A Trip Down Memory Lane: Thank U, Next
Ariana Grande’s much-anticipated music video 'Thank U, Next’ nostalgically threw us back to the noughties, by dreamily fusing some of our favourite rom-coms together.
The video is a homage to Mean Girls, Legally Blonde, 13 Going on 30 and Bring It On. Not only did Ariana narrate the recent events in her life through these films, but there are also many allusions to the rumours that have circulated about her in the past- allowing us to speculate the veracity of these media claims.
Ariana, understandably, takes the powerful role of Regina George from Mean Girls, mirroring the plastics strutting across the school hallway along with many other memorable moments from the film. The most humorous scenes were where events and rumours about the pop-star were flawlessly intertwined, with quotes and concepts from the film. She pokes fun at various media stories, such as her engagement falling apart and her falling for a girl named Aubri; this is a joke taken from Apple Music’s mistake in noting the lyrics from ‘Thank U Next’ as ‘Her name is Aubri’ instead of 'Ari.'
Additionally, just when he may have slipped from our minds, Jonathan Bennett, the actor that plays the dreamy Aaron Samuels in Mean Girls surprisingly, and much to our entertainment, also makes an appearance as Ariana's love interest during the Mean Girls scenes!
Ariana then moves on to the infamous Burn Book, where she lists the exes mentioned in the song. Each page is dedicated to an ex, as each page in Mean Girls is dedicated to a student with various notes surrounding it. Along with a photo of her and Big Sean, Ariana notes on the page ‘so cute,’ ‘so sweet’ and ‘could still get it,’ implying that perhaps the spark may not be completely over between them! She then quickly moves onto Ricky. Not spending too long on this, she notes that he is a ‘great dancer,’ a ‘good times man’ and that they will be ‘friends forever.’ Upon looking closely at the lyrics mentioned regarding Big Sean and Ricky Alvarez, while Ariana herself has not confirmed this, it is highly speculated that the combination song 'Knew Better/Forever Boy' from the Dangerous Woman album discusses the two relationships she had with them. 'Knew Better' focuses on how her boyfriend at the time could only write songs about her but failed to keep her attention, while 'Forever Boy' dwells on the fact that they had been friends for a long time, and so he knew exactly how to treat her. This may also infer reasoning as to why the songs written about Ricky now make her ‘laugh’ as she states in 'Thank U, Next.' Ariana then suggests more about the breakup between her and Pete Davidson, as she apologises for ‘dipping’ out of the relationship, implying she may have been the one who ended the engagement. She also states how she will ‘love him always,’ and not-so-discreetly comments on him being ‘HUUUUGE,’ (analyse this in whatever way you wish to!)
Upon first watching the music video, you may assume that Mac Miller is not referenced. While he is not reduced to a page of witty comments and cute couple photos, Ariana thanks him by looking up towards the ‘angel’ in Heaven that she refers to him as. Prior to the music video’s release, she also confirms via Twitter to a fan that ‘M ain’t in the book [but] he next to my bed,’ confirming that the blurry image of the nightstand next to Ariana’s bed is the framed picture of Mac.
The music video then moves on to pay homage to Legally Blonde, replicating the scene where Elle Woods arrives at Harvard University with her dog (played by Ariana’s dog Toulouse in the video,) dressed all in pink. You will notice that the license plate number on her car is ‘7 Rings,’ which is a reference to a new song on her album, as is the t-shirt she wears as Regina, which reads ‘A Little Bit Needy,’ alluding to her new song 'Needy.' Jennifer Coolidge, known as Paulette in Legally Blonde also makes a cameo during the music video.
Not only are we lucky enough for Jonathan Bennet and Jennifer Coolidge to have made a reappearance back into current media, but Ariana also made yet another iconic move to invite a few of her Victorious co-stars to appear alongside her in the music video. Matthew Bennett, who plays Robbie Shapiro in Victorious remakes the teeth brushing scene from Bring It On with her, reminding us of how he also played Ariana’s onstage love interest in Victorious and how cute and innocent Robbie’s relationship with Cat Valentine really was. Liz Gillies, who played Jade in Victorious also features as one of Ariana’s plastics in Mean Girls, along with Daniella Monet who played Trina Vega. Other celebrity cameos include Troye Sivan, Kris Jenner, Stefanie Drummond, Colleen Ballinger, Gabi DeMartino and many more of her friends including dancer Scott Nicholson.
During the week leading up to the release of the music video, Ariana posted daily sneak-peeks of her exploring these different themes from our favourite films, hyping up our anticipation further for the video’s release.
Although she currently has a lot on her plate, we can still look forward to new music from Ariana. Stating that she is ‘bored already’ and wants to release more, as well as starting her Sweetener tour, which begins in North America in 2019.
[Photo Credits: Melissa Rose, CC BY 2.0]