Ariana Grande's Singles Ranked From Worst To Best

Written By Sam Murphy on 07/17/2018

Illustration by Bianca Bosso.

19th Feb 2019: Updated with her singles since the release of Sweetener.

Over the past seven years, we've watched Ariana Grande go from a child star to a bonafide popstar. The journey has been filled with bangers so ahead of the release of her fourth album Sweetener we thought we would take a look at all her solo singles to date, ranked.

24. Popular Song (w/ Mika)

These kind of pop songs don't show Ariana's strengths. This came just before she transitioned from child star into pop megastar and it's caught in the zone of the former. It's not awful but it's very close to being grating.

23. Put Your Heart Up

Her first single ever inexplicably appropriates Four Non Blondes' What's Up and it just ends up sounding a little cheap. This isn't the Ariana we know and love now but we suppose it's got a nice sentiment.

22. Almost Is Never Enough (w/ Nathan Sykes)

Ariana can blitz a ballad and her vocals here are on point but in retrospect a song with a former member of The Wanted just feels a little bland.

21. Focus

Focus came at a point when Ariana was entering the upper-echelons of the pop world. It also mimicked previous number one Problem but stumbled with a faulty chorus that hindered the song's growth.

20. Bang Bang

Ariana and Jessie J have two of the biggest voices in the biz but one is nuanced while the other comes at you steam train. Ariana's chemistry with Nicki Minaj came through here but the rest of it feels like an assault on the senses.

19. Let Me Love You

Let Me Love You signalled Ariana's shift into a darker form of R&B and it shows off her slippery vocals like no other. The verses are gorgeous but the chorus didn't quite have a hook sticky enough to do anything to the charts. Ariana and Lil Wayne is a duo we would hear more of though.

18. Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored

Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored was the last track to be added to thank u, next, built around the title that Ariana thought up on a car ride. It's gimmicky but Ariana's slick delivery and Max Martin and Ilya's sleek and sexy beat topped off with an *NSYNC sample make it an unexpected winner.

17. Santa Tell Me

It's almost impossible to make a Christmas original stick these days. Nothing really has since Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You but millions of streams on Ariana's R&B Christmas original suggest she isn't far off. It manages to wrap her '90s diva aesthetic into something that's both festive and modern.

16. Baby I

Baby I was the second single off Ariana's debut Yours Truly and it was the first moment we truly got to hear her show-off her vocals. Produced by '90s R&B influencer Babyface, it gives a nod to the classics while still sounding refreshingly updated.

15. Everyday

Future and Ariana are two of the most melodic purveyors of R&B so it's somewhat surprising that it took them so long to team-up. The final single of Dangerous Woman may have been the least successful but it was an effortless jam that hooked from the first listen.

14. Right There (Feat. Big Sean)

Yours Truly traded predominantly in a throwback R&B sound and Right There did it the most successfully. Classic keys drove the beat and Ariana's vocals run all over it. Ariana and Big Sean's chemistry, which later eventuated in a relationship, was also a key to success.

13. 7 Rings

7 Rings was not what anybody was expecting as the follow-up to Thank U, Next. It's an icy, braggadocios cut that sees Ariana flirt with the idea of her as a rapper. It drew claims of appropriation and copying from the likes of 2 Chainz and Princess Nokia. While there may be some legitimacy to them, the song shot to number one world wide with Ariana later tapping 2 Chainz for a remix of the song. It's not even close to the best song of Thank U, Next but you can't help but think she deserved a boastful moment after what she's dealt with, most of it documented in song.

12. Breathin'

Breathin would've been a much bigger single if it's run to the top wasn't unexpectedly side-swiped by the unreserved power of thank u, next. Enlisting a similar team to the one that gathered for Into You, breathin was Sweetener's warm ode to coping with anxiety. It may seem simple but it's potent.

11. The Way (Feat. Mac Miller)

The Way felt like the proper start of Ariana's music career. It's a confident, slinky jam that showed everyone singing comes first for Ariana. Playful and breezy, it was an instant classic which is usually a difficult move for a former child star. Knowing how the story ends, it's somewhat bittersweet to hear Ariana and Mac Miller together on this one now but it's still hard to deny their musical chemistry.

