Every Ariana Grande single ranked from worst to best
I love Don’t Call Me Angel and there’s nothing you can do about it
Ariana Grande is one of those mythical pop stars in that career position (hehe) where she can sing anything and it turns to multimillion selling platinum. She’s a beloved figure. The gays and the straights come together in harmony to listen to Ariana’s dulcet tones. Across all eras from Yours Truly through to Positions, here are all of Ariana Grande singles ranked meticulously from worst to best.
47. Put Your Hearts Up
Ariana Grande’s first ever single is this atrocity – a song she pretends doesn’t exist. The rest of the world joins her in this notion. Ignorance is bliss!
46. Popular Song
“You’re working at the movies selling popular corn” is an actual lyric in this cultural regret. Whoever decided that we needed some weird, commercial sampling of Popular from Wicked is unhinged and should be jailed for crimes against pop music.
45. Stuck With U
I know its heart is in the right place, but this weird, pandemic era charity single with Bieber is just SO bad. Why does it sound like a Christmas song, may I ask? Happy for the money raised, but poorly ranked amongst Ariana Grande singles for good reason.
44. Love Is Everything, 43. Santa Baby, 42. Last Christmas and 41. Snow In California
In a big indistinguishable chunk comes all four songs on the Christmas Kisses EP, which, for some reason, were all pushed as singles. Snow In California is the best of the bunch – but we all know full well that the best Ariana Grande Christmas singles are yet to be ranked.
40. Rule The World (with 2 Chainz)
Ariana steals the show on 2 Chainz’s song, her vocals sounding gorgeous on this throwback hip hop tune that’s a decent effort from both parties, but is barely a blip on the Ariana Grande discography radar.
39. Met Him Last Night (with Demi Lovato)
Demi Lovato recruited Ariana as a feature on Met Him Last Night, the best song on their seventh studio album that came out earlier in 2021. The two are such talented vocalists and absolutely nail their delivery, but the song never really manages to take off.
38. Monopoly (with Victoria Monét)
Monopoly is an Ariana Grande song in the most formulaic and predictable way – a collaboration with her longtime friend Victoria Monét. It’s bicurious lyrics are fun, but both artists can and have done a lot better.
37. Good As Hell [Remix] (with Lizzo)
The most pointless remix on earth. Put together purely to boost streams on Good As Hell for when Lizzo had her mainstream breakthrough in 2019. Such a predictable and tiresome move from the label. Good As Hell is a 10/10 song, but this is just completely unnecessary.
A completely unremarkable entry to the Ariana Grande canon. A collaboration with Social House taken from their EP, it’s a paint-by-numbers Ariana song both lyrically and production-wise. Coming after the huge back to back eras of Sweetener and Thank U, Next, Boyfriend felt like tedious oversaturation.
35. Boys Like You (with Who Is Fancy and Meghan Trainor)
Who Is Fancy? Quite literally you tell me. Who the HELL is Who Is Fancy? How did he bag an Ariana Grande feature? For whatever the reason, here it is. You know what? Bit of a bop. A dated bop, but not the worst thing I’ve ever heard and it has a hook that your nan might describe as a “toe-tapper”.
34. Time (with Childish Gambino)
Time is an interesting and bizarre odyssey of a track that hits just right in the summer. Debuting at first in Donald Glover’s film Guava Island, before being rerecorded with Ariana Grande for his 2020 album. It’s laid back, cool and the processed vocals are a vibe – but you have to be in the mood for it.
33. Bed (with Nicki Minaj)
Worst ranked of the three singles Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj have together is Bed, taken from Minaj’s 2018 album Queen. Bed is easy listening, but never really has a moment where you go “God, that song is special”. It’s all just… nice. But their star power together as a duo and their chemistry is clearly something that consistently works very well.
32. Dance To This (with Troye Sivan)
Quite a random duo to put together, especially vocally. I remember finding Dance To This on the underwhelming side when it first came out, but I think with time it’s aged into a nice entry into both artist’s discographies. It’s understatedly sexy and at times quite irresistible.
Everyday, the final single from the sublime Dangerous Woman album era, is a song that really made me think Ariana Grande needs to seriously work on her diction. For the longest time, I thought the lyrics “He giving me that good shit, that make me not quit” were “nut quick”. Make me NUT QUICK? I thought she was just being filthy? Anyway, an underrated banger.
