The pop star, 25, dropped her highly anticipated fifth record, thank u, next, on Friday — and it comes following an intense period that saw her confronting the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller in September, splitting with fiancé Pete Davidson in October and finding strength with her friends in her latest single, “7 rings.”
The album opens with “imagine,” which was released as a single two months ago, before Grande introduces eight new tracks, many of which seem to cover the emotional — and at times, physical — process of moving on after love and loss.
In “needy,” she sings about “loving too hard” and being “messed up,” while in “bad idea” she says, “Even though we shouldn’t, baby boy, we will/Need somebody, gimme something I can feel.”
Other songs, including “in my head” and “bloodline,” notably feature appearances from Grande’s closest confidants including pal Doug Middlebrook and her nonna Majorie Grande.
The singer seemingly sends an apology to Davidson, 25, in “ghostin” for being “a girl with a whole lot of baggage” who was also struggling to overcome another man.
“If you were anybody else/probably wouldn’t last a day,” she sings, adding, “I’m puttin’ you through more than one ever should/And I’m hating myself ’cause you don’t want to”
The song, named after a term for suddenly abandoning someone without an explanation, comes after the singer wrote a note to the Saturday Night Live star in the scrapbook from her iconic “thank u, next” music video. Above a photo of the pair, which featured Davidson’s face drawn over with a purple marker, Grande wrote “sry I dipped”
In addition to the new album, Grande also dropped the music video for her new song “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored.”
In the sultry hip-hop tune, Grande sings about wanting a man who is dating another woman. After attracting his attention from his girlfriend — who is Grande’s clone, wearing the high pony-tail and all — the girls unexpectedly end up together.
The video then fades to black as the two incredibly similar-looking women lean in for a kiss.
After both the album and video dropped early Friday morning, Grande thanked her supporters in an emotional tweet, which she said came later than she originally anticipated.
“i’m sorry my posts were late. scooter allison my mom and wendy made speeches and i cant stop crying. i love y’all,” the singer wrote. “i hope u enjoy this album. this music, you guys and my friends saved my life. love u. sry. iight bye.”
Earlier on Thursday, she also teased the album’s release on Twitter, writing, “hello happy thank u next (album) day i love u very much.”
Grande first dropped the song “thank u, next” in November. The upbeat breakup anthem, which she referred to as an “acceptance” song after having learned from her past relationships, became Grande’s first track to top the Hot 100 chart, where it remained No. 1 for seven weeks.
Fans quickly picked up on the song’s references, which seemingly recalled her relationship with Miller, who died of an accidental overdose in September at the age of 26.
“For those of you asking about imagine: I would say if ‘thank u, next’ = acceptance… ‘imagine’ = denial. hope that makes sense,” she explained on her Instagram Stories. “Kind of like… pretending it never ended. denial. but I look forward to you hearing it and having your own experience with it. you may take away something totally different and specific to your life! love u.”
The R&B track was heavily inspired by “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music, and it speaks to Grande’s strong friendships and a new sense of independence following her emotional year.
At the 2019 Grammy Awards taking place in Los Angeles on Sunday, Grande is nominated in two categories: best pop vocal performance for “God Is a Woman” and best pop vocal album for Sweetener. She has been nominated four times in the past but has yet to take home the gramophone.
According to a report from Variety, though, Grande — whose Grammy appearance and rumored performance has been advertised on billboards promoting the show — will not be serenading the audience at the Staples Center or, for that matter, even showing up because producers would not let her perform “7 Rings.”
Grande clapped back at producers via Twitter Thursday afternoon. “i offered 3 different songs. it’s about collaboration. it’s about feeling supported. it’s about art and honesty. not politics. not doing favors or playing games. it’s just a game y’all.. and i’m sorry but that’s not what music is to me,” she wrote.
Grande concluded her diatribe by sharing her gratitude for the Recording Academy’s recognition: She’s up for best pop vocal album for her acclaimed LP Sweetener, as well as best pop solo performance for “God Is a Woman.”
“hope that helps everyone understand my decision. i am still grateful for the acknowledgment this year,” she added, before sharing a teaser promoting her new album thank u, next, which drops at midnight.
The Recording Academy did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.