Thank U, Next (song)

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"Thank U, Next"
Ariana Grande Thank U Next.png
Single by Ariana Grande
from the album Thank U, Next
ReleasedNovember 3, 2018 (2018-11-03)
Format
Genre
Length3:27
LabelRepublic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Tommy Brown
  • Charles Anderson
  • Michael Foster
Ariana Grande singles chronology
"Breathin"
(2018)
"Thank U, Next"
(2018)
Music video
"Thank U, Next" on YouTube

"Thank U, Next" (stylized in all lowercase) is a song by American singer Ariana Grande released as the lead single from her upcoming fifth studio album of the same name. The track was written by Grande, Charles Anderson, Michael Foster, Tayla Parx, Tommy Brown and Victoria Monét. It was produced by Brown, Anderson and Foster. The lyrics mention some of Grande's past relationships, including Big Sean, Mac Miller, Pete Davidson, and Ricky Alvarez (her former backup dancer).[1]

The track broke a string of records, including the record for the most plays in a single day by a female artist on Spotify. Commercially, "Thank U, Next" has reached number one in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore and South Korea, the top ten in Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Iceland, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland, and the top twenty in Belgium, France and Germany.

The music video was released on November 30, 2018, which references the films Mean Girls, Bring It On, 13 Going on 30 and Legally Blonde.

Background and release[edit]

On November 2, 2018, the singer tweeted lyrics of a mysterious track, after her ex-fiancé Pete Davidson joked about their broken engagement on Saturday Night Live. The following day, Grande tweeted more lyrics revealed that they indeed belong to a track named "Thank U, Next", which she described was lyrically and conceptually the opposite of her Dangerous Woman track "Knew Better". The singer also revealed "Thank U, Next" would serve as her fifth album's name, which she had been teasing for months on Twitter.[2]

The song was released on November 3, 2018, without any prior official announcement or promotion.[3]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Thank U, Next" is a self-empowerment R&B and pop song that mentions many of Grande's past relationships.[4][5][6] It features elements of synth-pop in its production.[7][8] The song is written in the key of B-flat minor in common time with a tempo of 108 beats per minute. Grande's voice ranges from a low A3 to a high E5. The song is based around a chord progression of Gmaj7–F7/A–Bm7–D7/C.[9]

Grande revealed in an interview that "thank u, next..." is a phrase that she and fellow singer/songwriter Victoria Monét use.[10][11] The lyrics acknowledge four of her past relationships: "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" refer to Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez, Pete Davidson and Mac Miller, respectively.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Upon its release, "Thank U, Next" received widespread acclaim from music critics. Hugh McIntyre from Forbes.com said the song is "catchy while also being heartbreaking" and Grande "doesn’t just put on a brave face when she has to, she is living with an optimism few can muster. [The song] may sound deceptively simple upon first play, but when the lyrics sink in and context is applied, it becomes clear that it's ultimately a beautiful piece of music."[13] Markos Papadatos from Digital Journal said it's an "ode to gratitude, an anthem to a fresh start and new beginnings, where she is not afraid to be raw and vulnerable; Grande's vulnerability is the listener's reward." He also said the song is "sultry, cathartic and expressive" and praised Grande's breathy vocals as "pristine and heavenly, and it is evident the pop throne is still hers. "thank u, next" garners an A rating."[14]

Quinn Moreland from Pitchfork named the song the week's "Best New Track" and praised Grande's ability to talk about her past relationships with newfound serenity: "She doesn't stir the pot about her recent breakup, as the common media narrative might expect; instead she finds the value in letting go. It's a generosity rarely spotted these days, when it is so much more tempting to clap back with vinegar instead of honey. Much like the "one girl swaying alone" twist in Lorde's 'Liability,' it's an eloquent display of inner strength and incisive self-awareness."[15] Spencer Kornhaber from The Atlantic said the song highlights Grande's ownership of not only the break up gossip, but also "her romantic life, her growth as a person, and her career as a maker of catchily inspirational bops". He remarked the lyrics are "feminist rewriting of the public narrative—about a woman defined by, and perhaps even brought down by, men—pulled off with lightness. The vibe is sly and swinging; a high hat in the chorus makes like a drum crash during a stand-up roast. [...] classic pop romanticism, cut with shit happens realism, spiked with trendy swagger-as-empowerment." [16]