30. My Favorite Part (with Mac Miller)
A very gorgeous song that of course hits very differently in the wake of Mac Miller’s tragic death. A song I’m sure that is hard for Ariana to listen back to – a blissful love song and celebration of a relationship that clearly meant so much to both parties.
29. Heatstroke (with Calvin Harris, Young Thug and Pharrell)
Calvin Harris was dropping delicious summer banger one right after the other in 2017, and Heatstroke was no exception to that matter. It hits the same stunning vibe as Slide and Feels from the same album. Immaculate vibes.
28. Right There
An OG Grande banger, Right There does what so many songs on Yours Truly do so good – a 90s R&B vocal over slick early 10s production. Big Sean nails it too, and their chemistry was clearly a vibe since the duo went on to date for eight months in 2014. A highlight of Yours Truly for sure.
27. Oh Santa! (with Mariah Carey and Jennifer Hudson)
The second greatest Ari Christmas song comes courtesy of the POWERHOUSE TRIO that is Ariana, Jennifer Hudson and Mariah bloody Carey. I just think it’s deeply iconic that after all the wannabe dramas of Mariah being jealous of Ariana’s talents the two can come together as legends in their own right. It’s a future Christmas essential as far as I’m concerned. I don’t care that it’s only been out for under a year!
26. Bang Bang
A song that I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind listening to out of choice in the year 2021, but one that is equal parts tragic and iconic nonetheless. It’s hard to deny the size and magnitude of Bang Bang in 2014 and its legacy as a mainstay in gay bars and as a go-to reality TV show audition song. I feel like I have heard this song at least 20 million times, with only about 12 of them times being out of personal choice. Is it good? Is it bad? What is it? Where do we go from here?
25. Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored
The kind of breezy, trap-beat laden sound Ariana Grande has become known for in a post Thank U, Next world is best showcased on Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored. The kind of song that has mothers furious at their daughters for listening to such a bad influence! Like it was never Britney Spears’ job in the early 00s, it’s not Ariana Grande’s job to parent your children. If she wants to make a relationship destroying banger, so be it!
Nothing screams 2014 like a brassy horn section and an Iggy Azalea feature. Problem hasn’t exactly aged like a fine wine, but it is a song that for a few years circa its release I would without a shadow of a doubt declare it as the best Ariana Grande song. Now, it’s a little relic of time gone by. A certified banger of the days streaming services began to rule the world.
23. Adore (with Cashmere Cat)
Every Ariana Grande collaboration with producer Cashmere Cat is absolutely delectable. Lush, intricate and smooth. Adore sounds like luxury. They are a match made in heaven and I’d cherish a full collaborative record between the two. Whilst another of CC’s Ariana Grande singles will be ranked higher, Adore is its euphoric banger younger sister.
The second single from Positions is Ariana Grande at her most filth. Of course, as she nonchalantly declares at the end, it means she wanna 69 with y’all. Oh, yeah! 34+35 is pretty delicious for its whole runtime, the lyrics about “keeping it squeaky” and “fuck me til the daylight” feel like the natural progression from an artist who made a song about wobbling side to side after being shagged too vigorously in 2016. 34+35 is a single in her repertoire that is just pure FUN.
Initially intended to be the lead single of Ariana’s third album, Focus was released to mixed reception and many unfavourable comparisons to Problem. It was scrapped as the lead and didn’t even make it onto the album that what would become Dangerous Woman. Focus is very similar to Problem, but with time and hindsight, it’s actually a hell of a lot better. It maintains a fresh sound that Problem hasn’t managed to keep up with. Funny how things work out.
Switching up positions for you, indeed. But sadly not quite switching up the music style enough for the album this single acted as the lead and title track for to become either a fan favourite or a critical darling. The Positions era is one that I actually do like casually and as a body of work, but find the songs hard to stand out as special. Even though they do nothing wrong? Just not much of extraordinary note. Positions is a fun track that I’m always happy to hear with a perfect music video, but still just feels like Grande playing it a bit safe.
