Break up with your girlfriend—all you need is this selection of the best Ariana Grande songs. Since the former Nickelodeon star started singing solo with Yours Truly in 2013, her music and life have undergone several huge, public changes, culminating in the 2019 hit album Thank U, Next. But the one constant is the bangers. From early duets with future romantic partners to recent #1 hits, here are the 15 best Ariana Grande songs.
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What did you just say to me? That there’s no way a song that references “My Favorite Things” can be a banger? The door is that way, and also, how dare you. Even Fraulein Maria could get behind this recent #1. Yes, it boasts about stacks of cash and what they can buy, but it’s also a tribute to Ari’s friends. Kind of like her “Wannabe.”
Of the Horny Ariana joints, this has got to be the horniest. “Dangerous Woman” might seem languid, but as soon she gets to the chorus, Ari goes buck wild. If you’re not that quick on the uptake, just watch the video, which features the singer frolicking in lingerie in her now-signature pink lighting. Hooooooo boy.
We can argue for a long time, but ultimately I will wear you down, and you will admit that “Bad Idea” is the best song on Thank U, Next. You can’t fend off the immaculate beat; Swedish hitmaker Max Martin (“Hit Me Baby One More Time,” ever heard of it?) produced it, and Ari’s absolutely determined to “numb the pain” with some meaningless, um, liaising. Don’t lie, you would totally do it.
When you invoke both Elvis Presley and Mariah Carey (“a little less conversation” and a little more “touch my body,” anyone?) you’d better bring your A game. This Dangerous Woman–era track is so sexually assertive, it just put your pants in its purse. You didn’t even realize they were gone.
Side to Side
Ariana’s collaboration with Nicki Minaj is definitely not about doing too much SoulCycle. If you’re giggling too much behind your hand about how sexxxxxxxxay the lyrics are (“got me walking side to side??????”) you might not notice just how nimble Ari’s voice is on those vocal runs. Skip this one at karaoke unless you’re a real pro.
Thank U, Next
“Thank U, Next” futzed with expectations by being a) a breakup song that wasn’t bitter or yielding, and b) actually naming Ariana’s exes (Pete Davidson, Mac Miller, Big Sean, and Ricky Alvarez), meaning there was no way we could misinterpret the lyrics. Anticipation for the rom-com themed video was high, too. One of the singer’s most ballsy efforts.
Producer Zedd helped out on this liberty anthem. While it’s a rousing electro single, “Break Free” became an Ari classic because of the incredible lyric “Now that I’ve become who I really are.” (“I only wanna die alive” is also truly one of the GOATs.) She didn’t originally approve of the line, but we’re so glad she kept it in.
No Tears Left to Cry
After a suicide bomber killed 22 people at Ariana’s Manchester show back in 2017, the singer was distraught and postponed the rest of her tour. Her musical comeback was “No Tears Left to Cry,” a dance-pop hit full of defiant optimism that debuted at #3 on the US charts. Manchester locals noticed a bee, one of the city’s symbols, in the accompanying video.
One Last Time
Even when Ari is downbeat, her monster voice prevails. 2015’s “One Last Time” is all about apologizing after *whispers* a cheating situation, but the EDM touches mean you can definitely dance to it, too.
Let Me Love You
An earlier entry in the singer’s breakup catalog, Dangerous Woman‘s “Let Me Love You” was basically the musical equivalent of the pink nails emoji. “I know they’ll be coming from the right and the left, left, left,” she sings. Lil Wayne, featured on the track, concurred, rapping, “Goodbye to the good girl.”
Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored
Forget raising eyebrows; Ari clean took our faces all right off with this one. The kicker to her latest album, Thank U, Next, sees the singer at her most no-fucks-given, and a sneaky NSYNC sample is but one of its surprises. With its bossy confidence and no-fail beat, you’d better watch out if this one comes on in the club.
God Is a Woman
Okay, but this song goes, though. This is how you take feeling yourself to the next level. In case you didn’t understand the video, which features Ariana gently fingering the earth, this song touts the universe-busting potential of a lady who knows what she’s doing. In bed.
A Christmas duet came first (“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”), and then “The Way” cemented the musical bond between Ariana and the late Mac Miller. It wasn’t until three years later that they were publicly a couple, but this flirty collaboration, from her first solo album, was a sweet part of their history.
Moody piano chords lead into a mellow hip-hop groove in My Everything single “Best Mistake.” This ballad is one of the singer’s most lowkey and contemplative tracks, and pairs Ariana with another future romantic partner, Big Sean.
As Mac Miller says in “The Way,” do she love me, do she love me not? On the one hand, nothing says “ya gone” better than the whispered refrain here: “I got one less problem without ya.” But she still wants that rascal back. Who can relate?
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