Brittany Spanos from Rolling Stone said despite what the title may suggest, the song is "surprisingly gracious, a balm and a sticky note reminder on the heart that sometimes it’s not about life getting better; it's about wanting to better yourself" and praised Grande for delivering one of the very few pop songs to actually promote real, true self-love."[17] Megan Reynolds from Jezebel stated the song is not the "anthem of a spurned lover, looking to destroy everything in her path. Instead, Grande took a page from the book of Mariah Carey: "thank u, next" is a motivational narrative powered by pettiness". She also remarked the song works beautifully around how unbothered it is "here is pettiness for mostly good with a dash of evil, subverting the traditional spurned lover subtweet of the sort preferred by an artist like Taylor Swift. Not all music that comes out of heartbreak has to be introspective, but it is often so much better when it is. Fame rushes people towards a sort of forced maturity in many ways. Pettiness, when used for good, is quite powerful."[18]

Accolades[edit]

Vulture named "Thank U, Next" the best song of 2018, "rather than zap the pain from memory, Grande assesses the damage and rebuilds from the ground up, rekindling her most crucial relationship: Ariana and Ariana. So 2018 will go down as the year that Ariana Grande entered pop immortality".[19] Time magazine listed it as the 3rd best song of 2018.[20] RPD placed it as the 4th best song of 2018, saying that "[Grande] shows why she's the true heir to her role model Mariah Carey: not her big notes, which find no place here, but the way she dances like a butterfly through even the densest lyrical lines."[21] The Guardian ranked it at 6th spot in its Top 100 songs of 2018, remarking that "Thank U, Next’s sing-song delivery and featherweight R&B production shared DNA with many a pop kiss-off, but disguised heavyweight sentiment: benevolence to her exes, but more importantly, herself."[22]

Pitchfork listed it as the 8th best song of 2018, stating that "with its soft, dreamy keys and buttery vocals, the song further refines Grande’s brand of ’90s-leaning pop-R&B. It’s a surprisingly comforting smash, one that lands in your system like a melatonin tablet and a mug of tea. And yet the song’s cultural omnipresence has more to do with the woman at its center than any particular sound. Instead of blaming the men in her life for the pain she’s endured, she thanks them for helping her become the woman she is today. In doing so, she takes the self-love that made Sweetener so special and extends it beyond herself, demonstrating optimism and compassion on the largest possible stage."[23]

The song spawned an Internet meme, inspired by the lyrics "one taught me love / one taught me patience / one taught me pain".[24] The title of the song, "thank u, next" also began to be popularly used among those on the internet in a similar fashion to the way it is used in the song.[25]

In December 2018, Billboard ranked "Thank U, Next" as the 4th best song of the year.[26]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Thank U, Next" was the first song by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 since "Hello" by Adele (pictured) in 2015.

On November 5, 2018, "Thank U, Next" broke the record for the most streams received by a song in a single day by a female artist on Spotify, with 8.19 million streams globally, and continued to break this record daily until November 9, when it received 9.6 million streams.[27][28] The song surpassed 100 million streams in Spotify eleven days after its release on November 14, 2018, becoming the fastest song to do so.[29]

North America[edit]

"Thank U, Next" became the 32nd song to debut at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart issue dated November 17, 2018, marking Grande's first chart-topper in the country and highest charting entry, surpassing "Problem", which peaked at number two in 2014. The single also became Grande's eleventh top-ten entry overall and her seventh to debut in the top-ten, thus surpassing Lady Gaga and Rihanna who have amassed six among acts with the most top 10 debuts on the chart. The track became the first solo song by a female artist to top the US charts since Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow". It additionally was the first song by a lead female artist to debut atop the US charts since Adele's "Hello" in 2015.[30] "Thank U, Next" started at the Hot 100's summit powered by its number-one debut on the Billboard Digital Songs sales chart – Grande's second to do so in 2018 and fourth overall – having sold 81,000 digital downloads according to Nielsen SoundScan, while drawing in 71 million US streams in its first week of availability ending November 8, allowing it to enter atop the Streaming Songs chart, becoming her first number one there as well. The song missed entering Billboard's Radio Songs chart in its first week, however drew in 11.3 million all-format radio audience impressions in the week ending November 11 due to early airplay.[31] Grande also extended her record for being the first artist to debut within the opening ten positions of the Hot 100 chart with every lead single—"The Way", "Problem", "Dangerous Woman", "No Tears Left to Cry" and "Thank U, Next"—of her first five studio albums.[32][33]

