- Ariana Grande is a Grammy-winning singer whose career spans nine years and six studio albums.
- She has some truly iconic hit singles like “Thank U, Next” and “Into You,” as well as sublime deep cuts like “Everytime” and “Only 1.”
- Most recently, “Nasty” and “POV” – the ninth and 14th tracks on Grande’s newest album, “Positions” – joined the ranks of her best-ever songs.
- However, Grande has also delivered some less impressive songs. Many fans were underwhelmed by “Blazed” and “Focus,” for example, and her early girl-power hit “Bang Bang” is deeply annoying.
- Insider considered listenability, lyrical quality, production value, fan belovedness, and critical reception to come up with the 17 best and 17 worst songs of the singer’s career thus far.
- Songs with Grande as a featured artist were not factored into these rankings.
The following year, she released her debut single â€” and less than three years later, Grande had seamlessly pivoted to a full-time music career. Though it took some time to carve her own unique space in a crowded industry, she now boasts six studio albums, 11 Grammy nominations, and a reputation as an illustrious, fearless pop icon.
Insider weighed factors like listenability, lyrical quality, production value, and critic reception to come up with the 17 best and 17 worst songs of the singer’s career thus far.
(Note: Songs with Grande as a featured artist were not factored into these rankings.)
“POV” is the emotional summit of Grande’s sixth album, “Positions.”
“POV,” the final song on Grande’s sixth album “Positions,” is musical dessert. Placed ingeniously at the end of tracklist, it leaves you with a sweet taste and rosy-cheeked emotional fullness.
Lyrically, “POV” may be the best ballad in Grande’s entire catalogue. It’s sentimental and expressive without feeling pretentious (“How you touch my soul from the outside? / Permeate my ego and my pride”); conversational and yet poetic (“I’d love to see me from your point of view”). Grande nudges you to remember her past trauma and pain, but remains radiantly hopeful, like a slowly blooming flower.
Song highlight: The rainy sounds effects imbue the song with a beautifully textured, meditative energy.
If you like this, listen to: “West Side,” “Obvious”
“Nasty” proves that Grande’s singular vocal ability can elevate any song template.
The dialogue surrounding “Nasty” has focused too much on its filthy premise and not nearly enough on how much it slaps.
The song pairs a misty, shimmery, almost-spooky landscape with an elastic trap beat. “Nasty” bounces and glides. In my first-listen review, I compared its vibe to “a mist that makes you tipsy if you walk through it, or a very glamorous ghost.”
Sprinkled with Grande’s casual whistle notes, “Nasty” is an effortless display of taste and talent.
That she can sing these horny-teenager lyrics (“Get all the homies to bounce / Switch from the bed to the couch / And get to know how I’m feelin’ inside”) and sound positively heaven-sent is a testament to Grande’s singularity. “Nasty” speaks to her power as a vocalist – as well as her confidence to step into any musical landscape, slip on any set of lyrics, and own the room.
Song highlight: “Like this pussy designed for ya” is a brilliantly unhinged phrase.
If you like this, listen to: “Safety Net”
“Thank U, Next” is Grande’s most iconic song to date.
No one else could have written “Thank U, Next.” Obviously, I mean that literally, given its intensely personal content. But more than that, on an emotional and spiritual level, only Grande – at this specific moment in her career – could have channeled this sort of irresistible charm and transcendent wisdom into a pop song with an inside joke for a title.
The cliché phrase about catching lightning in a bottle was designed for whatever brilliance coursed through Grande’s veins when she recorded this song – and then again when she found the courage to release it in its most raw, honest form. It literally changed the course of her career, and probably the essential DNA of pop music, for the rest of time.
Song highlight: Opening a song by name-dropping ex-boyfriends? Instantly iconic.
If you like this, listen to: “Boyfriend”
“Into You” is the perfect pop song.
In terms of your classic, most successful version of a “pop song” – a vibrant, catchy, open-hearted confection that induces sheer euphoria and/or an irresistible urge to dance – “Into You” is the holy grail.
