Ariana Grande (‘Thank U, Next’): The reviews are in, and it’s the best album of her career

It’s been a good couple of weeks for Ariana Grande. Despite clashing with the Grammys executive producer over a performance that never ended up happening, she won her first ever Grammy at that event: Best Pop Album for “Sweetener.” Over the same weekend she released her followup album, “Thank U, Next,” which topped the Billboard 200 albums chart and gave her the top three songs on the Hot 100 singles chart. And if all that wasn’t enough, music critics have said a sincere thank you to “Thank U,” which has gotten the best reviews of Grande’s career.

It’s unusual enough to release two albums within six months of each other (“Sweetener” dropped just last August), but it’s especially impressive to achieve two personal-best MetaCritic scores in a row. “Sweetener” scored 81 based on 20 reviews, and just a few months later she has improved on that with a score of 86 based on 22 reviews as of this writing. Almost all of those reviews are positive. Only one review is designated as mixed. None are negative.

So now that Grande has won Best Pop Album at the Grammys, maybe she’ll move on to Album of the Year in 2020. Check out some of those reviews below, and join the discussion on this and more with your fellow music fans in our forums.

Mikael Wood (Los Angeles Times): “Swagger is definitely what Grande is selling on ‘Thank U, Next,’ which arrives less than six months after her last album, ‘Sweetener.’ Like that one, which followed the horrific terrorist bombing of Grande’s 2017 concert at England’s Manchester Arena, ‘Thank U, Next’ finds the singer reflecting on hard times … [it] flaunts Grande’s emotional healing; it’s suffused with the joy of discovering that what didn’t kill her really did make her stronger.”

Steven J. Horowitz (Variety): “At a critical stance, ‘Thank U, Next’ is a lip-smacking dish … It doesn’t feel rushed, especially given the six-month gap from ‘Sweetener,’ each track idealized and given a chef’s fingertip kiss. She’s as vocally demure as she was on ‘Sweetener,’ to great effect: her voice sounds vibrant and prominent, without the flash, nothing to prove but with all the flair … ‘Thank U, Next’ stands as what promises to be one of the best pop releases this year.”

Jon Caramanica (New York Times): “‘Thank U, Next’ was reportedly made in around two weeks, and it shows, but in the right ways — there is less deadening polish on the vocal production, and Grande demonstrates a new comfort toying with style and approach … ‘Thank U, Next’ proves that Grande, too, has many other places to roam.”

Anna Gaca (Spin): “With her previous album ‘Sweetener’ barely six months old, Grande has zoomed ahead, determined to keep the hits as timely as the headlines. And yet ‘Thank U, Next’ feels less like savvy marketing by an of-the-moment star — though it’s that, too — than a diamond-encrusted tiara atop the head of a new pop queen.”

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