In its second week, "Thank U, Next" remained at the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, selling another 47,000 digital downloads, subsequently spending a second consecutive week atop the Digital Songs chart and Streaming Songs chart with 63.4 million US streams, up 14 percent from 55.5 million in its first week. "Thank U, Next" also drew in 22 million all-format radio audience impressions, a 94 percent increase from the previous week. The track also jumped to number 20 on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 airplay chart following its number 33 debut, becoming the week's greatest gainer.[34] The song topped both the Hot 100 and Streaming Songs charts in its third week with 43.8 million US streams, however dropped to number four on the Digital Songs chart selling an additional 23,000 digital downloads in the week ending November 22, according to Nielsen Music. Airplay continued growing to 31.8 million audience impressions, up 45 percent from its second week, leading to the song debuting at number 36 on both the Radio Songs and Adult Top 40 charts, while rising to number 17 on the Mainstream Top 40.[35] The same week, the song was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments exceeding one million units in the country. "Thank U, Next" descended one position to number two on the Hot 100 in its fourth frame on the issue dated December 8, 2018, boasting just 5 percent less overall chart points than Travis Scott's "Sicko Mode" which jumped to the top spot following the release of its Skrillex remix bundle. Despite this however, it held the top slot on the Streaming Songs chart collecting another 42.5 million US streams, and rose to number 14 on the Mainstream Top 40 and number 23 on the Radio Songs as the Hot 100's top airplay gainer with 39.5 million audience impressions.[36]

Following the premiere of its official music video, "Thank U, Next" returned to the top spot on the Hot 100 in its fifth week charting. The song drew 93.8 million US streams, surpassing the record for the most streams in a single week by a female artist previously set by Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do" which collected 84.5 million streams in its debut week a year prior on September 16, 2017. The track rebounded 5-2 on the Digital Songs chart, gaining 146 percent to 43,000 downloads sold, while vaulting 23-11 on the Radio Songs with 57 million audience impressions, up 44 percent. "Thank U, Next" also became the first song since Drake's "In My Feelings" to become the week's Greatest Gainer in all three metrics (streaming, sales, and airplay) while atop the Hot 100. Additionally, it became the longest running number-one song by a female artist in a lead role since Sia's "Cheap Thrills" featuring Sean Paul in 2016, as well as the longest running song by a solo female artist since "Hello" by Adele spent ten weeks atop the chart in 2015-16.[37] In Canada, "Thank U, Next" entered the Canadian Hot 100 chart at the top position on the issue dated November 17, 2018, earning Grande her first number one single in the country and eleventh top-ten single overall.[38] It debuted at number two on the Canadian Digital Songs Sales chart behind Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's "Shallow".[39] The track remained at number one for another four weeks, registering as the charts greatest airplay gainer in its third.

Europe and Oceania[edit]

Throughout Europe, "Thank U, Next" achieved commercial success, debuting in the top ten of many of the nations it charted within. In the United Kingdom, the song debuted at the top of the UK Singles Chart on November 9, 2018 for the week ending date November 15, 2018, with first-week sales of 73,000 units (including 6.7 million streams) according to the Official Charts Company, becoming Grande's third chart-topper there and first since "Bang Bang" in 2014. It additionally was the first solo song by a female artist to debut at the top of the UK charts since Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do" in 2017.[40] In its second week on the chart, the track held the number one position selling another 95,000 units, a 30.13% increase from the previous week. The song also achieved the biggest weekly UK streaming numbers of any track in 2018, drawing in 9.76 million streams during the tracking period, the highest overall weekly numbers since Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's "Despacito" in May 2017.[41] It has since remained at the number one position for an additional four weeks.[42] Ensuing the release of its music video, the track set a new streaming record of 14.9 million streams in its fifth week, surpassing Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" to achieve the highest weekly number of plays in the chart's history.[43] In Ireland, "Thank U, Next" debuted atop the Irish Singles Chart, becoming Grande's second song to do so in 2018 and third overall in the country. It remained at the top of the chart for an additional five weeks, as well as breaking the record for the biggest number of video streams ever recorded with 749,000 plays.[44][45] The song has also reached the top five of the charts in Hungary, the Netherlands (Single Top 100), Portugal, Scotland, Slovakia and Sweden, as well as the top ten in Austria, Greece, and Switzerland.

