Ariana Grande may have no tears left to cry, but her upcoming album, Sweetener, just might make listeners shed a few. The singer is on the cover of The FADER's Summer Music Issue, and in an interview with the magazine published Wednesday, Grande said her new album is her most emotional yet.
Sweetener, Grande's fourth album, is due out in July, and she told the publication that, while she liked the material she was singing in the past, she never felt as connected to the songs as she does now. She said,
“I’ve always just been like a shiny, singing, 5-6-7-8, sexy-dance… sexy thing. But now it’s like, 'OK … issa bop — but issa message. Issa bop but also has chunks of my soul in it. Here you go. Also, I cried 10 hundred times in the session writing it for you. Here is my bleeding heart, and here is a trap beat behind it.' There's definitely some crying-on-the-dancefloor stuff on this one.”
That tension between happy and sad is evident on lead single, "No Tears Left To Cry," as Grande sings,
"Ain't got no tears in my body
I ran out, but boy, I like it
Don't matter how, what, where, who tries it
We're out here vibin'"
The music video for that song featured a subtle homage to the victims of the 2017 bombing in Manchester, where Grande was playing a concert. The attack killed 22 people and wounded 59 others, according to the New York Times.
Toward the end of the video, a bee flies across the screen, and as the Manchester Evening News reported, the insect has long been a symbol of the city. Grande even got a tattoo of a bee following the attack, according to Us Weekly.
Grande, who returned to Manchester weeks after the bombing and organized a benefit concert for the victims that featured artists like Miley Cyrus and Coldplay, told The FADER that she still finds the tragedy difficult to discuss. She explained,
"I guess I thought with time, and therapy, and writing, and pouring my heart out, and talking to my friends and family that it would be easier to talk about, but it’s still so hard to find the words. When you’re so close to something so tragic and terrifying and opposite of what music and concerts are supposed to be, it kind of leaves you without any ground beneath your feet."
According to the magazine, much of Sweetener — which features production from Pharrell Williams and Max Martin — was recorded after the attack, and finds Grande at her most vulnerable, singing about her struggles with anxiety attacks and heartbreak. She told the publication that her close connection with her fans gave her the courage to open up.
"There are parts of my life that they would love to know about," she said, "and hard times that I have been dealing with for the past year-and-a-half that they deserve to know about because they love me endlessly and care. I don't want to hide any pain from them because I can relate to their pain. Why not be in it together?"
However, Grande also said that she found happiness through the process. "I guess I was kind of running on zero and pretending to be at a 10 for about 10 months," she said. "It took me getting to, I deserve to be at a 10, and f*ck it, and let's f*cking go, and now I feel so free and happy as f*ck."
Ready your best dance moves and go ahead and grab some tissues, because Sweetener will be released on July 20.