In the two-and-a-half short months since Ariana Grande released her fourth album, Sweetener, the pop princess broke off her engagement with Pete Davidson and mourned the passing of ex-boyfriend Mac Miller. Most artists might lay low in the wake of such loss, but Grande is already working on a new album, reportedly titled Thank U, Next.
Ariana Grande (#1–10 of 3)
Just hours after she released “God Is a Woman,” a sultry, subtly reggae-infused slow jam from her forthcoming album Sweetener, Ariana Grande has dropped an epic music video for the single. The clip finds the singer hula-hooping with the Milky Way, fingering the eye of a hurricane, and deflecting misogynist epithets, a visual embodiment of her declaration that “I can be all the things you told me not to be/When you try to come for me, I keep on flourishing/And he sees the universe when I’m in company/It’s all in me.”
So many of the highlights and lowlights of the year in singles were, for better or worse, attuned to what feels like a worldwide drift toward maintaining one’s own financial and psychological (same diff) bottom line at the expense of anyone else’s. Beyoncé, of all performers, was far from immune, though her particular brand of exceptionalism continues to dress itself up in the finery of collective consciousness raising. Far more common were the unfussy, ruthlessly entertaining likes of Fifth Harmony speaking on behalf of Melania Trumps everywhere. Or Kanye West’s epic clapback against Taylor Swift, which in turn presaged his detour into the mental hospital, which we’ve now seen firsthand more or less counts as the first step in a presidential bid in 2020.