This is My Jam: Breakup Ballads

    Cuffing szn just started and we’ve already got breakup songs—I guess one can never be too prepared. Breakup ballads, how they confuse us. When you see your boo’d up friend listening to old Drake on Spotify’s friend activity page, you’re somewhat concerned and think you should reach out. Then again, those songs are bops and not just for post-breakup vibes.

    This past weekend, after Ariana Grande released “thank u, next,” you wouldn’t be able to tell if your friend dumped his partner and is now really feeling for Grande, or if he’s simply listening to a bop. “Thank u, next” unsurprisingly took over the weekend and this entire week’s charts on multiple streaming services. Contrary to other breakup songs, Grande took the high road and wasn’t petty in her lyrics. When talking about her exes, she opens the song with:

    “Thought I’d end up with Sean/But he wasn’t a match/Wrote some songs about Ricky/Now I listen and laugh/Even almost got married/And for Pete I’m so thankful/Wish I could say thank you to Malcolm/Cause he was an angel.”

    With a heartbreaking tribute to Mac Miller, who passed away in September, Grande writes a respectful and powerful verse. Although some have labeled the song as a roast to her exes, the lyrics prove that claim wrong. This song may not have been the first of the season’s breakup ballads, but it will remain at the top of the list.

    Tory Lanez released LoVE me NOw, with all the songs using classic Spongebob meme capitalization, which features “Why DON’T You LOVE me?,” “SHE tOLd Me” and “YoU ThouGHt WrONg.” The songs are mediocre at best, but they fit in with typical breakup R&B/rap music. Ignoring the spelling format of the rest of the album, “Why DON’T You LOVE me?” stands out as one of the better songs even though it has significantly fewer streams than “TAlk tO Me” (with Rich The Kid), the most streamed song on the album.

    While the three songs mentioned can be considered breakup ballads, the overall album contains an odd mix of messages ranging from “Why did you leave me?” to “Screw you, I’m enough.” The album attempts to mirror artists like Drake and The Weeknd, but Tory Lanez falls short with his sad goal for being the new Bryson Tiller.

    H.E.R., on the other hand, released a short album titled I Used To Know Her - Part 2 EP. The eight song follow-up album to I Used To Know Her: The Prelude contains gorgeous lyrics and vocals, as expected from this hit R&B artist. The most emo songs from Part 2 are “Can’t Help Me,” “I’m Not OK” and “Hard Place.” “Could’ve Been” (feat. Bryson Tiller) from The Prelude is a necessary ballad for this season.

    She uses acoustic backups and clear, serene vocals to perfectly capture the emotion in her lyrics. H.E.R. has become a major name in R&B, especially in the past year after capturing nominations from the Grammys to the BET Awards to the Soul Train Music Awards. This follow-up album deserves praise and will be especially helpful as spring begins.

    We started fall with the expected cuffing szn R&B bops, received breakup ballads a tad bit early and can expect holiday music quite soon. Although the world is waiting for Rihanna to drop her album, which fans have called “R9,” we have Ariana Grande and H.E.R. in the meantime.


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