Song highlight: Grande nails her low register as she purrs that perfect opening line: “I’m so into you, I can barely breathe.”
If you like this, listen to: “Knew Better / Forever Boy”
“No Tears Left to Cry” embodies everything there is to love about Grande, both as a person and an artist.
“No Tears Left to Cry” is the kind of song that makes you remember exactly where you were and who you were with when you heard it for the first time. With its sudden tempo shift and UK garage-inspired beat, the song is weird, especially compared to Grande’s previous work. Releasing it as “Sweetener’s” lead single was a choice – but only in the best possible way.
“No Tears” is intoxicating, energising, and bubbly, like a gulp of spiked soda on a hot summer day. It would be a phenomenal song by any standards, but for Grande, it was also an important moment: The single was her first release after the Manchester bombing, and instead of retreating into balladry or crooning a traditional tribute, she mourned while she soared.
“No Tears” confirmed that she hadn’t lost her optimism or range in the face of trauma, and solidified Grande as our modern poptimist prophet.
Song highlight: “Right now, I’m in a state of mind / I wanna be in like all the time.” The “like” is key.
If you like this, listen to: “Rain On Me”
“God Is a Woman” feels like a portal to an otherworldly, feminist paradise.
As I wrote when Insider ranked “God Is a Woman” at No. 80 on our list of the decade’s best songs: If “No Tears Left to Cry” was Grande’s triumphant comeback single, “God Is a Woman” let us know that we actually had it all wrong. “Sweetener” wouldn’t simply be a comeback: It was a rebirth, the work of a new-age icon approaching her creative peak – and “God Is a Woman” was its thesis statement.
Generally, Grande’s futuristic-angel album is best heard as a complete experience, with each song playing off and elevating the others. Listening to “Sweetener” feels like hopping from one cloud to another.
But “God Is a Woman” exists in its own universe, taking a detour beyond the visible atmosphere and skyrocketing into Grande’s vividly feminine paradise.
Song highlight: The choir of Grande voices that closes the song truly brings it to another level.
If you like this, listen to: “Dangerous Woman”
“Needy” is the beating heart of Grande’s best, most intimate album.
We previously named “Needy” one of the nine best songs released in 2019 – though truthfully, that feels woefully inadequate. It’s one of the best slow-pop songs in recent memory and easily one of the brightest gems in Grande’s catalogue.
“Needy” operates on a level beyond lyrics or production; it creates an entire mood, a shift in the atmosphere, behaving more like an emotional moment or a memory than a song. It feels like you’re sitting with Grande, hearts beating and chests tightened, as she pens a late-night diary entry. She makes “needy” sound like a curse word and a prayer.
Song highlight: The evocative parallel of “Tell me how good it feels to be needed,” versus, “I know it feels so good to be needed.”
If you like this, listen to: “Imagine” and “Ghostin”
“R.E.M” is shimmering, warm, and brilliantly understated.
Pharrell’s glittering production on “R.E.M.” does wonders for Grande’s style. It allows her voice to remain the focus, but more sunlit than spotlit. She uses warm and tender tones rarely flexed in her earlier albums, which tend to stay dominated by (equally impressive but) far less subtle vocal runs.
Here are some images that spring to mind when I listen to this song: a warm summer breeze; cotton candy that doesn’t taste disgusting; the sparkly eyes of anime characters; Monet’s water lilies. It’s like scrolling through a very nicely curated Tumblr feed, but for your ears instead of your eyes.
Song highlight: “Excuse me, um… I love you.”
If you like this, listen to: “Goodnight n Go”
Lyrically, “In My Head” is undoubtedly one of Grande’s strongest songs ever.
There are so many vivid, deliciously intentional details in this song that it’s hard to pick a favourite: the tough love from Grande’s longtime friend, Doug Middlebrook; the specific mention of “Gucci tennis shoes,” which feels like a subtle jab at Pete Davidson’s “scumbro” aesthetic; the Biblical reference to Cain and Abel.
