Ariana Grande has kept a low profile since the Manchester bombing in May 2017 during her Dangerous Woman Tour. Twenty-three people lost their lives (including the bomber), and scores more were injured. Grande returned to Manchester a few weeks after the terrorist attack for the benefit concert “One Love Manchester,” where she and artists such as Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Coldplay came together to raise funds for the victims and their families. It was, as many tweeted, a chance to fight fear with love.
Nearly a year later, Grande returns with her first bit of new material since the Manchester tragedy, “No Tears Left to Cry” (the lead single from her forthcoming, as-yet untitled fourth solo album). The track’s title references Grande’s grief following that horrific attack. But it also represents Grande’s refreshed and optimistic state of mind going forward.
The song begins with some subdued sounds, with its accompanying video picturing Ariana leaning up against a window in a dark hallway, wearing a cleavage-baring green dress. But optimism soon fills the lyrics. Grande says of her emotional state these days, “In a state of mind/I wanna be in, like, all the time.” She’s moving past grief, too: “Ain’t got no tears left to cry.” Because there are “no more tears in my body,” she says, “Boy, I like it.” Clearly, she’s ready to move forward: “I’m lovin’, I’m livin’, I’m pickin’ it up,” a line we hear repeatedly throughout the track.
The tempo soon picks up, corresponding with visual jumps in the video’s surreal surroundings. (Think the folding, collapsing skyscrapers in Inception or Doctor Strange—only with Ariana dancing around them—and you’ll be in the visual ballpark.) She announces, “Don’t matter how, what, when, who tries it/We’re out here vibin’, we vibin’, we vibin’.”
And just like that the song morphs into an anthem and a uniting force for anyone listening. Grande and her friends are “comin’ out, even when it’s rainin’ down.” Meanwhile, she has no patience for haters, telling them bluntly, “Shut your mouth.”
Near the song’s conclusion, Grande asks her fans “to come with me,” saying, “We on another mentality.” She also perhaps delivers a subtle pro-gay message when she sings, “We’re way too fly to partake in all this hate,” combined later with the lines, “They point out the colors in you, I see ’em too/And, boy, I like ’em, I like ’em, I like ’em.” (Grande has been called a “gay icon,” and her many LGBTQ fans have definitely interpreted these lines in the song as an affirmation of their sexual identity.)
The video continues its trippy ride as Grande sits cross-legged on the ceiling, wearing a body suit as the camera pans in on her backside. When it circles around front, she’s taking off her face, as if it were a mask, and laying it on the ground where a paper reads “God Is a Woman.”
As the video concludes, Grande’s traded dancing through folding skyscrapers for sitting on the grass as the sun rises, likely symbolizing the hope found in her newly embraced mentality. Indeed, “No Tears Left to Cry” is a mostly hopeful anthem (albeit one that includes the caveats mentioned above) celebrating a fresh start after a season of loss and mourning.
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).