God is a woman — and a great publicist. While all eyes were on Pete Davidson, awaiting his response on last night’s Saturday Night Live to the breakup heard ‘round the world, Ariana Grande dropped a brand new single right before the show went to air. “Thank U, Next” is Grande’s last word about her ex-boyfriends. While Davidson certainly did say his piece (which we’ll get to in a minute), Grande stole the show.
“Thank U, Next” is a love letter to herself more than her exes. Through her lyrics, Grande expresses gratitude to her ex-boyfriends: Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez, Davidson, and the late Mac Miller. “Thought I’d end up with Sean / But he wasn’t a match / Wrote some songs about Ricky / Now I listen and laugh / Even almost got married / And for Pete I’m so thankful / Wish I could say thank you to Malcolm / ‘Cause he was an angel.” She also reflects on the lessons she learned in each relationship, and how she’s come out the other side: “One taught me love / One taught me patience / And one taught me pain / Now I’m so amazing.”
Then, Grande goes on to sing about how she’s spending more time with her friends, and how she’s relying on her own strength. “Plus I met someone else / We having better discussions / I know they say I move on too fast / But this one gon’ last / ‘Cause her name is Ari / And I’m so good with that.”
It’s a declarative song, one that exposes both Grande’s tender side and her hard-won resilience. No one would deny that she’s been through a lot over the past few years, but through “Thank U, Next,” we see that she’s learning those life lessons where she can.
Davidson, of course, addressed the breakup on SNL’s Weekend Update. After making fun of his new haircut and some candidates on the ballot this Election Day, he soberly spoke out about Grande in a mature, jokeless moment. “The last thing I will say is, I know some of you are curious about the breakup, but the truth is, it's nobody's business,” he said, with all due seriousness. “And sometimes things just don't work out and that's okay. She's a wonderful, strong person, and I wish her all the happiness in the world.”