I hate to be that person, but I was obsessed with Ariana Grande before it was cool.
Since the beginning of 8th grade year, she’s been my rock, my whistle, and my everything. The entire summer before I entered high school was spent blasting Dangerous Woman, the one album that has helped shape me into the human I am truly meant to be. So when Grande’s fourth album dropped in August of this year, I was stoked at the success it was seeing.
‘Sweetener’ posted the biggest opening-week streams on Spotify for any female album ever, and broke Grande’s own opening-week record as far as sales go. Plus, people at school were talking about it, and that hadn’t happened with any of her previous three releases. There was just one thing I had noticed though, that had been bugging me for ages by then: she still didn’t have a number one song.
Practically on cue, the universe answered. It may have been her whirlwind romance with Pete
Davidson day, or the recent death of her former boo Mac Miller (RIP Malcolm), but when Grande surprise-dropped her fifth studio album’s lead single “thank u, next,” in early November, her first number one song was secured, posting the biggest single day and week streams for any female on Spotify, ever. The song also beat the streaming-monsters Drake and Ed Sheeran–both male, mind you–in the race to 100 million streams, which she did in just 11 days, becoming the fastest song in HISTORY to do so. I knew I stanned talent, but wow.
During the last stretch of 2018, ‘thank u, next’ was still number one on Billboard, and was receiving overwhelming amounts of praise from critics on their year-end charts.
Refinery29 said of the tune, “never has a song come at a more perfect moment: right in the middle of our national obsession with Ari.”
Many other magazines and publications like Fader and Billboard were praising Grande for releasing the best song and music video of the year with ‘thank u, next’ and with other releases like “God is a woman” and “no tears left to cry.”
This massive success that she was finally seeing didn’t end in 2018 though. When “7 rings” was released as the second single off of her 5th studio album on January 18th, it broke records Grande had set just months before. “7 rings” hit 100 million streams on Spotify in only nine days, shattering her previous records for most streams in a single day and week, with nearly 15 million and over 70 million respectively. I’m sure you could guess as much, but “7 rings” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard, making Grande the third female artist with multiple No. 1 debuts from the same album, behind the living legends Mariah Carey and Britney Spears.
With all these records being set and then broken, and set and then broken, it was no surprise when “thank u, next” the album debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, scoring the biggest daily and weekly streams on both Spotify and Apple Music, the United States’ two largest streaming services, once again breaking records she had just set with ‘Sweetener’ six months ago.
The massive surprise that literally no one saw coming arrived when Hot 100 numbers were announced the week after, confirming that Grande had secured the entire top three of the song chart with “7 rings,” “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored,” and “thank u, next.” “She’s the first soloist to achieve the feat and only the second act overall, after The Beatles, back in 1964,” Billboard reported.
Believe me, whenever that tweet hit my phone, my head got hot and I was ready to end it all. I knew already, but then the world did too, that Ariana Grande will be going down as one of the greatest to ever do it. Period.
Now that I’m done bragging, I have a statement that, at this point, doesn’t even seem very bold to make: “thank u, next” is set to be one of the biggest female albums of the decade. The general public has been obsessed with Miss Grande since she dropped her first chart-dominating number one, and she’s managed to stay in their good graces, which many female artists have a hard time doing when being watched under such public scrutiny (people like to tear successful women down, it’s very gross).
Either way, Ariana Grande’s fifth album proved to be a blockbuster, and even though it’s been out for nearly a month now, I know I’m not the only one still on the edge of my seat.