Ariana Grande's 10 Best Music Videos: Critic's Picks
Sept. 11, 2019
Ariana Grande is having an incredible 2019. Between dropping her fourth Billboard 200 chart-topping album, earning the highest streaming week ever for a pop album and becoming the first solo artist to hold the top 3 spots on the Billboard Hot 100, she shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
The singer has released three memorable videos so far this year and continues to establish herself as an iconic music video artist in addition to a powerhouse vocalist. In honor of her 26th birthday today (June 26), Billboard is highlighting the impressive catalog of videos she has built over the years with 10 of her best.
10. "Break Free"
Fans step out of their worlds and into another galaxy for “Break Free.” The action-packed video follows Grande on a mission to save the planet from aliens. Eventually, she breaks free and meets up with producer collaborator Zedd to celebrate at a much-deserved dance party.
From hypnotic spinning backgrounds to show-stopping choreography, Grande pulls out all the stops for this retro-themed video. The iconic visual for “Problem” helped drive the song to No. 2 on the Hot 100, becoming her highest-charting hit until as of recently and shaping her career into superstardom.
8. "One Last Time"
Full of explosions, frantic first-responders, bright lights and a meteor headed straight towards Earth, the apocalyptic “One Last Time” music video is a rather literal reflection of the song’s title. Grande will keep you on the edge of your seat as she takes fans through the last moments before disaster strikes.
Anxiety gets a stunning visual interpretation in the "Breathin'" music video. Crowds pass by Grande at what seems like the speed of light, and smoke surrounds her as she sings, creating a foggy atmosphere that clouds her world. She also managed to include a sneak peek at her Thank U, Next album's track list, as scrambled words appear on a board with three legible words: "Needy," "Imagine" and "Remember."
6. "Into You"
A glimpse into the “Honeymoon Inn” gives fans a fly-on-the-wall look at the secret love between Ariana and her security guard, played by America’s Next Top Model winner Don Benjamin. Things heat up fast as the flirty couple enjoys a private getaway full of romance, laughter and pure bliss.
5. "Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored"
This music video gives fans an inside look at a packed party where Ariana confidently tries to seduce her already taken romantic interest, played by Riverdale' s Charles Melton. The visual ends with a major plot twist as we see the boy and his Ariana lookalike girlfriend in the pool with the singer. Just as you think Ariana will make a move on him, the girlfriend grabs her face and the video ends as the two women lean in for a kiss, leaving fans on the edge of their seats.
4. "7 Rings"
Pink, pink, and more pink! Not to mention, plenty of bling, champagne towers and a whole lot of girl power. The flashy “7 Rings” video invites fans into a lavish party with Ari and her closest friends that’ll give you a serious case of FOMO. At the same time, the luxurious video also delivers a sense of empowerment, as Ariana struts around the rose-colored house in a fur coat and a diamond-encrusted bodysuit that almost make anyone believe, "I see it, I like it, want it, I got it."
3. "No Tears Left to Cry"
Have you ever casually taken a seat on the ceiling or walked up the side of a skyscraper? Well, Ariana Grande has, and she’s taking us on her whirlwind journey to try and find the ground again. The video, directed by Dave Meyers (also responsible for smash clips like Camila Cabello’s “Havana” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble"), uses mind-boggling special effects and optical illusions that should have fans’ heads reeling for a while, as the gravity-defying visual turns their worlds upside down.
2. "God Is A Woman"
“God Is a Woman” is a feminist anthem that’s accompanied by an equally powerful music video. With some subtle (and not so subtle) celebrations of womanhood, Grande begins the video in the center of the universe, recruits Madonna to recite Samuel L. Jackson’s Bible-quoting speech from the 1994 film Pulp Fiction, and finishes it up with an all-female emulation of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam.
1. "Thank U, Next"
Ariana puts her own twist on four popular rom-coms as she recreates some of the most iconic scenes from Mean Girls, 13 Going on 30, Bring It On and Legally Blonde in the record-breaking “thank u, next” video. Complete with a “Burn Book,” the “bend and snap,” several celeb cameos (Troye Sivan, Kris Jenner, etc.) and a stamp of approval from the movies’ original actors , the highly anticipated music video nonetheless managed to exceed all expectations.
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