When Ariana Grande dropped thank u, next my skin became clear, I lost three pounds and I finally got over that one ex that I just kept obsessing about.
Okay, well the first two didn’t happen but the third definitely did, and I didn’t even realise it until a couple of weeks after. I’m a very musically-entwined person; I listen to music almost every waking hour of my day and I have songs and playlists for almost everything, including all of my ex’s. In saying this, I’ve listened to a lot of breakup songs, and a lot of self-love songs, but none of them have been as groundbreaking as thank u, next for one sole reason; she’s grateful. She isn’t cursing out her ex’s, she’s thankful that she dated them and got an opportunity to grow from their relationship, and that’s how I feel about a lot of my own ex’s. It isn’t healthy to obsess over ex’s because they weren’t bad so you can’t move on, or they were bad and you have to complain about it all the time. But, in my opinion, it’s super healthy to look at a relationship and say “it wasn’t that bad, but it’s over and I’m glad we had our time together”, or “holy shit that was terrible but at least I know what to look for next time”. Anyways, I can harp on about the therapeutic powers of Ariana Grande until her next album comes out but I really really want to talk about the music video – this was just a bit of setup.
thank u, next starts with one of the most famous movie sequences from a movie released in the 2000s; the Mean Girls confessional lines. You know where it comes from, you know what it’s about – everyone is talking about Ariana and spouting off rumours about her, and it draws a parallel to online discourse about celebrities and fan reactions nowadays. It’s a super interesting take on that idea about online rumour-spreading because it is such a common thing, but taking it back to the high school grapevine really puts it into perspective. My personal favourite is Troye Sivan’s line, I literally laugh at him saying “it’s fucking sick” every single time. It also sets her up as the Regina George of the music video – the ultra-popular ultra-pretty girl who can get whoever and whatever she wants, which I think is interesting because it could spark a debate about whether Regina or Cady is the main character in the Mean Girls movie. It’s also interesting because Regina doesn’t seem to be the one to be heartbroken over boys, she was always the one with a backup. Why I think Regina is chosen as the parallel, though, is to use the Burn Book – it was always hers, and Ariana’s using it to dish on what happened in her past relationships. Also a moment of appreciation for Alexa Luria as Karen Smith in the hallway scene, she doesn’t even get a closeup. Karen was always far too underrated.
Logically, next is Kris Jenner as the Cool Mom, but I’m going to wait for that. Best casting choice ever, though. Matt Bennett in the Bring It On bathroom scene is probably the cutest nod back to Victorious ever, and Elizabeth Gillies as Cady Heron looks literally exactly the same as Lindsay Lohan it’s scary. The 13 Going On 30 scene with the toy house fits perfectly with the song – the whole third verse is about her finally settling down and thanking her family for everything they’ve done for her. And now onto my favourite part of the music video; the Legally Blonde bits. In that first sequence as Ariana steps out of the car, she turns me straight for a good 30 seconds. She is so stunning and I think it’s a testament both to the original movie and the message of the song – I can be beautiful and look amazing but still be super smart and emotionally deep. The iconic nail salon scene is the perfect transition here, Jennifer Coolidge saying “have you ever gone out with someone with no teeth at all?” as the music cuts is the funniest thing, and it balances out this really deep song by keeping it fun and a little bit lighthearted. Same goes for the bend-and-snap’s. This whole music video is built on referencing 2000s movies, which is what a lot of Ariana Grande’s audience grew up watching, and the way that she does it, which is by including a lot of the iconic bits while still leaving some of the more obscure references to those of us who have watched those movies religiously (me), works out amazingly. And finally, a word on Kris Jenner. “Thank you next, bitch.” She is perfect as the Cool Mom character, and the fact that she’s featured in the Christmas Talent Show is even more perfect because of her “you’re doing great sweetie” meme. In the final three seconds of the music video, she steals the whole show, and it’s honestly a testament to her career as a talent manager of the Kardashians. You know she built that family’s reputation and fame from the ground up, and props to her. Of all the casting choices made in this music video, hers was the best. Hands down.
Now that I’ve ranted and raved about the whole music video, I want to come back to what I first said. This song is about moving on from your ex’s, but still keeping a positive mentality and being thankful for what they’ve given you and how you’ve grown from them. I think the reason Ariana chose to parody all these 2000s rom-coms is that, for the most part, they’re classic stories of how the girl ends up with a boy. However, they’re all also about a strong female lead who doesn’t really need a man to get where they got, and Ariana is doing her bit to rewrite these stories into just feminine power, which is something I can fully get behind. To finish this, there are two things I want to say. The first is that, as of writing this post I am extremely single and that, even though it may change, this post is still a smash. And, on that note;