Ariana Grande has emerged as one of the most influential pop stars of the past 10 years. She's consistently been a chart-topper and achieved just as many headlines for the ups-and-downs of her personal life. Now, the world hangs on her every move—and song. Her past two albums, Sweetener and Thank U, Next , served as almost diaries of her life and ushered in pop's current wave of authenticity over showmanship. Listeners don't just want style in their top 40 anymore. They want substance. Grande's best songs seamlessly combine both: sonic excellence that works for both headphones and a dance floor but also lyrical brilliance—words that make you think, make you cry, and make you move.
The immortal prophecy of one Onika Maraj has been fulfilled. In order to give proper due to the high ponytail, the staff of EW cast their votes for the best song off each Grande album. In the spirit of the upcoming holiday season, we also added the pop star's two Christmas EPs. Even though the track predates her romantic relationship with the late rapper Mac Miller , their chemistry is palpable. The harmonies, the tinge of humor, the whistle notes all help the song feel timeless, again drawing a through-line to the divas that came before her, but also foreshadowing the principal sound of Positions. Yes, Ariana Grande provides that same airy quality to the chorus that George Michael did, but the refrain at the end of her verses gives the tune more depth.
Subscriber Account active since. Free subscriber-exclusive audiobook! Get it now on Libro. The following year, she released her debut single — and less than three years later, Grande had seamlessly pivoted to a full-time music career. Though it took some time to carve her own unique space in a crowded industry, she now boasts six studio albums, 11 Grammy nominations , and a reputation as an illustrious, fearless pop icon. Insider weighed factors like listenability, lyrical quality, production value, and critic reception to come up with the 17 best and 17 worst songs of the singer's career thus far. Placed ingeniously at the end of the tracklist, it leaves you with a sweet taste and rosy-cheeked emotional fullness. Unsurprisingly, Grande's vocals are transcendent, particularly in the final verse. But moreover, lyrically, "POV" may be the best ballad in Grande's entire catalog.
But even before she ascended to the top, Grande has always been a generous, prolific, and in-demand collaborator. Grande gives the best performance only because she takes chorus duty and sets the pace because, after all, she made the soundtrack. But Iggy Azalea is deadweight on the song, with her blaccent and school-assignment-level rhymes. After collabs with T. They come off as empty and forced, so why not just listen to the real things instead? We deserve an honest Ari—Normani collab. Ari, a noted theater girl , joined Mika on the single cut of this Wicked —interpolating anti-bullying anthem when she was still in her Nickelodeon days. The first collab from two longtime friends, in the name of coronavirus charity fundraising, had promise. I know this list is about Ariana Grande, but let me go on the record: I also think we all sing.