The third single from Positions is its stunning closing track, a classic style Grande big vocal number that stood out as an instant fave on the record on first listen for anyone with ears. It’s sensual, gorgeously written and sang like nobody else could possibly do. “Nobody ever loved me like you do, I’d love to see me from your point of view” is a beautiful lyric to build a chorus around. There’s something timelessly dreamy about POV.
18. Quit (with Cashmere Cat)
A cinematic masterpiece. Everything about Quit is spectacular – lyrically, vocally, production wise. Cashmere Cat knows exactly when to pull it back and to unleash. The vocal production on Ariana is mesmerising. The way her vibrato radiates emotion on the big moments is something only she could do to such effect. Great stuff all round.
17. Don’t Call Me Angel
Shoot me. Lock me up. Throw away the bastard key. I fucking LOVE Don’t Call Me Angel and I will not make a single apology for cherishing every second of this nonsense mess. It’s high camp. Everyone is committing full out to its stupidity and I sit back and marvel at it every time. Miley is pure fire, Ariana is sexy, breathy classic Grande and then Lana lollops in with the most bizarre middle eight in pop music. Ahead of its time. Cult classic. Breathtaking.
16. The Way
Since the world and Ariana collectively ignore the existence of P*t Y*ur He*rts Up, The Way (featuring Mac Miller) is the de facto debut single. And all these years later, it’s still ranked handsomely amongst an army of Ariana Grande singles. It’s just an excellent pop song – built around a catchy finger snap beat and an excellent Mac verse. The cheers in the production are euphoric and the vibes are great. A pop superstar was born!
15. Love Me Harder
Ariana Grande and The Weeknd go together to perfectly it should be illegal. Love Me Harder is spectacular – a soaring My Everything single that has them trading verses, moans and “oohs” to heavenly heights. There’s a maturity to Love Me Harder that I don’t think Ariana had really explored sonically up to this point.
14. Santa Tell Me
With Santa Tell Me, Ariana Grande did the impossible: Created a Christmas song that instantly sat amongst the canon of festive essentials. Most of the most beloved Christmas songs hail from before the year 2000, and it takes a lot for a 21st century single to break into the radio play around Christmas. Santa Tell Me does exactly that. It’s an excellent song that along with Kelly Clarkson’s Underneath The Tree and Leona Lewis’ One More Sleep reign supreme as the best yuletide bops since Mariah.
13. Save Your Tears [Remix] (with The Weeknd)
Ariana Grande hopping on to Save Your Tears was a spectacular choice. The song was already perfection, but Abel and Ari trading verses with such star power and talent is something formidable to behold. It’s one of the most recent bops Ariana Grande has released and it’s already being ranked at 13 out of her entire back catalogue of singles – it’s just that bloody good.
12. Side To Side
A reggae and dancehall inspired banger about getting banged so hard you’re wobbling from side to side? Yeah, if you like! Inject it! Side To Side is an instant earworm, a song that you hum for days upon end, and thanks to the video it reinvented the concept of exercise bikes! Fun anecdote from me is that me and my very good friend always sing this song when we cycle to try and train our breathing techniques so we’re better singers. Basically… watch out, Ariana. I’m coming.
11. 7 Rings
When 7 Rings came out I hated it. I thought it was derivative nonsense with aimless materialistic lyrics that are trying so hard to be iconic and failing at all times. But the thing is, 7 Rings IS iconic. And the years have proved it. It’s infectious. But do you know when it really HIT hard? In Ariana’s in-game Fortnite concert from August. I was playing and watching, and this song has never hit harder than when you’re watching a giant Ariana avatar climb entrance you with her spell and transport you to a virtual sunset.
10. Baby I
The best early days Grande song. No questions, no comments. Baby I is an epic ode to the likes of Mariah Carey, an artist who is of course OBVIOUSLY the biggest inspiration to Ariana’s vocal ability and entire career. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who can sing a song like Baby I as good as Ariana or Mariah, and it’s acrobatic in its showcase of Ari’s range and talents. It deserves more mainstream acclaim. If this was on Dangerous Woman, it would be up there with her biggest songs. A classic.
9. Dangerous Woman
The Ariana Grande equivalent of a sexed up Bond song. It’s ferocious, bold and sounded absolutely nothing like she’d ever put her name to up until this point. Dangerous Woman is a roaring track that signalled a bolder, braver and more assured pop era for one of the biggest names in the industry. Dangerous Woman was superstar making. Still hits just as hard to this day.
