With Ariana Grande's drawn-out rollout of the early-aughts romcom-inspired music video for "Thank U, Next" and the release of her 2019 single, a hip-hop–inspired pop track called "7 Rings," it feels like she's been teasing her fifth studio album, also titled Thank U, Next, for a lifetime. Coupled with the fact that other musicians like Princess Nokia and Soulja Boy accused "7 Rings" of plagiarism in both its lyrics and flow, as well as the song's accompanying video (helmed by "Thank U, Next" director Hannah Lux Davis) being accused by some of dangerously walking the line between cultural appropriation and appreciation, it has been quite the atypical album cycle for Grande.
All of this news and controversy surrounding the singles have certainly drummed up anticipation for the album, which Grande reportedly plans to release in just more than two weeks. Though she may try her best to maintain intrigue surrounding her next project, she can't help but drop a hint or two just about every time she logs online to interact with her fans. Thanks to Twitter, the pop star's press machine of choice these days, we do have some insight into the highly anticipated fifth studio album. Here's pretty much everything we know.
There's a track list.
Pretty much ever since Grande announced that the official breakup anthem of 2018, "Thank U, Next," was coming, she also revealed that the song title was going to share its name with her fifth studio album. According to the official track list she released, other song titles included are "Nasa," "Needy," and "Ghostin," which are just cryptic enough to intrigue the stans to theorize and hound Grande for details online.
The album has a February release date.
Grande insinuated to a fan that Thank U, Next would be released on February 8, just a week before that holiday, then officially confirmed on Twitter. Still, don't get your hopes up for cutesy Valentine's Day songs—the singer assured her fans on Twitter that this album will be chock-full of breakup bops and bangers. To give a little bit of perspective, Sweetener was released on August 17, 2018, and this is coming from the same pop star who said in her Billboard interview that she plans to release music in a similar manner to the ways in which a lot of rappers do (meaning she just wants to drop her music whenever she feels like it and skip the algorithmic teaser-to-single-to-album cycle). Most pop stars make their fans wait at least a year in between "eras," but only half a year has gone by and everyone is more than ready for the Thank U, Next phase. And those who bought tickets to the Sweetener tour are lucky in that they get a double dose in just one show. Like Grande said herself, "two albums in six months huh. that’s deep."
The album cover is Grande's favorite.
Grande took that same foundational upside-down aesthetic from Sweetener and is adapting it for this new album by photographing herself with the words "Thank U, Next" painted on her chest. One fan interpreted Grande's closed eyes on the Thank U, Next cover as an obfuscation of how "trash" the world can be.
Regarding the cover, the singer also said that this one might be her favorite because it was "made with tru, deep friendship and love. just like this music," and tweeted "she still upside-down. but this time she kinda ......... fucks w it lol."
There are no features.
From Yours Truly to Sweetener, out of the five studio albums in Grande's discography, Thank U, Next will be the first studio album from the pop star that includes no features or duets. It seems like she won't need anyone else to help tell her story in this round.
There might be an *NSYNC sample.
The album closes with a track titled "Break Up With Your Girlfriend. I'm Bored" and has reportedly been registered to be produced by pop powerhouse Max Martin with an *NSYNC sample. While one might be inclined to predict that the track would remix the classic *NSYNC song "Girlfriend," fans are speculating that the track samples "It Makes Me Ill," a deeper cut from the band's No Strings Attached album that's all about a guy wishing a girl would break up with her boyfriend. Grande is probably turning those tables on this one, and while there is no official word on who "Break Up With Your Girlfriend. I'm Bored" could be about, if the lyrics of "Thank U, Next" are any indication of the singer's bold inclination to name names, we might actually get an answer to that question when the song is released.
Another single is on the way.
Grande tweeted that she does know the third single she plans to release but will not release it before the album drops. As for whether any new snippets or sneak peeks will drop before the album's release on February 8, it's a maybe for now because, as Grande tweeted, she doesn't "like to plan."