Ariana Grande just became the biggest thing to happen to pop music in a long time. We’d say no one saw it coming, but come on, we all saw it coming.
Her album Thank U, Next debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200, making it her second No. 1 album in six months, and her fourth overall. It’s a record not just for her, but for women and pop music everywhere. One No. 1 album in a year is impressive, but two? Impressed doesn’t begin to cover it.
It has been a big week for Grande. (The understatement of the year.) Thank U, Next had the largest streaming week for a pop album ever, according to Nielsen Music. Among the top 20 albums with the largest streaming weeks, Grande’s latest is the only non-hip-hop title. Ed Sheeran’s album ÷ [Divide] previously held that spot, and we know how much people love their feelings-filled Sheeran pop. She also surpassed Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy for the largest debut week for an album by a woman across all genres. The last person to debut two No. 1 albums back-to-back in six months or less was Future in 2017 with his self-titled album and Hndrxx.
We could get into the nitty-gritty numbers of it all, but let’s pause for a second to think about how big this is. Sure, Grande has been a charting artist for years now, but this is much bigger than that. In the last year, she has gone from charting artist we all know to a whole other level of success. Is there a level of fame beyond a household name? If so, Grande has reached it. There are many artists out there, a much smaller group with No. 1 albums, an even smaller group setting records for their albums, and then there’s Grande joining a select few who have set records of this scale.
While this is a big success for pop music, it is an even bigger success for women in music. Grande ties Taylor Swift for the second-most No. 1 albums among female artists this decade, second only to Lady Gaga. She’s the first woman since 1975 to release two No. 1 albums in under six months, reports Billboard. The more women whose music commands this level of attention, the more space there is for women to succeed in this industry. Grande has not only become a record holder, but she is blazing a trail for more artists to come up behind her.
So, if you were still unsure whether Grande was the biggest thing to happen to pop music this year, now there’s proof.