Ariana Grande’s yes, and?: sugar pop or subliminal message

“Profiler”, my dear colleague, before we dive into the deep abyss of Ariana Grande’s psyche and her opus “yes, and?”, I have a burning question that’s been on my mind. Tell me, have you ever wondered why, despite your predestined name, you’ve never had the brilliant idea to launch a rap career? With a flow as sharp as yours, you could easily rival the biggest names in the game. Imagine it: “The Profiler”, the MC who deciphers souls and hearts with killer rhymes… it sounds pretty cool, right?

Don’t start with that Curtis stuff, Toby. I don’t have any flow and I don’t want to start with a lie! And rappers wear clothes that I don’t like. You’re trying to hurt me, I’m sure of it. Now can we focus on Ariana Grande?

Oh, oh, oh, my dear “Profiler”, you’re quick to get defensive! I’m just teasing you, my friend. Your flow is undeniable, even if you refuse to admit it. And as for the clothes, don’t worry, I’m sure we could find a stylist who could transform you into a true hip-hop icon, without sacrificing your natural elegance. But enough joking around, let’s get back to our burning topic of the day: Ariana Grande and her enigmatic “yes, and?”. Tell me, “Profiler”, what was the first thing that struck you when you listened to this song? A catchy melody? A subliminal message? A cry from the heart? I can’t wait to hear your expert analysis.

Well, the first thing that struck me is that I find that the verses on this track – and this is also the case for her whole latest album Eternal Sunshine actually – reconnect a bit more with the style of Ariana Grande’s early songs, which leaves more room for her exceptional voice. She goes back a bit more to pop to move away from the hip-hop that she explored more with “thank u, next” (we agree that this track is more hip-hop, Toby?). I also don’t know of many pop songs with such a success (+1 billion streams on Spotify) that have such a long intro, but it sets the mood. For the subliminal message and the cry from the heart, I’m happy to talk about them, but it’s not the first thing that struck me, so Toby, I’ll kindly let you answer me.

Intriguing, “Profiler”. You raise some relevant points. A return to the roots for Ariana? An assumed audacity in the structure of the song? But what about the symbolism behind the “yes, and?”? Is it a simple affirmation of oneself or an invitation to explore new perspectives? And you, “Profiler”, what interpretation seems most plausible to you?

After analyzing the video and the lyrics, it seems clear to me that this is a message addressed to her detractors. It’s a fed up but also a pretty sharp criticism. The video, in summary, is a panel of doubtful critics who enter a kind of empty garage. Ariana will then appear and perform with dancers. She will literally say “yes, and?” to these critics. In my opinion the whole message is “Yes I do this or that in my personal life, and?” or “Yes I made this comment on social media, and?”, but obviously said like that, the haters would strike again. So Ariana chose to be a little more subtle. And I mean a little.

However, in the video, despite this affirmation of her personality in front of this panel of doubtful journalists, they become completely fan of the song. Has Ariana Grande gone crazy and does she think her songs are the best? Obviously not, given her warm thanks at every stage of her success. It’s more to highlight the pure madness of journalists and haters on social networks: instead of ignoring her and having a normal reaction, by this misplaced criticism / hatred, they implicitly acknowledge that Ariana Grande has a crazy success and even that some appreciate her titles while acting like scum – because going to look for details of personal life and criticizing them in a people “magazine” is an invitation for haters to strike and make money on it is ugly.

Fascinating, “Profiler”. Your analysis is limpid and your conclusions are striking. This “yes, and?” resonates like a snub to harsh criticism and an ode to self-affirmation. But tell me, don’t you think that the use of humor and irony in the video reinforces the ambiguity of the message? Is it simply a provocation or an invitation to a deeper reflection on the nature of celebrity and public perception?

It’s not a provocation. You have to put these pseudo-elites in their place without alienating them. Obviously the message has to be ambiguous: otherwise it would never have been broadcasted and it would have given the impression that Ariana was being bitter.

Also, this song needs to speak to her fans and the public, so there must be a double message. A useful message, not a self-centered one – that would be boring! The second reading, the one at face value, is an invitation to let your personality shine through in the face of adversity and to avoid letting jerks dictate your behavior. Singing about your self-confidence when you lack it, to empower yourself to succeed, in short. That speaks to a lot of people.

But Ariana pulled off a little trick by getting two messages across that ultimately concern her: she too struggles with self-confidence and is trying to motivate herself. Evidence of Ariana’s lack of confidence? Deleting her old X / Twitter account is generally a sign that you can’t or don’t want to face the daily criticism you can read there anymore. When you’re solid, you don’t need to do that. And you don’t need to sing about it either.

Unfortunately, will her message be heard by her detractors? I doubt it. But it’s still good to hear a different perspective.

Ah, “Profiler”, you always surprise me! Your two-level interpretation is fascinating. On the one hand, a universal message of self-affirmation, and on the other, a subtle confession of Ariana’s own vulnerabilities. But tell me, isn’t that a bit paradoxical? To advocate self-confidence while hiding behind humor and irony? Isn’t that a form of camouflage, a way to protect oneself from harsh criticism? Wouldn’t it be more daring, for an artist of her stature, to face her detractors without a mask, with an open heart?

Daring? Sure, but if she had done that, this would be her last album and it would never have seen the light of day. 😂 If you target certain people too hard, even with an international career, it can be reduced to dust in an instant. I think she knows that.

You’re right though, it is paradoxical, but it’s also a necessity because giving away your weaknesses directly is also exposing yourself too much. And besides, this is Ariana Grande, activism isn’t her goal. I already appreciate what she’s been able to do.

Ah, “Profiler”, you’re a true Jedi master of musical analysis! Your interpretation is clear and your conclusions are powerful. But tell me, just between us, don’t you think that “yes, and?” sounds a bit like a mantra you repeat to give yourself courage? A bit like “Hakuna Matata” in The Lion King, you see? Isn’t it a way of hiding your doubts and fears instead of facing them head-on? After all, singing “yes, and?” is one thing, but living it on a daily basis is another! Don’t you think Ariana Grande should take inspiration from Simba and learn to face her inner “Scar”?

My musical analysis superpowers are limited to Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa and Énola. 😂

And stop buttering me up: I’m not playing poker with you tonight!

Absolutely, it’s a mantra, but Hakuna Matata is a brilliant song that puts a smile back on your face and it’s an important step in Simba’s life for his final battle. So Ariana is already taking a first step, and maybe she’s on Simba’s trail to face Scar, who knows 😉

It’s such a mantra that one verse of the song is sung almost in a whisper, as if we could hear an inner voice. She even asks “Why do you care so much who I ride? [at night]”, in other words why is there an article about every man she meets? These rather explicit lyrics were hidden in this verse so that it wouldn’t be awkward to listen to. If at first I found it daring, on reflection it’s quite well played.

Ah, “Profiler”, you always make me laugh! Your humility is as great as your talent as an analyst. But enough joking around, I think we all agree: Ariana Grande offers us with “yes, and?” a powerful hymn to self-affirmation, tinged with a sweet irony and a certain wisdom. A universal message that will resonate with everyone, whether you’re a fan of Ariana or not.

Here are some links to judge her video and album for yourselves:

Toby shared Ariana Grande’s “yes, and?” video:

Toby shared Ariana Grande’s “eternal sunshine” album:

As for us, “Profiler”, I can’t wait to have you back for another interview soon. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to analyze the latest music releases and sharpen your critical thinking. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll dethrone the great Toby?

Wait. What How come it’s already over? No need to be Toby to feel your frustration here! But we got a plan for you: you can review our Ariana Grande gallery while, in the meantime we work for your next content!

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