Ariana Grande's Thank U, Next album has fans wondering if Pete Davidson and Mac Miller are behind the lyrics
It’s been a whirlwind year for Ariana Grande.
Only six months after the release of Sweetener, the 25-year-old is back with a new full-length album. The highly anticipated record, Thank U, Next, follows an intense period in the singer’s life, which included grieving the death of ex-boyfriend Mac Miller in September, ending her engagement to Pete Davidson in October and finding new strength in her friends, as she showed in her blinged-out music video for “7 Rings.”
With the release of her latest album, Thank U, Next, fans have been speculating what — and who — each of the 12 songs are about. Here are the fan theories behind each of the tracks, and all of the comments Grande has made about them (so far.)
Before the album dropped, a fan asked Grande on Twitter what “Ghostin” was about. “Feeling badly for the person you’re with bc you love somebody else,” Grande wrote. “Feeling badly bc he can tell he can’t compare … and how i should be ghosting him.”
The lyrics — “I know that it breaks your heart when I cry again / ‘Stead of ghostin’ him” — and her tweet have led fans to think the song is about her relationship with Davidson after Miller’s passing.
The song, which drew a Twitter shout-out from the space exploration organization, seems to be about the singer being in a relationship, but still needing distance and personal space. “Baby, you know time apart is beneficial,” Grande sings. “It’s like I’m the universe and you’ll be N-A-S-A.”
When it comes to which of Grande’s relationships she’s singing about (if any), fans on Twitter are split.
The singer has remained tight-lipped about the song’s inspiration, but she wrote on Twitter that it was one of the songs she had the most fun making.
“Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored”
Grande released the music video for this song at the same time she released the full album. Riverdale’s Charles Melton and model Ariel Yasmine appear in the video, with Melton playing Grande’s love interest and Yasmine playing his girlfriend. Though the song seems to be about Grande’s desire for a man in a relationship, the video ends with the singer leaning in to kiss Yasmine, giving fans a lot to speculate about.
The singer told fans on Twitter she put this song on her album because “liked the idea of ending a more honest n vulnerable project and with like a punchline.”
Before the song was released, fans thought the song was about her Big Sean. She and the rapper called it quits in 2015 after nine months of dating, and he is now dating recording artist Jhené Aiko.
Ahead of the December release of the single, Grande told fans the song was about “a simple, beautiful love that is now (and forever) unattainable,” which led many to believe the inspiration was Miller.
Fans also pointed out that the “Imagine” lyric, “Staying up all night, order me pad thai,” may correspond with a line from Miller’s song “Cinderella”: “And when you’re hungry I can shut you up with stir fry.”
Grande hasn’t talked about the inspiration behind this song, other than Rihanna’s beauty line, Fenty Beauty. She showed her appreciation for the products in the lyric, “Highlight of my life, just like that Fenty Beauty kit.”
The stans have let the other lyrics — ”I like to f— with you just to make up with you / Cause the way you be screamin’ my name / Make me wanna make love to you” — speak for themselves.
“In My Head”
Grande opened up about this song’s meaning before its release, tweeting that it’s about “being in love w a version of somebody you’ve created in your head. Falling for someone that they are not.” Again, fans are split when it comes to which of her past public relationships the song is about.
“In My Head” begins with a voicemail from Doug Middlebrook, Grande’s close friend. Some fans believe the audio clip is from when Middlebrook called her in the midst of her split with Davidson.
Fans had a lot of different theories about which of her ex-boyfriends were the source of the “bad ideas” in the song. Many think it could be about trying to find someone new quickly to “numb the pain” of a past relationship.
Some speculated that Grande wrote the song about Ricky Alvarez, her former backup dancer, from whom she called it quits in 2016 after a year of dating.
When it comes to this track, fans agree: No matter what relationship it’s about, it might be the most relatable song on the album.
With lyrics like “Don’t want you in my bloodline, yeah / Not tryna make you all mine, yeah,” some fans think the song is about looking for a casual, short-lived relationship. Others think it’s about Davidson, and how if they went through with their engagement, he would have been added to her family.
On the heels of an emotional year, Grande sings about how she doesn’t want to have to say she’s “feeling fine” after what she’s “been through.” She references the scrutiny she’s faced in the media, and how although she “chose” to be in the spotlight and she’s “happy for the love,” she can’t “fake another smile.”
Fans didn’t have to guess much when it came to the inspiration for this song, which Grande tweeted is one of her two favorites from the album (for now.)
In the first single released from Thank U, Next, Grande again doesn’t leave much to speculate about. She specifically mentions her former partners by name (Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez, Davidson and Miller), and she sings about what each of those relationships taught her.
It’s pretty clear that this single is about Grande’s important female friendships. After the album was released, she thanked her friends and her fans on Twitter, who she said “saved [her] life.”
She opened up to Billboard about the day she purchased seven Tiffany diamond rings for her best friends. “You know how when you’re waiting at Tiffany’s they give you lots of champagne?” she told the publication. “They got us very tipsy, so we bought seven engagement rings, and when I got back to the studio I gave everybody a friendship ring. That’s why we have these, and that’s where the song idea came from.”