Let’s face it: Ariana Grande is a music and pop culture icon. Since the release of her first album, Grande has been making waves in the music industry and has solidified herself as a force to be reckoned with.
Since her days on “Victorious,” Grande has released five platinum albums, garnered more than 35 billion streams and was crowned as Spotify’s most-streamed female artist of the past decade.
Grande has accomplished many other feats as well, such as gaining more than 306 million followers on Instagram, currently being the youngest artist to headline both Coachella and Lollapalooza and being the first and only artist to have four singles debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
I’ve been a mega-fan of Grande since the beginning of her days on “Victorious,” meaning I’ve religiously listened to every song and album she has put out throughout her career. Due to this, I’ve garnered strong opinions about what albums are her best and which are her worst.
Here is my ranking of Grande’s six studio albums, from worst to best:
"Dangerous Woman (Deluxe)" (2016)
In my opinion, “Dangerous Woman” is her worst album. By no means is this a bad album at all, but it’s the one I listen to the least.
"Dangerous Woman" has a few phenomenal singles and deep cuts, but the other songs tend to get skipped. Songs like “Moonlight,” “Dangerous Woman,” “Be Alright,” “Leave Me Lonely,” “Touch It” and “Thinking Bout You” are some of my favorites from this album that I find myself constantly going back to.
This album has great singles, but I don’t listen to singles often unless I’m in the mood to hear a particular one. While I believe this album had many great songs, a lot of the songs on this album didn’t stick for me past 2016, which is why it’s landing in the last place spot on my list.
"My Everything (Deluxe)" (2014)
Taking the number five spot is her second studio album, “My Everything.” While it pains me to rank it so low on the list due to its sentimental value, this is the most incoherent album of her career so far.
"My Everything" as an album is just a big mix of random generic pop bangers, and while I still love many of the songs to this day, this album was one of her worst due to its lack of cohesiveness.
This album seems as though it was meant to break Grande into the pop sphere, and it did just that. I find myself listening to all of the songs on this album more frequently than the songs on “Dangerous Woman,” but I think that is because this sounds like a playlist of Grande’s pop hits, not a cohesive project.
Almost every song on this album still hits different for me to this day, but some standout songs are “Intro,” “Why Try,” “Best Mistake,” “Be My Baby,” “Break Your Heart Right Back,” “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart,” “My Everything” and “Only 1."
"Yours Truly" (2013)
Grande’s debut studio album “Yours Truly” ranks at my number four spot. This project was the world’s introduction to Grande as an artist and, as fans like to say, “R&B-iana.”
While I truly love the pop vibes of the former two albums, I prefer Grande’s R&B-influenced songs over her songs that are solely radio pop hits.
While this album has a more childish feel to it, we can’t blame her, as Grande was still younger at the time and actively in “Sam & Cat” on Nickelodeon. This album contains one of the best songs of Grande’s career, “Honeymoon Avenue,” as well as other amazing deep cuts such as “Tattooed Heart,” “Lovin’ It,” “Piano,” “Daydreamin’,” “You’ll Never Know” and “Almost is Never Enough.”
This album also contains multiple timeless singles and is overall a phenomenally cohesive debut album.
"thank u, next" (2019)
Grande’s 2019 big breakthrough album “thank u, next” is landing at the third spot on my list. I love this album so dearly, but it doesn’t stand out to me as much as my top two. Nevertheless, it will always rotate around in my top three.
Although Grande was already popular throughout the world, "thank u, next" catapulted her to a completely different level of superstardom.
The album’s title track and lead single “thank u, next” was completely unexpected, and truly had such a huge impact on pop culture in 2019.
"positions (Deluxe)" (2021)
“positions” was Grande’s comeback to R&B-inspired music, and it truly hit the mark. This album came during the peak of the pandemic, which was a time I personally needed it most — this was the album I blasted in my car while driving around so I could get out of the house.
“positions” helped me through a tough period of time, and it still gives me so much comfort and joy to this day.
The whole “positions” era was extremely cohesive, fun and beautifully vulnerable. It produced some of my favorite collaborations from Grande's catalog as well as my favorite album cover of hers.
This album also has some of my favorite deep cuts of Grande’s career, such as “just like magic,” “six thirty,” “safety net,” “my hair,” “nasty,” “obvious,” “pov,” and my all-time favorite, “love language.”
“Sweetener” is Grande’s most controversial album, but it's also one of her most critically acclaimed and holds some of her best songs to date. While many people don’t like “Sweetener” for its experimental pop R&B tracks produced by Pharell Williams, I find them to be some of my favorites in her discography. “Sweetener” holds some of the most invigorating, innovative and vulnerable songs of Grande’s career.
Grande created this album after the tragic bombing that took place at the Manchester show of her Dangerous Woman Tour. “Sweetener” was meant to be a healing album, and it truly accomplished that goal flawlessly.
The themes of battling anxiety and struggling with mental health issues are some of the most vulnerable of Grande’s career and ones I can relate to personally. Some notable tracks from this Grammy Award-winning album include “R.E.M,” “God is a woman,” “sweetener,” “everytime,” “breathin,” “no tears left to cry,” “better off,” “goodnight n go” and “get well soon.”
Whether you prefer Grande's R&B-inspired tracks or her top radio hits, there's no denying that she has appeal for a reason — so give her a listen, on the off chance you somehow haven't.