In Oceania, "Thank U, Next" entered at the runner-up position on the Australian ARIA Charts and the New Zealand Singles Chart, becoming her ninth and eighth top-ten single on both charts, respectively.[46] It started at number three on the Australian Digital Sales chart, while also entering atop the ARIA streaming charts as the top streamed song in the country. The song ascended to the top position in its second week on the ARIA Singles Chart, becoming Grande's second number one single there.[47][48] Similarly in New Zealand, the track topped the nations chart the following week, becoming her second single to do so following "Problem".[46] The song spent an additional four weeks at number one on both the ARIA Singles Chart and the New Zealand Singles Chart, becoming Grande's longest-running number one single in both countries.[49]

Music video[edit]

Background[edit]

Kris Jenner
Jennifer Coolidge
"Thank U, Next" features a plethora of cameo appearances, such as from Kris Jenner, and appearances from original cast members from referenced films, such as Jennifer Coolidge from Legally Blonde.

Planning for the music video began long before the song was released. During work on Grande's music video for her song "Breathin", director Hannah Lux Davis listened to a demo for "Thank U, Next", in which she praised the song. Because of this, both Davis and Grande started coming up with concepts for the video, bringing up their love for films such as Mean Girls and Bring It On.[50] Production begin immediately from the release of the "breathin" video.

Grande began teasing the music video on her Instagram account on November 20,[51] with images of her and her friends alongside quotes from the film Mean Girls. Later that day, she shared more images with references to the movie Legally Blonde,[52] including a photo with actress Jennifer Coolidge, who starred in the latter film.[53] On November 22, Grande posted a photo of herself in a cheerleader's outfit, alongside a quote from the movie Bring It On.[54] On November 27, Grande released a teaser video featuring cameos from singer-songwriter Troye Sivan, YouTube stars Colleen Ballinger and Gabriella DeMartino, Mean Girls actors Jonathan Bennett and Stefanie Drummond, and Grande's former Victorious co-stars Elizabeth Gillies, Daniella Monet and Matt Bennett.[55]

The video made its official premiere on YouTube on November 30 through a new feature called "YouTube Premiere". "Thank U, Next" became the first music video to premiere through the introduction of this platform which allows artists to premiere their video in the form of a livestream complete with a countdown clock and a hatbox.[56]

Synopsis[edit]

The film references in the video: Mean Girls (2004), Bring It On (2000), 13 Going on 30 (2004) and Legally Blonde (2001).[57][58]

The video begins with an intro with different singers, actors and YouTube personalities including American youtuber Colleen Ballinger, American actors Jonathan Bennett and Stefanie Drummond, Grande's backup dancer Scott Nicholson, Australian singer Troye Sivan and American youtuber Gabi DeMartino.[57][58][59] It continues with the words "Thank U, Next" shown on the screen in the same font as the writing of Mean Girls (2004). It then features a close-up of a book, similar to the "Burn Book", containing images and writing showing and talking about Grande's past relationships with images of American rapper Big Sean, the singer's former backup dancer Ricky Alvarez and American comedian Pete Davidson,[60] all in the book. Only Mac Miller, quoted in the song, is not shown in a photo, respecting his death.[61] The shot then takes away to Grande as Regina George among The Plastics – formed by Elizabeth Gillies as Cady, Alexa Luria as Karen and Courtney Chipolone as Gretchen, as well as Jonathan Bennett in his original role as Aaron – walking down the hall, the same way from a scene in Mean Girls. The next shot is of Grande dancing with Gilles, Luria and Chipolone in Mrs. Claus-inspired dresses, with an appearance by Grande's mom (portrayed by Kris Jenner in reference to the role of Amy Poehler), filming the dance, except mirroring Poehler's original dance moves.