10. God Is A Woman

Ariana's most recent single is her most confident ever. It's a powerful declaration of femininity that sees her at her most liberated vocally and lyrically. It's got a soulful, classic chorus but distinctively modern verses which ensures it's both time-stamped and timeless. That video too...

9. Dangerous Woman

Dangerous Woman was a somewhat surprising choice as a lead-single from a record. We'd never had an Ariana power ballad but in retrospect it made sense as the mature, dark precursor to an album that turned her into an icon. Her voice flies on this one over that soulful slice of guitar.

8. Problem

It's hard to believe but Ariana has never had a number one single in the US. Problem was the first of many to come dangerously close and deservedly so. It's a colourful declaration of independence that made horns a mandatory pop inclusion for a little while. The Iggy feature may make it sound very 2014 but it's hard to deny that Iggy sounded like a force back then.

7. Side To Side

Side To Side was the moment Ariana and Nicki's combined potential was reached. We knew they sounded good together but they found a synergy on Side To Side they never had before. Ariana was grown-up and Nicki was the perfect partner in crime for a playful pop song which cleverly disguised its x-rated nature. "Ariana run pop," Nicki declared on this song and two years later it's still true.

6. Love Me Harder

Ariana's voice is a force to be reckoned with when it's running over a pulsating, melancholic beat. There are few times it sounds better than on Love Me Harder and the same can be said for The Weeknd's voice. The pair of them have upper registers that could end a world war and together they sound mind-blowing. It's so understated and yet it's such a monumental pop song.

5. One Last Time

One Last Time became a touching anthem for solidarity after the tragic Manchester attack. It took on a completely different anthem allowed by the beautifully sombre yet uplifting tone of the song. For someone with such a mammoth voice, Ariana knows exactly when to hold back and the restraint on this one is what makes it so brilliant. She allows the masterful melody to carry the song.

4. Break Free

Break Free is not only one of the best EDM songs of all time, it's one of the best pop songs of all time. While EDM's big room appeal was finally starting to wear off, Zedd teamed with Max Martin finding a way to combine pop's sweet points with EDM's huge choruses. The pair succeeded but it's Ariana who smashed it into the stratosphere turning it into an anthem of liberation with that skyrocketing vocal.

3. Thank U, Next

Thank U, Next is a seminal pivot in Ariana's career into autobiographical, unfiltered writing. Ariana flipped the script of a break-up track on Thank U, Next trading resentment for respect and graciousness. It's a '90s-leaning R&B cut written in a matter of weeks that left most people floored when it dropped just minutes before her ex's program SNL. We may have watched Ariana's private life play out in public but we're never quite ready for her take on it.

2. No Tears Left To Cry

Ariana’s return this year was never going to be simple. Everybody was listening to hear what she would do following the horrific events of 2017 and she could’ve handled it in many ways. A ballad was expected and the opening bars of No Tears Left To Cry suggested that was exactly what she was going to give us. Grande had other plans though. No Tears Left To Cry chooses to win with positivity in one of the greatest returns in pop music. The track is spiritual, futuristic, soulful and melodic with the beat sounding like nothing else on the radio. Still, months after the song's release it’s hard to put your finger on exactly what makes it so great. It’s almost like it was created in the lab, to pull at certain parts of our brain without making the emotion explicitly obvious. She never explains that “state of mind” in the song but she’s content staying in it. So are we.

No Tears Left To Cry is our number one song of the year so far.

1. Into You

As time goes on Into You will be written into the history books as a masterclass of modern pop music and yet in 2016 it failed to make a significant dent in the charts. That's something we will forever have to live because it's the best Ariana single to date and also one of the greatest songs of this millennium. Unlike most perfect pop songs, Into You's appeal isn't immediate. It's subtle. Well, as subtle as a song that starts with, "I'm so into you I can barely breathe," can be. It harnesses this lust that perfectly captures the early moments of a relationship when flaws blur into infatuation. No other artist could've handled this song with the finesse that Ariana does. It's gentle but powerful and that's an incredibly hard balance to achieve.