Ariana Grande fans have no reason to cry, because the pop star’s new era is officially underway.
While her fourth album — the follow-up to 2016’s Dangerous Woman — is still very much shrouded in mystery, we have gotten some key details and hints about the forthcoming #AG4. So, in celebration of the album's lead single, “No Tears Left to Cry,” and the promise of more music to come very soon, we’ve rounded up everything we know about the album so far.
It’s called Sweetener, and it’s out this summer.
During an appearance on The Tonight Show on May 1, Grande spilled some exceptionally sweet secrets to host Jimmy Fallon. Most notably, she revealed that her fourth album is titled Sweetener, saying, “It’s kind of about bringing light to a situation or to someone’s life or somebody else brings life to your life. Sweetening the situation.”
“No Tears Left to Cry” is the anthemic lead single
Grande shared the first taste of Sweetener on April 20 with “No Tears Left to Cry,” a defiantly joyful celebration of dancing against the odds. “Right now I’m in a state of mind, I wanna be in like all the time / Ain’t got no tears left to cry,” she belts over rhythmic, upbeat production. The single art reflects that optimistic spirit, with a rainbow resting across Grande’s eyes. Much to fans' delight, she also released the accompanying, gravity-defying music video, helmed by VMA-winning director Dave Meyers.
She's already revealed the tracklist
Or at least, part of the tracklist. On The Tonight Show, Grande confirmed the fan theory that her album's tracklist is hidden on a piece of paper in the video for “No Tears Left to Cry.” It’s difficult to make out all of the song titles in the scene, but they are possibly:
2. “No Tears Left to Cry”
3. “Blame” feat. Pharrell
5. “God is a Woman”
Grande confirmed some of the titles on The Tonight Show, revealing that “R.E.M.,” “The Light is Coming,” “God is a Woman,” (her grandma's favorite!) and “Raindrops” are all titles that made the cut. As for what the songs themselves will sound like, everything except “No Tears” remains a mystery.
There are some beautiful falsetto harmonies to come
In a snippet from Instagram posted on New Year’s Eve — her last post before a social media hiatus that just recently ended — Grande harmonizes with herself, sounding like a choir of angels.
“Raindrops” is the album’s oldies-inspired intro
Grande told Fallon that Sweetener’s opening track is a cover of a portion of the 1964 song “An Angel Cried” by The Four Seasons. The track has special significance for Grande, who explained, “It’s a really crazy story, actually. … I went to go check to see who wrote it. It turns out, my grandfather’s best friend, who I grew up hanging out with in Boca, Charlie Calello, wrote it with Bob Gaudio from The Four Seasons. That just really gave me goosebumps.”
She’s working with two superstar producers
According to TMZ, half of the songs on the new album were produced by Pharrell Williams, who previously worked with Grande on the Calvin Harris collaboration “Heatstroke.” Back in November, Pharrell told WWD, “The Ariana Grande stuff is pretty amazing. The things that she has to say on this album, it's pretty next-level.”
As for the other half of the album? Those songs are reportedly the work of hitmaker Max Martin, the mastermind behind “Into You,” “Side to Side,” and “Problem” (as well as the aforementioned “No Tears Left to Cry”). In other words, expect some more monster jams on #AG4.
It’s very personal
Grande reportedly co-wrote each song on the album, and it’s said to be her most “personal” project yet. That makes sense, given all that’s happened in the two years since Dangerous Woman. Most famously, her concert in Manchester last year was the site of a terrorist bombing that killed 22 people and injured dozens more. Grande rebounded in stunning fashion by organizing a star-studded benefit show and by bravely resuming her worldwide Dangerous Woman tour. She had actually started writing her new album before the bombing, and reportedly took some time off to reevaluate the work in the aftermath of the tragedy.
In September 2017, she told Billboard, “It's been very challenging for all of us involved. It would be nice to really hold my loved ones close for a little while, stay home for a little bit. But knowing me, I’m going to be in the studio because I love it, and I want to create. I started an album already a year ago, over a year ago, but I want to keep creating, and it’s not done yet. So I’m going to take my sweet ass time, so I’ll be rested and ready to go again as soon as possible.”
There could be a collab or two
Dangerous Woman boasted four different features, and it looks like Grande’s new album might have at least one or two as well. The aforementioned tracklist hints at a possible collab with Pharrell, and fans have speculated that fellow pop vixen Dua Lipa could make an appearance as well. Grande and Lipa were photographed together earlier this year, and a few weeks back, an alleged snippet of their collab surfaced online.
For all we know, though, that rumored duet could appear on Lipa’s second album, which she’s currently working on. After all, we know Grande’s already recorded a song for Troye Sivan’s forthcoming album, so she clearly has features on the brain.
These new songs could “define” her
Grande’s manager, Scooter Braun, told Variety that the new album has a more mature sound, and that it’s packed with “big vocal moments” that could be career-defining: “It’s time for [Ariana] to sing the songs that define her ... Whitney, Mariah, Adele — when they sing, that’s their song. Ariana has big vocal moments; it’s time for her song.”
As if that wasn’t an exciting enough tease, Grande’s pal Colleen Ballinger (a.k.a. Miranda Sings) reportedly said in a Q&A that she’s heard some of the album and that “your wigs are gonna be gone.” Arianators, you’ve been warned!