No Tears Left to Cry is emotionally uplifting and a definite summer vibe
For months, Nickelodeon princess-turned-pop star queen Ariana Grande has been silent on her social media channels, alluding to her work on an upcoming fourth album. But recently, Grande teased a new single, “No More Tears to Cry”, out on her Instagram and Twitter profiles. It turned her fans’ worlds upside down.
Grande’s Twitter profile location relocated from “Dangerous Woman” to a flip-flopped “Honeymoon Ave” or “ǝʌɐ uooɯʎǝuoɥ” and her Instagram page was flooded with an image of the song title reflected, including a grid of herself still donning long, silver locks.
It’s been nearly a year since we’ve heard new music from Grande. “No Tears Left To Cry” is her first original release since the Manchester Arena bombing that occurred last May during her own concert, while also paying homage to those lives lost. After some hesitancy to return to the studio, Grande became resolute in continuing to create, despite the tragedy, posting the following after the incident:
Grande held a benefit concert a month after the attack. The pop starlet was joined by an attention grabbing lineup, including Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and her beau Mac Miller. Soon after, Grande also released a live recording from the concert, a cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and donated all proceeds from the song to the families and victims of those impacted by the terror attack.
Fast forward to today, April 20: Grande dropped the single along with a video from Dave Meyers — famous for his videos with Kendrick Lamar, Katy Perry, and Missy Elliott — and it turned my world upside down.
Rumors had it the track was fated to be an emotional tear jerker. When the intro started up, my ears were flooded with the familiar sound of the snippets Grande had been teasing out all week: echoey vibratos and earthy hums.
If anything, it was reminiscent of physically being at a concert, standing too close to the stage, music distorted by the speakers, your body vibrating with the loudness. And in the video, Grande is dressed in an equally somber attire, jarringly different from her usual wardrobe choice of short skirts, making her first official return appearance in a floor-length dark gown.
Admittedly, I was ready to be sad, but in a matter of seconds, Grande is up, and with her:the beat. An inherently catchy combination of house and synth notes swallow any notion of tearing up.
“Ain’t got no tears left to cry, so I’m picking it up, I’m picking it up / I’m loving, I’m living, I’m picking it up.”
Grande beckons listeners to come with her and enjoy her “state of mind.” In essence, “No Tears Left to Cry” is dedicated to the idea of letting go and moving on, to keep living. Sure, there are a few darker undertones. In-between the chorus, those same dancey beats slow in pace and pitch, spreading farther apart as the synth takes the lead. But the chorus serves as a reminder to not stay in the gloom for too long, returning to an uplifting sound.
And just as much as the song serves as a rollercoaster of changing emotions, so too does the music video. The pans are full of twists and turns, altering the point of view and blurring the lines between right side up and upside down. The artistic direction could be perceived as Grande showing that people, including herself, are still capable of eventually righting themselves (or so one would hope).
Each frame displays Grande dangling from ceilings and skyscrapers, yet she always manages to stay grounded and find her footing. As difficult as the video is to follow — there are dancers with twirling umbrellas for a brief moment — it embodies Grande’s message as well as her lyrics do. And the worker bee cameo, a symbol of the city of Manchester, elevates it even more.