Ariana Grande, thank u, next - album review
Former Nickelodeon star Ariana Grande hasn't left much space since her last record before dropping thank u, next.
The mega-hit Sweetener was out just last year, while this is her impressive fifth record since her 2013 breakthrough with Yours Truly. Talk about keeping yourself in the public conscience.
Ariana has always been followed by headlines - whether it be relationship break-ups, questions from parents over her promiscuous lyrics (eg. the track here break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored) or other shocking incidents out of her control.
Personal experience is poured into the record, the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller and break-up with fiancé Pete Davidson among her influences.
As you can imagine, it's not all whistles and bells. The pace is slowed, a lot of the beats and melodies subdued. Ariana is allowed to orchestrate everything around her, and as a result it does feel like a very personal piece of work.
Not everyone likes Grande's "slower" repertoire. But this is a chance for her to win them over with her at-times deeply emotive emissions.
A lot of the production - among many guests - is handled by Charles Anderson and Tommy Brown and the polished feel is a credit to them.
The late-night aura of fake smile grabs you with its neat production values and clean finish. It's like Ariana is spilling out her feelings into her mirror following a late night on the town.
The title track needs no introduction. Single thank u, next broke so many records, including the most plays in a single day by a female artist on Spotify. It's become something of a break-up anthem, with its deep reverberating bass and lo-fi backing tracks. As mentioned earlier, this is Grande centre stage holding court.
READ MORE: Ariana Grande says Thank U, Next to 2018
The track bloodline is the highlight - with those big, brass-based punches carrying the track along. It's one of the louder, more "active" tunes here and stands out even more for it.
But a lot here drifts. Songs like make up with its Lily Allen-esque chimes just meanders, while at the same time sounding too similar to needy. And ghostin slows everything down with its airier approach to the music.
As a result it feels like you are halted every time you build momentum up. But it shouldn't take away too much from the raw emotion Grande clearly put in to it.
Ariana Grande's world tour stops off at Arena Birmingham for two nights on September 14 and 15