“In My Head” also features some incredibly sharp production. It seamlessly blends elements of pop, trap, and R&B, hitting hard without feeling obvious or effortful.
Song highlight: The tonal switch in the bridge adds another layer of depth and urgency. Plus, it features the song’s most clever and relatable line: “I saw your potential without seeing credentials.”
If you like this, listen to: “Leave Me Lonely”
“Get Well Soon” is an astonishing artistic statement.
“Get Well Soon” is easily the most ambitious song in Grande’s catalogue – and it’s impossible to overstate how magnificently it paid off.
The “Sweetener” album closer is a shining example of the singer’s artistry. It’s truly unlike anything else, both in terms of production and thematic resonance; it shows what she can really do when she’s unconcerned with traditional song structures, focused on healing, and provided plenty of soil to root and bloom.
There is enough depth, nuance, and emotion weaved into the track’s five minutes to saturate an entire album. And every layer – every celestial chord and hidden harmony and hypnotic “yuh” – is designed to swirl together and feel like a healing experience, a sonic embrace. When Grande chirps, “I’m with you, I’m with you, I’m with you,” you can tell she means it.
Song highlight: “You can feel it, feel it.” Because you really can.
If you like this, listen to: “Honeymoon Avenue”
“Be Alright” is a fan favourite, for good reason.
Although “Be Alright” never truly got its due – a music video, radio promotion, etc. – it’s impossible to imagine an Ariana Grande concert without a crisply choreographed performance of her most accessibly optimistic song.
“Be Alright” is fairy-like, weightless, and an absolutely essential member of Grande’s discography; an invaluable element of any Grande-inspired playlist. For this fandom, it’s like an organ or a limb.
Song highlight: The subtle, anti-gravity drop that comes in the chorus, right after Grande’s first assurance that “we’re gonna be alright.”
If you like this, listen to: “Sweetener” and “Successful”
“Only 1” is timeless.
When Grande performed “Only 1” during a live BBC special in 2018, tweets with the video began circulating, many expressing excitement that she’d teased a new song.
Now, despite complaints of “locals,” it’s unfair to expect every fan to know an artist’s discography top to bottom. What strikes me most about those tweets is how modern, how innovative, how very refreshing “Only 1” would sound if it had sat untouched for the past six years and Grande released it for the first time today. Or any day, really. It never gets old.
Song highlight: The vocal run in the chorus: “No I can’t / BEEeee yoOURr only one.”
If you like this, listen to: “Tattooed Heart”
“Fake Smile” is a hard-earned reclamation.
“F— a fake smile” is hardly a radio-friendly hook, but that’s the whole point; Grande rejects every expectation of a squeaky-clean pop star, every sexist snicker to “smile more,” and reclaims her grief as a triumph.
Song highlight: The interpolation of Wendy Rene’s “After Laughter (Comes Tears),” most famously sampled by the Wu-Tang Clan, gracefully highlights the album’s debt to soul, R&B, and Black artists.
If you like this, listen to: “Bad Idea” and “Bloodline”
Put simply, “Everytime” slaps.
“Everytime” is such a clear yet underappreciated highlight on “Sweetener.”
The song feels like a conversation that you’d have with your best friend, or a drunken monologue in the back of an Uber: “You get high and call on the regular / I get weak and fall like a teenager,” Grande sings, half-frustrated and half-defiant. “I get drunk, pretend that I’m over it / Self-destruct, show up like an idiot.”
Set to a recklessly fun, trap-infused beat, it’s impossible not to get swept up in the whole experience – much like Grande gets swept up in her toxic patterns. It’s a striking moment of self-reflection, and yet, she’s not exactly vowing to make a change. She doesn’t sound preachy, or defeatist, or pretentiously self-aware. She sounds like a person who’s figuring it out and having fun at the same time.
“Everytime” takes a situation so familiar, so relatable for many of Grande’s 20-something female fans, and turns it into a straight-up banger.
Song highlight: I’m a sucker for a song with an unobvious song title. Calling it “Back to You” would have stripped some of its magic away.