A huge, Max Martin assisted pop epic sitting pretty on Sweetener? That’s Breathin. It says a lot about how good Sweetener is that this song wasn’t the lead single and the biggest hit. It’s soaring, masterful and an anxiety anthem. Just keep breathing. I love that the song manages to do exactly what its lyrical content is about – there’s something about it that feels healing.
7. Thank U, Next
Ariana returning with the lead single of a new era barely even two months after the last single from Sweetener was unprecedented – although she persisted in reminding everyone that if a male rapper did it, nobody would bat an eyelid. She was right. Thank U, Next came without warning and became the biggest song of her career. Thank U, Next is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon – an inescapable beast of memes, parody and lyrics you’ll be humming until you can’t hum anymore. And when it sounds this good, why would you want to stop?
6. God Is A Woman
More Sweetener domination, and with clear reason. God Is A Woman is spellbindingly beautiful, and that’s before we get into the actual art of the video that elevates the song to even richer dimensions. The way God Is A Woman slowly stirs and builds into that perfect crescendo of female voices singing in a choir that if this doesn’t convince you that God is female, truly nothing ever will.
5. Rain On Me
Whilst Rain On Me might be at home on Chromatica, this is no Lady Gaga featuring Ariana Grande affair. This is a duet of equal proportions, from two of the best and most talented women in music. Coming together to heal from both of their significant traumas in the most euphoric way possible. It’s ranked so highly in Ariana Grande singles and in Gaga singles because this song is so special to both careers. Rain On Me coming out in the heights of the Covid pandemic made its healing properties all the more clear. It’s a song that makes everything feel like it’s going to be okay in the end, and it’s a song best heard on a dance floor filled with LGBTQ+ people feeling truly alive.
4. One Last Time
One Last Time was always a good song, but in the wake of the tragic act of terrorism that occurred with the bombing of the Manchester Arena in 2017, it became a song with a completely new meaning and layer of depth. After videos of the song playing at the concert circulated, the song became part of a campaign to get it to the top of the charts. Ari subsequently rereleased it as a charity single with all profits going to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, helping the victims and their families. It’s a song that is not only excellently constructed and sang, but one that means so much to so many now after tragedy.
3. Into You
Into You is the kind of titslapping pop song that comes around once in a blue moon. It’s a song that pounds its way into every ounce of you. When you hear it begin in a club it stirs something deep inside. When it finally unleashes into that chorus, you’re a goner. Into You owns every bit of you. It’s pop music at its most arresting. The lyrics “A little less conversation and a little more touch my body”, with their perfectly embedded Elvis and Mariah Carey nods, are a thing of wonder. Put this on at a gay club and watch what unfolds. I dare you.
2. Break Free
This is not just pop music, it is POP music. It is Zedd produced, wall to wall, EDM laden P.O.P music. And Ariana ascends to a higher plane of existence singing on this one. Truly. If pop music as POP as this isn’t your thing, you could write it off as generic. Just a chart chasing single. But if it is, my GOD, this is euphoria. The vocals are a career best, especially on the second verse with the disgustingly gorgeous harmony Ariana sings over the top of the melody. By the time we get to THAT middle eight, every wig in the house is orbiting the planet Ariana shot the video on.
1. No Tears Left To Cry
After the Manchester Arena attacks in 2017, Ariana Grande naturally took a lot of time to heal in private. Many wondered what the music would sound like from Ari after such a life changing and traumatic experience – especially after her music has been so carefree and upbeat. But when No Tears Left To Cry arrived, it wasn’t the reflective ballad many anticipated. It’s a song like no other – one that uses sorrow and trauma and turns it into something euphoric, healing and beautiful.
No Tears Left To Cry is an easy choice for me to be ranked at the peak of Ariana Grande singles. It’s a song no other artist could ever have recorded. It’s special and delicate, unpredictable and yet instantly warm and familiar. It’s a song that will mean so much to me and many others, both from Manchester and in the wider world, for probably the rest of our lives. It’s a special masterpiece that even Grande’s harshest critics can never take away from her.