Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next” music video is entertaining and poignant

Sol Doyscher, Opinions Editor

Ariana Grande’s last 2018 single, thank u, next, serves as a love letter of sorts to all of her exes, thanking them for the time she spent with them, as well as taking an introspective look at her own life and priorities.

I’ll admit it–the song is great. It’s not a song I listen too very often, but it’s incredibly catchy, and I really like how this subverts the expectations of a typical breakup song. Instead of using her personal drama as a weapon (cough–Taylor Swift–cough), Grande has harnessed her experiences into something I view as a net positive for pop music.

The video is an even bigger hit, and its become an iconic piece of media within its first few weeks of existing. Suddenly YouTube and late-night Talk Show parodies began spreading–like a fungus. Grande’s thank u, next, video references movies like Mean Girls, Legally Blonde, and Bring It On in a music video that cleverly paints a picture of Grande’s current life whilst being topical, humorous and well-made.

What impresses me the most about both the song and the video, is how much Grande is showing growth as a person. The video opens up with Grande writing in a book very reminiscent to the “burn book” from Mean Girls, where it’s revealed that she’s writing a page for each of her exes (Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez, Pete Davidson, and Mac Miller), but instead of burning them–she writes positive thoughts about them and her memories with them.

This is incredible. It’s very easy for pop stars to write breakup songs only bemoaning the other person’s actions without stopping to think about anything they’ve done. Grande avoids this by thanking her exes (“And for Pete, I’m so thankful”/ “Wish I could say thank you to Malcolm” / “Cause he was an angel”).

She even apologizes for her own failures in the relationships–best exemplified by her writing “sorry I dipped” on the page with Pete Davidson–a reference to their marriage being broken off semi-prematurely. I especially like the part where Grande says “I met someone knew…and her name is Ari,” which is a really clever way of saying that she’s going to take time to focus on herself and stay away from relationships for a while.

My favorite part of the video is when Grande is walking past a wedding where she sees a woman get married in the way she thought she would; it’s very reminiscent of 13 Going On 30. She even carries around a version of the dollhouse from the movie, which is great attention to detail.

I think thank u, next, is both a poignant reflection on her career and a stunning reveal of her struggles with dating and relationships. I recommend the video highly for fans of Top 40 pop music, and would say it’s one of the better music videos I’ve seen this year.