Ariana Grande's 20 most popular songs, ranked

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for AGAriana Grande headlined Coachella in 2019.

Ariana Grande has been a mainstay on the Billboard Hot 100 since “The Way” was released in 2013.

But following the release of her 2018 album “Sweetener,” Grande reached a new, astronomical level of popularity. At one point, she even held all three top spots on the chart – becoming just the second artist to do so, after The Beatles, in the history of the Hot 100.

From the five studio albums in Grande’s impressive discography,20 of her tracks have become top 20 hits. Insider ranked those songs, from worst to best.


20. “Bang Bang” by Jessie J featuring Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj

Jessie J/YouTubeJessie J and Ariana Grande in the 2014 ‘Bang Bang’ video.

Chart history: Peaked at No. 3

“Bang Bang” is such a dated, tired kind of hit that Grande’s fans have begged her to never perform it again.


19. “Focus”

Ariana Grande/YouTubeAriana Grande in the 2015 ‘Focus’ video.

Chart history: Peaked at No. 7

“Focus” has all the makings of a fun, summer bop, but it’s also a clear attempt to recreate the magic of “Problem” – with mixed, watered-down results.


18. “Don’t Call Me Angel” with Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey

Ariana Grande/YouTubeAriana Grande, Lana Del Rey, and Miley Cyrus in the 2019 music video for ‘Don’t Call Me Angel.’

Chart history: Peaked at No. 13

“Don’t Call Me Angel” certainly has its strengths – including Cyrus flipping gender stereotypes with the lyric, “Keep your pretty mouth shut, boy,” and Del Rey’s entire verse.

But a collaboration between three of pop’s most powerful women really should have packed more of a punch. The interpolation of the “Charlie’s Angels” theme works fairly well, but the song’s production beyond that often feels hollow.


17. “Boyfriend” featuring Social House

Ariana Grande/YouTubeAriana Grande, Mikey Foster, and Charles ‘Scootie’ Anderson in the ‘Boyfriend’ video.

Chart history: Peaked at No. 8

“Boyfriend” is a breezy, sparkling song. The collaboration with her close friends and “Thank U, Next” producers, Mikey Foster and Charles “Scootie” Anderson, feels effortless and fun – especially in the delightful music video.


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But the song, while perfect for a carefree summer afternoon with the car windows rolled down, simply isn’t as strong as many of Grande’s beloved hits.


16. “Break Free”

Ariana Grande/YouTubeAriana Grande in the 2014 ‘Break Free’ music video.

Chart history: Peaked at No. 4

“Break Free” is beloved by Grande fans, particularly because its theme resonates with her LGBTQ base. And for its time, the Zedd-produced song was the perfect way to stake Grande’s place on the charts. It proved that her success wasn’t all thanks to Max Martin’s brilliant production on “Problem.”

But that doesn’t mean “Break Free” aged spectacularly well. Years later, its heavy focus on EDM can be very grating, and its lyrics are laughably empty compared to Grande’s more recent efforts.


15. “NASA”

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Ariana GrandeAriana Grande performs ‘NASA’ on March 18, 2019 during the ‘Sweetener World Tour.’

Chart history: Peaked at No. 17

On any other album, “NASA” would be the highest of highlights. But on “Thank U, Next,” it pales in comparison to masterful songs like “Needy,” “Fake Smile,” and “In My Head.”

Of course, that’s not to say the song isn’t good. It’s an ideal arena song – seemingly designed for fans to scream along with and dance to. Plus, its extended space metaphor fits Grande’s current brand perfectly. But these strengths make “NASA” a perfect song for this exact moment in Grande’s career. We don’t see it having the same lasting impact as some of her more iconic tracks.


14. “Love Me Harder” featuring The Weeknd

Ariana Grande/YouTubeAriana Grande and The Weeknd in the 2014 ‘Love Me Harder’ music video.

Chart history: Peaked at No. 7

“Love Me Harder” is an excellent example of Grande’s ear for R&B-inspired hooks and artist features. The Weeknd’s voice – especially when it mingles with Grande’s airy vocals in the second chorus – fits seamlessly into the heady, sultry tone of the song.

Mere months ago, “Love Me Harder” would have been placed much higher on our ranking. But now, it suffers purely by virtue of Grande’s impressive catalogue and her continual growth as an artist. When stacked against some of her more inventive singles, particularly the increasing number that boast R&B influences, its replay value doesn’t hold up quite as well.


