Money can’t buy happiness, it’s often said. Except, perhaps, if you happen to be Ariana Grande.
Grande’s latest single, “7 rings,” tells listeners that moolah can do more than they think. And that’s especially true in her case: Ariana can afford whatever she wants, whenever she wants it.
Nothing is off limits for this pop queen. If Ariana wants something, she gets it, simple as that: “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it (Yep).”
Girlfriends in tow, Ariana says she’s combating darker days (“Been through some bad s—, I should be a sad b–ch/Who woulda thought it’d turn me to a savage”) with champagne (“Yeah, breakfast at Tiffany’s and bottles of bubbles”), a few rowdy friends (“Girls with tattoos who like getting in trouble”) and a bank account with no real limits (“Lashes and diamonds, ATM machines/Buy myself all of my favorite things”).
Elsewhere on Grande’s “retail therapy” list, we hear her bragging about: a new weave (“You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it”); diamonds for her closest friends (“Bought matching diamonds for six of my b–ches”); fewer problems (“Whoever says money can’t solve your problems/Must not have had enough money to solve ‘em”); and her good looks (“My smile is beamin’ … my skin is gleamin’/The way it shine, I know you’ve seen it”).
And don’t forget happiness, because “happiness is the same price as red bottoms.” (The latter being a reference to pricey Louboutin shoes.)
Between her music (“Shoot, go from the store to the booth/Make it all back in one loop, gimme the loot”), her money (“Look at my neck, look at my jet”), and her beauty (“When you see them racks, they stacked up like my a–), Ariana’s set.
Ariana’s song is pretty straightforward. And so is its video (which, by the way, is the biggest of 2019 thus far, garnering a whopping 23.6 million views in its first 24 hours on YouTube).
From crawling on a kitchen counter in a sparkly, revealing leotard; to being laced with diamonds while twerking; to pouring champagne and dancing in front of a pink trap house in a crop top, the video illustrates each of her lyrics pretty literally as Grande parties with her closest girlfriends. It presents an opulent, sensual fantasy, courtesy of Ariana’s fat bank account.
It’s also a video that some have accused Ariana of copying, both lyrically and stylistically. And she’s also received backlash as fans have labeled one of her lines as being racist. (For that matter, no word yet whether the estates of Rodgers and Hammerstein are suing for the appropriation of the melody from “My Favorite Things,” as long as we’re talking about borrowed ideas.)
But whether Ariana Grande’s ideas here are original, recycled or potentially racist, her main message—that money can buy your happiness—certainly encourages young fans to believe the sparkly, diamond-encrusted lie that material things are what matter most in life.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, loving raising their little guy, Judah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).