Ariana Grande's Good New Song 'thank u, next' Is Now a Good Meme, Too
Her latest track is a powerful anthem about self-love. It's also a potent meme.
Photo of Grande via Wikimedia Commons
This weekend was a whole thing for people who care about famous people. TL;DR: Pete Davidson made a joke about his failed relationships in a promo for Saturday Night Live, so Ariana Grande did a bunch of tweets, then unexpectedly dropped a song about her exes called “thank u, next” right before Davidson hosted SNL. Airhorn!
If you want a more detailed breakdown of all that #drama, go to a different website. Anyway, the supposed back-and-forth isn’t even the critical news here. Here’s what’s important: Ariana Grande made a compelling (and catchy) case for self-love, and people made some excellent, tender memes about it.
As far as the song itself is concerned, I think Noisey’s Lauren O’Neill put it perfectly:
More than dealing with Grande’s two very recent, very public losses in a constructive way, however, I think “thank u, next” is a song about making the decision to be alone.... It’s true that being single can suck in our culture, and certainly, it’s not desirable to feel undesirable, but this song is a reminder that you don’t have to let someone else grow in your light while you’re still broadening out yourself; “next” can simply mean whatever happens now, and being open to whatever new phase of who we are is on its way. “thank u, next” is an invitation to let life in, and on a pop landscape which is full of romance and relationships, Grande’s indomitable voice resounds especially right now.
As a fellow Cancer like Ariana, I am constantly falling in love with new flames, be they Tinder dates, people at bars, or large rocks that at first glance take on a vaguely human shape. It’s nice to be reminded that I am enough— this song really resonated with me, and clearly hit home with the internet as well.
And now, as they do with most hits nowadays, come the sweet, sweet memes. Besides stans rightfully stanning and people wondering who Grande's therapist is, Twitter quickly turned three lines from the song’s pre-chorus that are probably about her exes (“one taught me love/one taught me patience/and one taught me pain”) into a lighthearted meme that can apply to pretty much any fandom.
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Peter Slattery is VICE's resident beleaguered meme correspondent. Follow him on Twitter.