Ariana Grande's 10 Best Music Videos: Critic's Picks
Ariana Grande had an incredible 2018. Between dropping her third Billboard 200 chart-topping album, scoring her first Billboard Hot 100 leader, becoming Spotify’s most streamed artist, and being honored as Billboard’s Woman of the Year, she showed no signs of slowing down any time soon. And her first release of 2019, the grandiose "7 Rings," proved that in a major way.
The singer released five memorable videos released last year alone -- including her record-breaking, hilarious movie tribute "Thank U Next" clip -- continuing to establish herself as an iconic music video artist in addition to a powerhouse vocalist. With the pink-tinted "7 Rings" showing that Grande is carrying her visual-heavy artistry into 2019, Billboard highlights the impressive catalog of videos Ariana has built over the years with her 10 best.
10. "Break Free"
Fans step out of their worlds and into another galaxy for “Break Free.” The action-packed video follows Grande on a mission to save the planet from aliens. Eventually, she breaks free and meets up with producer collaborator Zedd to celebrate at a much-deserved dance party.
From hypnotic spinning backgrounds to show-stopping choreography, Grande pulls out all the stops for this retro-themed video. The iconic visual for “Problem” helped drive the song to No. 2 on the Hot 100, becoming her highest-charting hit until as of recently and shaping her career into superstardom.
8. "One Last Time"
Full of explosions, frantic first-responders, bright lights and a meteor headed straight towards Earth, the apocalyptic “One Last Time” music video is a rather literal reflection of the song’s title. Grande will keep you on the edge of your seat as she takes fans through the last moments before disaster strikes.
Anxiety gets a stunning visual interpretation in this November’s “Breathin’” music video. Crowds pass by Grande at what seems like the speed of light, and smoke surrounds her as she sings, creating a foggy atmosphere that clouds her world. She also manages to include what's rumored to be a sneak peek of her upcoming album’s tracklist, as scrambled words appear on a board with three legible words: “Needy,” “Imagine” and “Remember.”
6. "Into You"
A glimpse into the “Honeymoon Inn” gives fans a fly-on-the-wall look at the secret love between Ariana and her security guard, played by America’s Next Top Model winner Don Benjamin. Things heat up fast as the flirty couple enjoys a private getaway full of romance, laughter and pure bliss.
5. "7 Rings"
Pink, pink, and more pink! Not to mention, plenty of bling, champagne towers and a whole lot of girl power. The flashy “7 Rings” video invites fans into a lavish party with Ari and her closest friends that’ll give you a serious case of FOMO. At the same time, the luxurious video also delivers a sense of empowerment, as Ariana struts around the rose-colored house in a fur coat and a diamond-encrusted bodysuit that almost make anyone believe, "I see it, I like it, want it, I got it."
4. "No Tears Left to Cry"
Have you ever casually taken a seat on the ceiling or walked up the side of a skyscraper? Well, Ariana Grande has, and she’s taking us on her whirlwind journey to try and find the ground again. The video, directed by Dave Meyers (also responsible for smash clips like Camila Cabello’s “Havana” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble"), uses mind-boggling special effects and optical illusions that should have fans’ heads reeling for a while, as the gravity-defying visual turns their worlds upside down.
3. "Side to Side"
Exercise has never looked so easy. Ariana and her crew cycle through their session in perfect sync without breaking a single bead of sweat. Joining Grande, guest rapper Nicki Minaj makes an appearance in the sauna, delivering her verse in fierce fashion. This dynamic duo brings the heat, and while we may not be at the gym (or in the sauna) with them, we’re definitely sweating while watching.
2. "God Is A Woman"
“God Is a Woman” is a feminist anthem that’s accompanied by an equally powerful music video. With some subtle (and not so subtle) celebrations of womanhood, Grande begins the video in the center of the universe, recruits Madonna to recite Samuel L. Jackson’s Bible-quoting speech from the 1994 film Pulp Fiction, and finishes it up with an all-female emulation of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam.
1. "Thank U, Next"
Ariana puts her own twist on four popular rom-coms as she recreates some of the most iconic scenes from Mean Girls, 13 Going on 30, Bring It On and Legally Blonde in the record-breaking “thank u, next” video. Complete with a “Burn Book,” the “bend and snap,” several celeb cameos (Troye Sivan, Kris Jenner, etc.) and a stamp of approval from the movies’ original actors, the highly anticipated music video nonetheless managed to exceed all expectations.