Grande releases new music, breaks records and responds to backlash while getting what she wants
Ariana Grande made moves in 2018 with the release of her album “Sweetener,” which reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200. She then spontaneously dropped “thank u, next,” creating the Instagram caption of the New Year, followed by the release of “imagine.” The pop star is now back with her latest release, “7 Rings,” alongside a new studio album.
The single, which was released shortly after the 25-year-old secured her first No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, caught fire. It garnered enough attention to break Spotify’s first-day streaming record with a total of 14.96 million streams, surpassing “thank u, next” in popularity. Grande is redefining the pop industry in her own way by doing exactly what she alludes to in “7 Rings” with the lyrics “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it.”
Grande explained “hip-hop’s prolific and often random release schedule influenced her approach to dropping ‘thank u, next.’” The Rolling Stone even wrote that Grande “wants to release music like a rapper,” breaking away from the silent codes existing within the pop industry and doing whatever she desires. Grande’s “7 Rings” doesn’t just explore the luxuries of a materialistic lifestyle but also her actions as she implements her own demands, such as “Ain’t no budget when I’m on the set.”
The track was followed up by a neon-centric video, showing what Grande means by people not having enough money to solve their problems. This mood is divergent from the aura surrounding her previous music videos, which were glossed with glamor, but didn’t involve an abundance of diamonds on her and her best friends’ fingers.
Grande’s opulent house party in “7 Rings” has accumulated massive traction since the music video’s release. Some fans like Jensen Tabert, a junior accounting major, feel that this major party reveals a lot more about Grande than riches and independence.
“[The video] shows that Ari is unhappy with her life, and she’s trying to hide that by filling her life with things that should make her happy,” Tabert said.
Whether society is drifting towards this song because of its grandeur appeal, or its relatability to fill a void or because it’s coming from the current chart-topping queen, “7 Rings” is pushing its way to the forefront.
However, being at the forefront and having “receipts [that] be lookin’ like phone numbers” doesn’t protect you from backlash. Since the song’s release, a couple of artists have taken to social media to voice their concerns.
Soulja Boy posted a video on Instagram comparing Grande’s latest single to his 2010 “Pretty Boy Swag” track with the caption “Arianaaaa?????? Ariana?!” He seemed to first respond in a confused tone that soon changed into shock after realizing the similarities between the two songs.
2 Chainz also accused Grande of duping his 2011 song “Spend It,” as well as its music video. 2 Chainz featured a pink trap house in the “Spend It” video, and Grande’s “7 Rings” video gives off the same pink ambiance in a pink-colored house.
Princess Nokia jumped in on the drama and compared Grande’s track to her 2016 tune “Mine.” She proceeded to accuse Grande of plagiarism on Instagram but has since deleted the video. In the same video, she said, “Ain’t that the little song I made about brown women and their hair? Hmm. Sounds about white.”
A fan of Grande’s then posted, “You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it!!!! White women talking about their weaves is how we’re gonna solve racism.” Some say the fan was implementing sarcasm, but Grande took it as support and reposted the fan’s words. Grande deleted the repost due to further backlash, but a resurfaced screenshot of the post forced Grande to publicly apologize:
“I think her intention was to be like . . . yay a white person dissociating the negative [stereotype] that is paired with the word ‘weave,’” Grande said. “However I’m so sorry if my response was out of pocket or if it came across the wrong way … it’s never my intention to offend anybody.”
All this backlash didn’t hold Grande back from continuing on her mission of redefining the pop industry as we know it.
On Jan. 22, Grande released the following tracklist for her next studio album, “thank u, next,” on social media:
“in my head”
“thank u next”
“breakup with your girlfriend, i’m bored”
The raw and direct persona these song titles paint differ from the exquisite life Grande has been dipping her toes in. All we can do is sit back and watch how Grande continues to revolutionize the pop industry and what it means to be a pop star within it.
Grande’s album, “thank u, next,” is set to release on Feb. 8.