineering
  • Cory Bice – record engineering assistance
  • Jeremy Lertola – record engineering assistance
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[44] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Belgium (BEA)[149] Gold 15,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[150] 2× Platinum 80,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[151] 3× Platinum 240,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[152] Gold 45,000^
France (SNEP)[153] Gold 100,000*
Italy (FIMI)[154] Platinum 50,000double-dagger
Mexico (AMPROFON)[155] Platinum 60,000*
Netherlands (NVPI)[156] Platinum 80,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[47] Platinum 30,000*
Portugal (AFP)[157] Gold 5,000double-dagger
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[158] Gold 20,000^
Sweden (GLF)[159] Platinum 40,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[51] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[160] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Worldwide April 20, 2018 Republic [161]
Worldwide April 20, 2018 [162]
United States April 23, 2018 Hot adult contemporary radio [14]
April 24, 2018 Contemporary hit radio [16]
Rhythmic contemporary radio [15]
Italy April 27, 2018 Contemporary hit radio Universal [163]
Germany June 15, 2018 CD single [164]

See also[edit]


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