The next scene is a throwback to Bring It On (2000),[62][63] where Grande as Torrance and her love interest Cliff (portrayed by Matt Bennett), are shown brushing their teeth similar to a scene from the film. The scene then transitions to Grande cheerleading among others including Daniella Monet versing against the other team, including singer-songwriters Victoria Monét and Tayla Parks, who are contributing the background vocals in the track. The scene then moves to Grande helping out with a wedding,[64] showing she as Jenna playing with a dollhouse remiscent to a scene in 13 Going on 30 (2004). A magic-like transition moves into the following scene where Grande drives a convertible with the license plate saying "7 Rings" which is the title of a song for her upcoming fifth-studio album.[65] In the next scene, Grande hops out of the vehicle with her dog, Toulouse Grande in a pink leather jacket playing Elle Woods, symbolising the film Legally Blonde (2001).[66] The camera spans to multiple shots of Grande walking down a path with a shot of her at a swimming pool, also having a very similar image to the film.[67] The following scene involves Grande at the beauty salon with the manicure Paulette (portrayed by Jennifer Coolidge in her original role) talking about past relationships of how "big front teeth" can affect someones look. The whole scene involved many re-enactments from scenes in the film including The Bend and Snap.[68] Several shots of Grande are shown running on the treadmill, with all scenes previously in the video then completed in to one involving some behind-the-scene shots and a scene involving Coolidge and the post man meeting (the role was originally portrayed by Bruce Thomas, however he confirmed over Twitter that he did not take part in the filming of the music video), referencing another scene which is from the original film. The video then concludes with Grande and the cheerleaders dancing, the singer leaving a red lipstick trace by kissing Ballinger's pregnancy belly and Jenner, whilst holding the camera saying "Thank you, next, bitch!" in the ultimate shot.[69]

Reception[edit]

During the premiere of the music video on YouTube, it was reported that a total of 829,000 viewers were watching and participating in the live stream, making it the largest viewership that YouTube Premiere has received since its launch.[70]

Following its release, the video broke the record for most-watched music video in YouTube within 24 hours, officially achieving 55.4 million views on the platform in its first day, surpassing the 45.9 million YouTube views of BTS's "Idol" video, the previous record-holder.[71] It also became the fastest Vevo video to reach 100 million views on YouTube doing so in just 3 days and 10 hours, surpassing Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do", which took 2 hours more to reach that milestone,[72] and it was the second fastest music video, after Psy's "Gentleman", to reach that milestone.[citation needed]

Live performances[edit]

Grande performed the song alongside its co-writers Victoria Monét and Tayla Parx on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on November 7, 2018.[73] The performance paid homage to Grande's favorite movie, The First Wives Club (1996), recreating a scene in which the three leading female characters "clad in white suits [and] team up to sing an anthem of freedom in the wake of a life-changing breakup, bidding adieu to the men of their past and ushering in a new age of independence and personal growth."[74] She later performed the song on December 6, 2018 at Billboard Women in Music, an annual event held by Billboard to recognize women in the music industry, where she received the award for Woman of the Year.[75]

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[76]

  • Ariana Grande – vocals, songwriting, vocal production
  • Tommy Brown – production
  • John Hanes – mixing assistance
  • Sean Klein – record engineering assistance
  • Victoria Monét – background vocals, production
  • Tayla Parx – background vocals, production
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing
  • Billy Hickey – record engineering
  • Brendan Morawski – record engineering

Charts[edit]

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Argentina (Argentina Hot 100)[77] 31
Australia (ARIA)[78] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[79] 4
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[80] 13
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[81] 23
Brazil Streaming (ABPD)[82] 27
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[83] 1
Croatia (HRT)[84] 6
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[85] 6
Denmark (Tracklisten)[86] 3
Estonia (IFPI)[87] 1
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[88] 1
France (SNEP)[89] 12
Germany (Official German Charts)[90] 13
Greece International Digital Singles (IFPI)[91] 1
Hungary (Single Top 40)[92] 3
Hungary (Stream Top 40)[93] 1
Iceland (Tonlist)[94] 9
Ireland (IRMA)[95] 1
Israel (Media Forest)[96] 7
Italy (FIMI)[97] 24
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[98][99] 24
Japan Hot Overseas (Billboard)[100] 2
Lebanon (Lebanese Top 20)[101] 9
Malaysia (RIM)[102] 1
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[103] 3
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[104] 3
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[46] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[105] 2
Portugal (AFP)[106] 1
Romania (Airplay 100)[107] 83
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[108] 2
Singapore (RIAS)[109] 1
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[110] 3
Slovenia (SloTop50)[111] 38
South Korea (Gaon)[112] 20
South Korea International (Gaon)[113] 1
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[114] 24
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[115] 3
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[116] 7
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[117] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[118] 1
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[119] 21
US Dance/Mix Show Airplay (Billboard)[120] 16
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[121] 12
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[122] 6
US Rhythmic (Billboard)[123] 24

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[124] Gold 35,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[125] Platinum 80,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[126] Platinum 30,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[127] Gold 400,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[128] 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

See also[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various November 3, 2018 Republic [129]

References[edit]

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