Seven problematic things about “7 rings”
Amanda Cavoto—Arts & Entertainment Editor
After releasing her album “sweetener” back in August 2018, which hit number one on Billboard 200 soon after its debut, Grande did not miss a beat for her next era and released her single and album title “thank u, next,” on Nov. 3, 2018. After seeing its massive success as her first number-one single on the US Billboard Hot 100, Grande released another single, “7 rings,” on Jan. 18.
One: Lyrically underwhelming. Hey Ariana, we get it, you have money. I am not sure if there was a time anyone thought you did not have money. Why take an entire song to brag about the fact that you carry the wealth of one percent of the population? In the lyric “been through some bad s**t, I should be a sad b***h, who would have thought it’d turn me to a savage,” I could respect your ability to capitalize on the horrific trauma you have endured, specifically within the past year, but telling me “happiness is the same price as red-bottoms” does not make your brag-like message attainable for people not quite as financially sound when it comes to overcoming their trauma. It appears as classist, as if money really does buy happiness and anyone that is under-privileged financially can never truly be happy. As someone as mainstream as Grande, all types of socio-economic groups listen to her, so the message just comes off as sour, arrogant and misleading.
Two: Musically, Grande has received a ton of backlash from other artists such as Princess Nokia, who publically addressed Grande on Twitter and Instagram for her similar sounding beat on her song “Mine.” On “7 rings” Ariana raps, “You like my hair? Gee, thanks. Just bought it.” On “Mine” Princess Nokia raps about black and brown hairstyles, saying “It’s mine, I bought it,” with a similar sounding beat.
Three: Whether she plagiarized the musical content or not, when compared to both her live performances and prior studio-recording albums, this sound “just aint it” for her. She has a powerhouse of a voice, both in range and projection, and it is beyond underutilized in this single. If she is looking to branch out in her sound, please try something else and leave the hip hop vibe to the cultures that started it.
Four: Platform and privileged. With someone in Grande’s high power position as an international icon, her white feminist based mentality of reclaiming the girl boss attitude ignores the key elements of intersectional feminism. By boasting about her wealth and her lack of a man by her side, she misses the components of feminism that actually affect a much wider population of underprivileged women. People have mentioned a criticism of expecting too much from “just a young pop star” but I beg to differ. With someone with a big of a platform as Grande, she has all the tools, resources and privilege in the world to educate herself and actually make an impact on something she constantly capitalizes on financially, which is her promotion of “feminism” in her music.
Five: A slap in the face to anyone that suffers from any type of trauma or mental health issue. Grande claims that “whoever said money cannot solve your problems must not have had enough money to solve ‘em.” She talks about capitalizing on her traumas by becoming a “savage,” but discusses no correlated strategies to how she got there. Her retail therapy addiction is not going to cure your mental illness, will not improve your mental health or help you cope with trauma. For someone with young fans, this type of message can leave uneducated minds hopeless in overcoming their own traumas.
Six: In Grande’s very few defenses, the song does get a decent rep for maintaining her loyalty to her friends and celebrating hardwork. Inspiring women to hold it down for their friends, rather than investing in a man, is a message worth sharing. “Buy matching diamonds for six of my b*****s. I’d rather spoil all my friends with my riches,” Grande said. Her constant hype-up of her friends is refreshing and I appreciate that message.
Seven: The spin-off of “My Favorite Things,” sung originally by Julie Andrews, is captivating because of her naturally talented voice. However, the change in lyrics was barely creative and too similar to her spin off of old popular movies in her prior music video, “thank u, next,” where she displays references from “Bring It On,” “Mean Girls,” “Legally Blonde,” and “13 Going on 30.” And to add insult to injury, once she gets to the rest of her supposed original content of the song, it leaves less to be desired.
Photo Credit: Emma on Flickr (Cropped picture)