13. “7 Rings”

Ariana Grande/YouTubeAriana Grande in the 2019 ‘7 Rings’ music video.

Chart history: Peaked at No. 1 for eight weeks

“7 Rings” is, undoubtedly, a bop. It showcased a new side of Grande: a “savage” superstar at the height of her fame, a liberated woman who gets what she wants (and who can actually rap).

Seeing Grande embrace her power, especially after experiencing so much pain, was refreshing. But since “Thank U, Next” had already made the perfect argument for celebrating gratitude and growth, the icy tone of “7 Rings” felt slightly out of touch – not to mention how its catchy sound and carefree thesis were corrupted by accusations of plagiarism and aspects of cultural appropriation.


12. “The Way” featuring Mac Miller

Ariana Grande/YouTubeMac Miller and Ariana Grande in the 2013 music video for ‘The Way.’

Chart history: Peaked at No. 9

You’d expect Grande’s second-ever single, her first hit, to feel dated in 2019. But the song still feels like a masterful combination of Grande’s R&B instincts and her knack for infectious pop.

Mac Miller’s feature, a stroke of inspiration at the time, naturally carries even more emotional weight now. His contributions helped cement the song in fans’ hearts, but even more so in the landscape of genre-bending, boundary-pushing pop.


11. “Dangerous Woman”

Ariana Grande/YouTubeAriana Grande in the 2016 ‘Dangerous Woman’ music video.

Chart history: Peaked at No. 8

“Dangerous Woman,” the Grammy-nominated title track from Grande’s third album, marked a turning point in Grande’s career. It seemed like her public image had finally begun to align with her sense of self.

As Grande grew into her feminist vision, her sound expanded to match: empowering lyrics, ambitious arrangements, and sexual liberation at the forefront.


10. “One Last Time”

Ariana Grande/YouTubeMatt Bennett and Ariana Grande in the 2015 ‘One Last Time’ music video.

Chart history: Peaked at No. 13

From the sparkling three-note synth line that introduces the track to the powerful chorus that swells along with her voice, “One Last Time” is a classic Ariana Grande song.

Unlike some of her other electronic hits, “One Last Time” is layered but still minimal, both ambitious and emotional, allowing for Grande’s virtuosic vocals to shine.


9. “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored”

Ariana Grande/YouTubeAriel Yasmine, Ariana Grande, and Charles Melton in the 2019 video for ‘Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored.’

Chart history: Peaked at No. 2

If nothing else, “Break Up With Your Girlfriend” is a lesson in image control. After baring her soul for 11 straight songs, the closing track of “Thank U, Next” finally sees Grande cut loose.

“i think it’s funny,” Grande said of the track. “i liked the idea of ending a more honest n vulnerable project and with like a punchline.”

As Rob Sheffield wrote for Rolling Stone, “It’s the perfect way to end this album – after crying her tears and screaming her screams and feeling her feels, Ari flirts with the bartender on her way out, ready for more punishment.”


8. “Problem” featuring Iggy Azalea

Ariana Grande/YouTubeAriana Grande in the 2014 ‘Problem’ music video.

Chart history: Peaked at No. 2

“Problem” is arguably the entire reason why Nicki Minaj was justified in rapping, “Ariana run pop,” in 2016. The dynamic, jazzy single helped define Grande as a force to be reckoned with on the charts, and as someone who always has her finger on the pulse of musical trends.

In addition to dishing out some pretty solid life advice, “Problem” has so much going for it, as John Walker described for MTV when it dropped: “Ari’s on-point vocals to the ‘Get Right’-meets-‘Talk Dirty’ horns – and let’s not forget that Ying Yang Twins-esque whispering.”


7. “Breathin”

Ariana Grande/YouTubeHannah Lux Davis directed Ariana Grande’s 2018 ‘Breathin’ music video.

Chart history: Peaked at No. 12

“Breathin” sees Grande confronting her anxiety and finding beauty in the process. The song, which effortlessly sparkles and soars, is the most radio-friendly version of that thesis (as opposed to the “Sweetener” standout “Get Well Soon,” which is a masterpiece but was never destined to top the chart).


6. “Side to Side” featuring Nicki Minaj

Ariana Grande/YouTubeAriana Grande and Nicki Minaj in the 2016 ‘Side to Side’ music video.

