At midnight, Ariana Grande made her grand return to music with the assertive new single “Yes, And?”
Released as the lead track for her forthcoming seventh album, the boundary-setting song makes clear that the pop star is too busy living her “authentic life,” as she sings, to be concerned with what others are saying.
In the just-released music video, Grande doubles down. As shown in the teaser clip, a handful of critics are seen entering an industrial-looking warehouse — and with plenty of opinions in hand. “You know, I think I liked her better when her ponytail was a few centimeters higher,” says one. “I mean, who cares if she’s happy? I don’t want happy. I want Ari,” quips another.
As they’re about to walk into the room in which they will see what Ariana has to present, an earlier group is seen walking out sweaty and in awe. As the next group takes their seats (under a heat lamp, no less, perhaps a nod to the kind of heated spotlight Grande lives under), the camera pans to a series of stone sculptures before landing on one of the pop star front and center.
And much to viewers’ satisfaction, as the music begins, the immobile figures shatter — and out struts Ari.
Wearing a ballet-inspired outfit and character shoes, she completes her look with a hat that pays homage to legends like Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul — and the nod doesn’t end there. The clip, directed by Christian Breslauer, seems to take inspiration from Abdul’s visual for her own “Cold Hearted Snake,” leaning deeper into the late-’80s energy of the song itself.
By the video’s end, Grande assumes the position her statue was in at the start — and just as she hits the exact pose, she’s turned back to stone. The potential takeaways are plentiful: Is it a commentary on fragility or strength? Is it a reminder that rough exteriors are built upon hardship as a means of protection?
There’s really only one certainty: No matter how the message is perceived, Grande doesn’t really care. She knows what it means to her.
Watch the “Yes, And?” video below.
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