November finally came to a close and after what seems like a month-long wait Ariana Grande finally released her nostalgia-ridden “thank u, next” video where she pays homage to some of her (and my) favorite romantic comedy movies. The single has been on the #1 spot on all major music charts around the country (and world, no doubt) for 4 weeks (yes, ever since it was released unexpectedly minutes before the November 3rd SNL episode) and the video is a fun interpretation of romantic comedy classics like Bring It On, 13 Going On 30, Legally Blonde and none other than Mean Girls where she portrays the titular characters from each film. (Even Ari’s cute little chihuahua Toulouse makes an appearance as Bruiser from Legally Blonde.)
Speaking of cameos, Ariana casted actors Jennifer Coolidge, Jonathan Bennett and Stephanie Drummond (army pants and flip flops, anybody?) to play their original characters from their respective films. Troye Sivan made his appearance as a student from Mean Girls and target of Ariana’s (or Regina Grande?) push into a hallway locker. No, she did not cast Lindsay Lohan in her memorable role as Cady Heron for Mean Girls, but Dynasty’s resident redhead, Elizabeth Gilles did the trick and the resemblance is bizarre. (Is Lindsay Lohan salty? Maybe a little.) And in an unexpected twist that was kept under wraps throughout the whole the matron of the Kardashian/Jenner empire, Kris Jenner brought to life the role of Regina George’s mom (originally interpreted by Amy Poehler) during the memorable Christmas talent show scene.
Director Hannah Lux Davis did a terrific job not only capturing the aesthetics from each film but translating them to music video form, selecting iconic scenes from each one. Now we are no strangers to Hannah’s work although I am definitely biased in saying that I love everything she does, with music videos such as Ari’s most recent “breathin’”, Paris Hilton’s “Good Time” or yeehaw country pop star, Drag Race All Stars Season 4 guest judge (and Trixie Mattel stan) Kacey Musgraves and her “High Horse” video. Needless to say, Hannah has shaped the way music videos are made for the past decade and pushes not only aesthetics, but fun and memorable music videos with some of her long-time collaborators.
Now, Ariana’s usage of pop culture isn’t random. “thank u, next” is her fun way to reconcile her feelings post-engagement, but it is also centered around the very message of the song, gratefulness. By identifying the people, places and experiences that shaped her to be the woman she it today, Ariana reminds us how she has overcame her odds and that life just doesn’t work like a rom-com all the time, but these experiences are what make us grow. Following the train of thought around her latest album “sweetener”, the songstress allows us to see that life isn’t all that sweet and that we all have our fair share of strife to deal with. Touching the themes of self-care, love, her anxiety and PTSD after the Manchester bombings from 2016, the album is the optimist outlook she is embracing to get through it all.
2018 has been a fantastic year for Ariana, but not without any drama sent her way, like being blamed for ex-boyfriend Mac Miller’s suicide, getting crap for getting engaged to Pete Davidson so early on and then for calling it off (classic example of damned if you do, damned if you don’t).
A music video wouldn’t be complete without some cameos and sneak peeks of what we can expect for her next album. What can we expect for her next project (which is apparently close to completion)? Well, she’s given a couple of hints already, including track lists and potential future singles. We’ll just have to wait and see how close is close, although the pop star stated that we might be listening to Imagine or Remember sometime soon.