By Karah Tyree
We all know Ariana Grande from her acting on Nickelodeon and music career, but her acting can wait, because Ariana’s music career has made a huge shot up to the top hits with the song “Thank U, Next.” The popular song has people questioning, ”what’s the story behind the song?”
The song “Thank U, Next” was produced November 3rd, 2018. The hit song has served as her fifth album name and is at #4 on Billboard Hot 100. The story is not only about heartbreak but about moving on. In the first section of the song she sings, “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...”. Ariana explains the type of relationship between her and her exes in this first verse. The young artist was coping with the unexpected death of her ex Mac Miller at the time she wrote this song, which happened a few weeks before she and Davidson broke up. This song is a big step for her to process of moving on and continuing forward. In the song, she names each of her exes, including Davidson, but nothing about it is scathing. Rather than dragging out the whole story about what happened, she just calls them out by naming what she's thankful for from each of their relationships and how it helped her grow as a person.
The exes mentioned were Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez, Mac Miller, and Pete Davidson. As she says “Thought I'd end up with Sean But he wasn't a match...,” the singer confirmed she was dating Big Sean in October 2014, calling him “one of the most amazing men in the whole word.” “It's gotten serious very fast," a source said at the time. "They are much happier than in their previous relationships." They split eight months later in April 2015 because Sean seemed to be cheating with Glee star Naya Rivera. Naya later alleged in her book, Sorry Not Sorry, that she found Grande at his home while they were still dating.
For Ricky she says “Wrote some songs about Ricky Now I listen and laugh.” A backup dancer of Grande, they were first linked in the summer of 2015 following her split from Big Sean. The pair were also together when the “Love Me Harder” songstress made headlines in July of that year after she was caught on surveillance footage licking a donut in a store and saying she “hates Americans” and “hates America.” Then in May 2016, the pair split, just two months later. However, they seem to remain on good terms.
Now for Mac Miller she says, “wish I could say, "Thank you" to Malcolm 'cause he was an angel.” Ariana and Mac met after they collaborated on “The Way” and dated from 2016 to 2018. US Weekly confirmed in May 2018 that the pair had broken up. A few days later, Grande opened up about their break up on Instagram alongside a photo of the former couple cuddling, which she captioned, “I respect and adore him endlessly and am grateful to have him in my life in any form, at all times regardless of how our relationship changes or what the universe holds for each of us!” Miller soon after that shared his perspective on the break up in July. "I was in love with somebody. We were together for two years. We worked through good times, bad times, stress and everything else. And then it came to an end and we both moved on,” he told Beats 1 host Zane Lowe. Following the September 2018 death of the rapper, Grande wrote a touching tribute to him on Instagram: “I adored you from the day i met you when i was nineteen and i always will.”
The final ex mentioned in the song is Pete Davidson, and she doesn't try to do a back fire on Pete. The Saturday Night Live star and Grande embarked on a whirlwind romance in 2018 following their respective splits from Pete's ex Cazzie David and her ex Mac Miller. Davidson announced on Instagram in May 2018 that they were in fact dating, sharing a photo of the couple posing in Harry Potter outfits, which he captioned, “The chamber of secrets has been opened.” Us Weekly surprisingly revealed that the comedian and Grande had gotten engaged a month later, Pete Davidson proposing with a $93,000 diamond ring. Sadly in October 2018 they broke up. During Saturday Night Live’s "Weekend Update" segment on November 3rd, Pete said, “I know some of you are curious about the breakup, but the truth is, it’s nobody’s business, and sometimes things just don’t work out, and that’s ok. She’s a wonderful, strong person, and I genuinely wish her all the happiness in the world.”
As for the lyrics in the song, she calls them out in her own creative way. One of her lines says, “One taught me love One taught me patience And one taught me pain Now, I'm so amazing I've loved and I've lost…” and explains how her exs taught her in ways that she’s thankful for. Grande praises her exes for the “love”, “patience” and “pain” that helped make her the “amazing” person she is today. In the middle, she teases “I met someone else,” then reveals that someone is herself.
She finishes the main verses by looking at her parents' own relationship by saying “One day I'll walk down the aisle holding hands with my mama, I'll be thanking my dad 'cause she grew from the drama.” She continues saying that if she gets married, she's only going to do it once and she’s going to make it last and finishes the song with one last “Thank U, Next” before cutting it off. In my interpretation, she is letting the world know she “thankful” for the lessons her exes have taught her and she’s ready for what’s “next”.