If you like this, listen to: “Bad Decisions”
“Baby I” is the crown jewel of Grande’s debut album, “Yours Truly.”
“Baby I” is clearly the product of Grande’s early obsessions and stylistic crutches – old Hollywood glamour, retro Mariah Carey, a touch of Broadway drama, “Dreamgirls” with a youthful twist – but it still manages to feel dynamic.
While many songs on “Yours Truly” can feel dated, impersonal, or a touch too Broadway these days, “Baby I” bears early evidence of Grande’s evolution. She stretches her voice and darts between styles, flitting through a pseudo-rap delivery in the chorus (“But every time I try to say it, words, they only complicate it”) and letting some attitude leak through in the bridge.
We all know Grande can out-sing the other girls; her best songs don’t just rely on breezy verses and impressive falsetto, but also show off some risk and personality.
Song highlight: Mac Miller, then just Grande’s close friend and collaborator, convinced her to release “Baby I” as her debut album’s second single, which is just so cute.
If you like this, listen to: “The Way” and “You’ll Never Know”
“Thinking Bout You” combines dazzling vocals with atmospheric production.
“Thinking Bout You” was the perfect way to close “Dangerous Woman,” an album ostensibly designed to showcase Grande’s womanhood. The song acts as a grounding force, particularly at the end of such an eclectic tracklist, and leaves you with a feeling of gravity and maturity.
The great power of “Thinking Bout You” lies in its gradual build. The heady, thumping first verse gives way to Grande’s majestic vocals, then to a twinkling chorus. The song moves in waves, finally cresting in the cathartic bridge, which ends like a burst of lightning from an overcast sky.
The song combines delicate melancholia and enigmatic, suggestive lyrics to create a swelling, freeing experience. Whether it’s about sex or late-night nostalgia or something else entirely, “Thinking Bout You” is a remarkable feat of detail-oriented production and emotional edging.
Song highlight: The swell of synths that follow and envelop the bridge’s final line: “But at least I have the memory.”
If you like this, listen to: “Adore”
“One Last Time” feels at once spacious, uplifting, and melancholic.
“One Last Time” is a truly one-of-a-kind song. Like any great mid-2010s pop hit, it boasts a bright, confident hook and EDM-inspired synths – but it’s also an exquisite cocktail of emotion.
It glides and sparkles like a radio-friendly bop, so it may leave you feeling very hopeful, but could just as easily make you cry. “One Last Time” practically vibrates with sincerity; it’s like a three-minute therapy session.
Of course, the song’s gravity increased when “One Last Time” was re-released as a charity single in 2017 to raise money for the Manchester bombing victims. After Grande and her friends performed the song at the end of One Love Manchester, fans adopted “One Last Time” as a symbol of resilience and radical empathy.
Song highlight: Opening a song with a confession, “I was a liar, I gave in to the fire,” is so tender and admirably bold.
If you like this, listen to: “Breathin”
“Stuck With U” is forgettable.
“Stuck With U” was pretty cute when it was first released at the dawn of the coronavirus pandemic, to raise money for the First Responder Children’s Foundation.
But not only does it pale in comparison to Grande’s other high-profile collaboration in 2020, “Stuck with U” doesn’t stand out in her catalogue at all.
Although our girl did a phenomenal job tracking her vocals – and the charity component certainly adds points to the favorability scale – the song simply doesn’t have enough replay value. This particular duet seems engineered by the duo’s shared manager, or at least designed to elicit maximum attention from their combined fanbases.
There’s a reason “Stuck With U” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, then promptly dropped out of the top 10 the following week (after all the signed CDs had been purchased).
Worst offence: Justin Bieber.
Saving grace: Grande’s adorable boyfriend reveal in the music video.
“Focus” is a cheap “Problem” knockoff.
“Focus” is fairly catchy enough, but it’s such an obvious attempt to recreate the magic of “Problem” that it loses all credibility. It’s just uninspired (and nowhere near as good as “Problem”).