Chart history: Peaked at No. 4

“Yours Truly,” “My Everything,” and the single “Dangerous Woman” had illustrated Grande as a pop star with attitude, R&B influences, and Broadway-worthy vocal riffs. “Focus” and “Into You” were pure pop songs.

So what would Grande bring to the table next? A reggae/dancehall banger, of course. Simply because she can.

“The way we always approach it is like, her and I would talk a lot about what would be different,” songwriter Savan Kotecha revealed to Rolling Stone about his process creating music with Grande.

“She’s the best singer in the world in her generation. ‘What’s a melody language that’s no one heard you do?'” he continued. “Mariah Carey never did a reggae song, let’s do a reggae song: ‘Side to Side’ is born.”


5. “No Tears Left to Cry”

Ariana Grande/YouTubeThe 2018 ‘No Tears Left to Cry’ music video was directed by Dave Meyers.

Chart history: Peaked at No. 3

“No Tears Left to Cry,” the lead single from Grande’s Grammy-winning album “Sweetener,” was a bold choice to introduce fans to her new era. It teases you with a ballad but suddenly surges, adopting a cheekily unconventional structure that mixes spoken word poetry and impressive vocal riffs.

“No Tears” may have surprised fans at first, but Grande warned us: She was, indeed, “pickin’ it up.” It’s Grande’s most inventive song to date and flawlessly illustrates “Sweetener’s” frothy, boldly optimistic state of mind.

Given the devastating situation that Grande had experienced the year prior, “No Tears” is almost psychotically positive. But, as a testament to Grande’s strength and gravity, it never feels unauthentic. When she invites us to join her on “another mentality,” we accept.


4. “Into You”

Ariana Grande/YouTubeDon Benjamin and Ariana Grande in the 2016 ‘Into You’ music video.

Chart history: Peaked at No. 13

It’s difficult to translate the magic of “Into You.” The pulsing, slow-burning single is Grande’s best dance floor triumph. When it hits you, it lights up your whole body.

The magic may have been best described by Grande’s fellow singer-songwriter, Lorde, who called the song “maybe the closest thing to pop perfection i’ve ever heard.”

“people truly just weren’t ready to comprehend that many layers of emotion,” she later wrote on Twitter, trying to explain why the song didn’t top the chart. “it’s like ‘run away with me’ it’s 2 much for the half-open heart.”


3. “God Is a Woman”

Ariana Grande/YouTubeAriana Grande in the 2018 ‘God Is a Woman’ music video.

Chart history: Peaked at No. 8

“God Is a Woman” is a truly sublime track. It’s easily Grande at her most assertive. She’s hungry for worship and totally deserving, no longer demanding to be part of the conversation: Grande is the conversation, and she uses her power for liberation.

As Grande herself put it, during a 2018 interview with The Fader: “I’ve always just been like a shiny, singing, 5-6-7-8, sexy-dance, sexy thing. But now it’s like, ‘OK, issa bop – but issa message. Issa bop but also has chunks of my soul in it. Here you go.”


2. “Needy”

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for AGAriana Grande performs on May 7, 2019 during the ‘Sweetener World Tour.’

Chart history: Peaked at No. 14

“Needy” is the tender, vulnerable heart of “Thank U, Next,”Grande’s best and most personal album to date.

It evokes the impending doom of a failing relationship: apologies sent via text, going to bed without saying goodnight, the lonely echo of an empty apartment. It clocks in at under three minutes, and yet manages to synthesise a veritable feast of emotions: longing, guilt, resentment, desire, quiet dread. Put simply, “Needy” is mesmerising, acting as both confession and catharsis.


1. “Thank U, Next”

Ariana Grande/YouTubeAriana Grande channeled ‘Legally Blonde’ for her 2018 ‘Thank U, Next’ video.

Chart history: Peaked at No. 1 for seven weeks

“Thank U, Next” is Grande’s magnum opus. Given the very public relationship drama that preceded its release, the hungry masses would have been perfectly satisfied with a kiss-off anthem, even if it had been shallow or self-indulgent.

Instead, Grande channeled her momentum – operating within the brightest spotlight of her career – to craft something that felt more like a philosophical statement.

As Rob Sheffield wrote for Rolling Stone, “no one was expecting more than a quickie celebrity-shade novelty, yet it turned out to be a ballad with astonishing grace and resonance.”

She transcended every expectation and implicit restriction that had been placed upon her. For a song that literally name-drops her exes, the message is sharply universal. For anyone that’s been through a breakup, Grande’s gratitude and resilience truly hits home.

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