On Nov. 2 Ariana Grande teased the lyrics to her new single, “thank u, next.” She tweeted the lyrics of her new song in response to Pete Davidson’s SNL comment about a whirlwind romance with singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers on Nov. 1. Grande retorted with a simple, “thank u, next.”
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) November 1, 2018
The original tweet has since been deleted, but the lyric teases remain, including the first full lyric tease: “cause look what I found …. ain’t no need for searching and for that I say…. thank u, next.” After the first tweet she continued to follow-up with more lyric teases to the new song, as well as replying to fans’ questions and support about the single with “thank u, next.”
thank u, vote
— Twitter (@Twitter) November 5, 2018
Since her original tweet and song release, Grande’s “thank u, next” comment has racked up over 1.5 million tweets from users containing the simple and sweet lyric. From people showing their support, to her lyrics finds their way into meme culture, the tweet has gained significant relevance in today’s pop culture.
Grande has since tweeted that she was not intending to throw any shade on Davidson, which has since been deleted. However, that does not mean her response to his joke is any less of a call out.
While Grande’s lyrics to “thank u, next” are about celebrating the self-love she has gained, she is not the first artist to call out past and/or current relationships through song lyrics. This has also become a trend for celebrities to come after their exes through social media, which Grande has done before with her ex Jai Brooks.
— Jai Brooks (@JaiBrooks1) October 7, 2013
However, “thank u, next,” takes the call out to a whole new level.
Celebrities’ approach to real-life situations can have a monumental impact on pop culture: everything from song lyrics to tweets can resonate with a celebrity’s loyal following. An entire culture can be created around fandom.
A prime example is Beyoncé’s Beyhive. Her stardom has had a major impact on an entire generation of people, with some calling her the “voice of the generation.” In this “Beyoncé culture” people literally listen and look up to her for anything. For example, when Beyoncé came out with “Lemonade” in 2016, fans flocked to the artist’s vulnerable album and reacted all over social media, relating the album back to every conceivable issue. Beyoncé has gained such a large presence that scholars have studied her work in conjunction with specific topics; one of which has created a Beyoncé and feminism course at the University of Texas.
While she is not yet larger than life like Beyoncé, Grande is beginning to form a similarly passionate following called the Arianators. “thank u, next” was tweeted with no previous context, yet fans immediately foamed at the mouth with the prospect of the tease previewing her next single, and potential fifth album. Fans also went ahead and sipped their tea while making connections to the song and her and Davidson’s recently called-off engagement.
Her tweets may have started as a clapback to Davidson, but the widespread responses to the lyrics she tweeted out and single release show her words have so much more meaning. She is preaching self-love and acceptance to fans, even after a failed engagement and the heavy loss of someone she cared about. Fans initial reaction to seeing “thank u, next” thought that the tweet was a savage way to call out Davidson, but ultimately she reminded fans that the track is actually quite the opposite.
“thank u, next” proves how massive, yet supportive, her following is, which all comes down to how she interacts with her followers and the messages she puts out for her followers to see and hear. For Grande, “thank u, next” is her way of looking back at her past relationships and how they have shaped her, but also as a way to show her followers that heartbreak and breakups do not have to lead to negative energy.
The aftermath of breakups between two celebrities is revisited daily by media outlets and through Twitter accounts. Often, these mediums do not look at the breakups through a positive lens, but rather focus on the problem and what went wrong. Grande’s message flips that on its head and promotes a healthy way of dealing with this part of life.
The tweet that lit the nation on fire marked a new chapter for Grande, who has dealt with a grotesque amount of trauma the past few months. Her message signifies a step toward healing, growth and embracing all that life throws at her.
Even through the love, patience and pain, she is taking Twitter by storm and saying thank u, next.