Worst offence: The guy saying “focus on me” in the chorus is annoying at best and grossly misheard at worst.
Saving grace: I do love trumpets in a pop song.
“Don’t Call Me Angel” should have been so much better.
“Don’t Call Me Angel” isn’t bad so much as it’s disappointing. A collaboration between Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Lana Del Rey had so much promise. These are three of the most powerful and trendsetting voices in music, after all. And yet, they delivered a deeply forgettable, uninspired single that suffered even more thanks to all its hype.
To be fair, the singers’ creative energies were surely stunted by the vibe of the 2019 “Charlie’s Angels” film, its themes, and how those were meant to be reflected in the soundtrack – but many artists, especially in recent memory, have overcome such limitations and delivered innovative, cinematic music regardless. Kendrick Lamar’s “Black Panther” soundtrack and Beyoncé’s “Lion King” soundtrack both come to mind.
Worst offence: Grande’s verse is actually the most boring out of the three.
Saving grace: All three women serve some incredible looks in the music video.
“Blazed,” featuring Pharrell Williams, had no business being the first real song on “Sweetener.”
Williams did some exceptional work with his production on “Sweetener,” and he had a major impact on the direction of the album; it seems clear that Williams helped tease something raw and untested out of Grande that allowed her to create some of the best music of her career.
Unfortunately, the only song that actually lists Williams as a featured artist is the most unnecessary three minutes in the entire tracklist. “Blazed” sounds a bit like a watered-down “Sweetener” or a duller “R.E.M.” It’s certainly not unpleasant, but if “Sweetener” has a skip, it’s this one.
Worst offence: It’s the first real song on the tracklist after the “Raindrops” intro, which undercuts the overall power of the album.
Saving grace: The song’s themes of luck and romantic awe are truly adorable, especially in the first verse: “7 billion is on the Earth / Could’ve been anywhere, but you’re here with me / Should I play lotto? What’s it worth?”
Crucial mistakes were made with “The Light Is Coming.”
“The Light Is Coming” seems to be a favourite of Grande’s, and it definitely hits different when she performs it live – but seemingly small decisions threw the studio version of the song completely off track.
Firstly, opening the song with Nicki Minaj’s verse was a mistake. It automatically puts you in a disoriented state, and Minaj does a poor job of introducing the true essence of Grande’s message.
Secondly, and most importantly, having the infamous sample (a man yelling, “You wouldn’t let anybody speak, and instead!”) repeat throughout the entire song ruins the listening experience. Once your ears are tuned to it, it’s impossible to ignore.
Worst offence: If Williams, who produced the track, had put Minaj’s verse later in the song (think: “Side to Side”) and toned down the use of the sample (like, maybe one or two uses sprinkled in for effect), “The Light is Coming” could’ve been a whole bop.
Saving grace: “The light is coming to give back everything the darkness stole” is a lovely sentiment to build a song upon, especially given “Sweetener’s” optimistic, healing tone.
“Bang Bang” just doesn’t hit like it used to.
“Bang Bang” is such a sore spot for Grande’s fans that it’s literally become a joke.
It’s been reported that Grande “hated” the song when she first recorded it, and it makes sense why; especially now, many years after it was fatally overplayed on the radio, “Bang Bang” feels incongruous with Grande’s style and personality.
“i think that sounds really nice,” Grande wrote on Twitter in 2018, when a fan asked about the possibility of a combined “Sweetener” and “Thank U, Next” tour. “lots of new materiaaaaal + oldies (the oldies we like). i mean unless y’all wanna hear bang bang again.”
When another fan replied, “GIRL I NEVER WANNA HEAR THAT S— AGAIN,” Grande agreed: “thank god. can’t wait to show this to my team.”
Worst offence: Despite how overplayed and tired it is, it will still get stuck in your head.
Saving grace: On principle, we love an all-ladies collaboration.
“Everyday,” featuring Future, is a standard trap-pop song with no real charm.
