Ariana Grande's new single doesn't deserve the hype.
"Thank u, next" is a bad song.
Know Your Meme
Listen, we know Ariana Grande is having a moment, and we're into the female empowerment kick she's on, but "Thank u, next" is the mediocre soundtrack to the AIM chatroom of the meanest girls in 7th grade. From the exploitative lyrics to the album cover that looks like a ransom note made by a prepubescent Belieber, to the lazy production, the song's only strength is the timing of its release. Ariana Grande's break up with SNL's Pete Davidson made headlines all over the world and Grande's producers knew that a song about the breakup had to be released before the high profile split lost media traction. So they cobbled together three-and-a-half minutes of uncreative, emotionally vacant, computer written "music" and launched it into the world like bubblegum-scented nerve gas. They knew the publicity surrounding Grande's love life would bring in the streams no matter what the song sounded like, and they were right. The track already has a massive 88,251,724 plays on Spotify, and a
viral meme created from the lyrics.
The most interesting — if distasteful — part of the song is in the first verse, when Grande lists her exes, saying:
"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."
"Malcolm" refers to Grande's ex boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, who recently died. "Cause he was an angel" is an obvious allusion to the rapper's death, and hits an uncomfortably classless note when included in a song meant as a rebuke of ex-boyfriends. After this verse — which is a grocery store tabloid set to synths — the song is essentially over as far as substantial content goes, and leans on Ariana Grande's vocal trills, which frankly, come off as a played out gimmick.
Even the title of the song is infuriating. A song title written in text-speak serves no purpose except to thrust listeners further into the post-reality technological-hellhole of American culture. In that sense, the title is actually pretty self-aware, as everything about the song is as plastic and contrived as an iMessage-based relationship. Even Grande's usually impressive vocals feel overproduced and smothered by the will of computers.
But, perhaps, "Thank u, next" is the perfect song for our fucked up time. It takes a human experience as subject matter, edits out any unpalatable, complicated humanity, turns it into something easily consumed, and draws a narcissistic conclusion that can be summarized as, "I'm great and my pain is never my fault." The song is a lazy condemnation of the genre, proving right anyone who ever said pop music left art behind a long time ago. "Thank u, next" is a product meant to stroke egos and give the illusion of emotional commiseration, but ultimately leaves the listener without catharsis or satisfaction.
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The newly passed "BTS Law" allows K-pop stars to defer mandatory military service.
This week South Korea's National Assembly passed a law that is sure to have BTS ARMY cheering them on.
Generally speaking, all South Korean men are required to spend at least 18 months enlisted in the military, with the final cut-off for entry at age 28. But the new legislation — informally referred to as "The BTS Law" — will allow K-pop stars who meet certain requirements to defer until the age of 30.
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"I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot."
Academy Award-nominated actor Elliot Page has come out as transgender.
Page, known for his roles in films like Juno, Whip It, and Inception, announced his coming out in a social media post today. "Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot," he wrote. "I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life."
Every year, Spotify listeners win out over devotees to other streaming platforms when they unveil their Spotify Wrapped playlists — a data driven analysis of what the year sounded like.
And while this year's personal Spotify Wrapped summaries are still loading, Spotify just released their data for their most streamed global music and podcasts of the year.
Announced the week following the Grammy nominations, Spotify Wrapped feels like vindication for artists who were snubbed by the awards committee, like The Weeknd and Halsey.
The summary also analyzed trends of when and how people were listening to content, noting increased popularity in nostalgia-themed playlists and work-from-home-themed playlists. Spotify users were understandably playing music from home more, which even caused an uptick in streaming music from gaming consoles. Listeners also tuned obsessively into wellness podcasts like never before.
After months of on and off again speculation, Rihanna and A$AP Rocky seem to be dating.
Obviously, this is good news if it's true. Can you imagine? For the coordinating outfits alone, I need it.
There have been a ton of icky white rappers over the years, but these take the cake.
On this day in 1990, Vanilla Ice's "Under Pressure" reboot "Ice, Ice Baby" debuted at No. 1 in the UK, kickstarting a Billboard run that would soon carry over to the states and invigorate a fleeting love for Vanilla Ice and his whole...vibe.
Of course, we all know how it ends. Vanilla Ice's credibility and career unraveled as quickly as it began. "Ice Ice Baby" took on a satirical identity larger than its creator, all while Robert Van Wrinkle refused to pay royalties (or even give a shout-out) to Freddie Mercury and David Bowie despite liberally sampling the track's true creators. Ice instead tried to cultivate a hollow rap identity, one where he was a hardened former-gang member from Miami and not a middle-class teen from a Texas suburb. The chorus of the song then came under fire by a black fraternity, who accused Vanilla Ice of ripping off their fraternal chant ("ice ice baby/ too cold, too cold.")