“Dangerous Woman” was released the same year that Future became the fastest solo artist to score three No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 in more than 50 years; shortly after “Everyday” was released as a single, he became the first artist in the chart’s history to achieve back-to-back No. 1 debuts in successive weeks.
All this to say: Selecting “Everyday” as a single was an obvious ploy for attention in a Future-dominated (and increasingly rap-pop-fusion-friendly) radio landscape. I don’t think it was selected for its quality, of which there is little.
The chorus is boring, the lyrics are uninventive – and against all odds, Future’s contribution makes the song worse, not better.
Worst offence: “He givin’ me that good s— / That make me not quit.” Ugh.
Saving grace: The LGBTQ representation in the song’s horny music video.
Even Grande is underwhelmed by “Touch It.”
“Touch It” feels like a filler. It doesn’t bring anything interesting lyrically; Grande covers similar feelings of longing and lust and mischief in far superior songs like “Into You,” “Greedy,” “Bad Decisions,” and the album’s title track.
The production isn’t anything to write home about, either. It’s just generally snoozy, and Grande agrees.
Worst offence: Instead of “Touch It,” Grande could’ve used those four minutes to include both versions of “Knew Better” on the “Dangerous Woman” tracklist.
Saving grace: “Remind me why we’re taking a break / It’s obviously insane / ‘Cause we both know what we want / So why don’t we fall in love?”
“Sometimes” is dull and unremarkable.
“Sometimes” isn’t a bad song by any means, but it slows the momentum of “Dangerous Woman” and feels out of place on its euphoric, anthemic tracklist.
The album’s romantic ballad quota was already fulfilled by “Moonlight” and “Thinkin Bout You,” and both of those songs have more power in one single verse than “Sometimes” has in three minutes and 47 seconds. It’s even followed by a slower, heartfelt song: the sultry “I Don’t Care,” which thrives thanks to its jazzy horns and empowered diva message.
Grande doesn’t do much to sell this song, either. She doesn’t do anything interesting with her vocals; there’s no swelling moment of catharsis or elastic vocal run to convince me that she’s really feeling it.
Worst offence: The sickly sweet “La, la, la, la, la, la, la” refrain.
Saving grace: The live version on the “Dangerous Woman Tour” was really sweet and intimate.
“Intro” was an unworthy album opener that didn’t add much of anything.
“Intro” is boring – plain and simple. Unless you’re listening to “My Everything” on vinyl, I’m willing to bet that you skip it every time and go straight to “Problem.”
Maybe this seems like a bit of a cop-out, but “Intro” is totally fair game. It has original lyrics and vocals, which means it’s not a non-song, cheeky opener (like Billie Eilish’s “!!!!!!!”), and Grande has proven that she can do a lot in less than two minutes. “Pete Davidson” is one of the most intoxicating and compelling moments on “Sweetener,” and it’s even shorter than “Intro.”
Worst offence: Grande actually has another song called “Intro” on her “Christmas & Chill” EP, and it’s better! It’s literally just one minute and 15 seconds long, and it’s a bop.
Saving grace: “I’ll give you all I have / And nothing less, I promise” is a pretty cute way to introduce an album.
Grande has said that “Why Try” is her “most boring song.”
“‘Why Try’ is my most boring song,” Grande said during a “Sweetener” Q&A session with fans. “This song puts me to sleep.”
Despite screams of protest from the crowd, I must say: Same. The song’s structure is predictable, the lyrics are repetitive, there’s nothing particularly intriguing about its production – and “I’m in love with the pain” is just a horrifyingly toxic sentiment to write an entire song about.
Worst offence: Coming directly after the emotional experience of “One Last Time,” “Why Try” is even more of a let-down.
Saving grace: Of course, Grande’s voice sounds phenomenal, especially in the final chorus.
“Hands on Me,” featuring A$AP Ferg, is literally unlistenable.
I literally can’t listen to three seconds of “Hands on Me.” As soon as it comes on – and you’ll know when it comes on, because it assaults your eardrums right out of the gate – I cringe. I press skip so fast that it’s like my reflexes are being tested.
Worst offence: “You just keep your eyes on my ‘you know what.'” Are we 12 years old?
Saving grace: I like the idea that Grande is casually friends with A$AP Ferg and hangs out with A$AP Mob (even though Ferg’s contributions do absolutely nothing to save this song).
“Better Left Unsaid” is all over the place.
The beginning of “Better Left Unsaid” almost sounds like a “Daydreamin'” reprise, until Grande switches gears and leans into some deeply misguided EDM-inspired production. The song is totally inconsistent; every piece of it feels haphazardly and carelessly mashed together.
Worst offence: The man’s voice (who’s meant to sound like a DJ spinning the song at a bar mitzvah, I think?) yelling, “If you wanna party, put your hands up,” in the chorus. Why?
Saving grace: The EDM influences in “Better Left Unsaid” sort of make it sound like a precursor to “Break Free,” so if we have this song to thank for Grande’s gay anthem, I appreciate that.
“Piano” sounds like something Cat Valentine would sing at a Hollywood Arts talent show.
Apparently, Grande’s goal with this song is to “make you wanna dance,” but she doesn’t succeed. At most, I would tap my foot.
“Piano” is so cutesy that it sounds childish and insincere, like it was written to fit nicely into an episode of kids’ TV. No disrespect to “Victorious,” of course – “Take a Hint” really slaps – but those songs don’t belong on an Ariana Grande album.
Worst offence: Grande says literally 23 times that it’s “not hard” to write a song with her new piano, and yet!
Saving grace: The song resulted in this amazing tweet.
“Almost Is Never Enough,” featuring Nathan Sykes, is boring and overly cheesy.
We know that Grande likes to write and record duets with her musician boyfriends, but that habit usually yields great songs (“Best Mistake,” “My Favourite Part”).
“Almost Is Never Enough,” on the other hand, never needed to exist. It’s far too cloying to be enjoyable, and it’s beneath Grande to release something so gravely bereft of intrigue or edge.
Worst offence: Nathan Sykes is hardly Big Sean or Mac Miller. Did he deserve such a prominent, permanent place in Grande’s lore? Probably not.
Saving grace: Reviews of the song apparently made Grande happy at one point.
“Popular Song” makes way more sense for MIKA’s discography than Grande’s.
It’s totally fair to want an anti-bullying anthem in your discography, especially for an artist like Grande, who began her music career with a young fanbase from Nickelodeon. And the song’s interpolation of “Popular” from Broadway’s “Wicked” is kinda fun, especially since Grande loves show tunes so much.
Ultimately, however, “Popular Song” didn’t deserve a spot on “Yours Truly.” The original version of this song was included on MIKA’s 2012 album, “The Origin of Love,” and that’s where it should have stayed.
Worst offence: Taylor Swift basically wrote this song first, and “Mean” is way better.
Saving grace: I can imagine young theatre kids playing this and feeling seen, which is cute.
No one can hate “Put Your Hearts Up” more than Grande herself.
Grande wants so badly to distance herself from her own debut single that she pushed her label to hide the music video on YouTube.
“It was geared toward kids and felt so inauthentic and fake,” she told Rolling Stone in 2014. “That was the worst moment of my life.”
“For the video, they gave me a bad spray tan and put me in a princess dress and had me frolic around the street,” she continued. “The whole thing was straight out of hell. I still have nightmares about it.”
Worst offence: It gives Grande nightmares.
Saving grace: It was her official debut single – so, for better or worse, it launched the career of the pop star we know and love today.
- Read more:
- Every reference and Easter egg you might have missed on Ariana Grande’s new album ‘Positions’
- REVIEW: Ariana Grande finishes first on her new album ‘Positions’
- Ariana Grande called Dalton Gomez her ‘best friend’ and ‘fav part of all the days.’ Here’s a timeline of their relationship.
- Ariana Grande has gotten 55 tattoos (and counting). Here’s where they are and what they all mean.
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