Ariana Grande is back, and she’s returned in spectacular form.
After not releasing music for more than a year (as she’s working on the Wicked movies), the pop singer reappeared on a remix of The Weeknd’s “Die For You.” Her presence helped push the track to No. 1 on the Hot 100, earning both musicians their seventh leaders on the chart.
Now that she has a healthy number of Hot 100 rulers to her credit, it’s time to look back and consider which ones have stood the test of time and which cuts were quick successes – ones that aren’t remembered as fondly as others.
Here are all seven of Grande’s No. 1 singles on the Hot 100, ranked from worst to best – keeping in mind that even her worst is pretty great.
7. “Die For You” with The Weeknd
The fourth collaboration between Grande and The Weeknd – and their second to make it to the top spot on the Hot 100 – “Die For You” is an unlikely champion. The track somewhat underperformed upon its initial release, at first failing to reach the top 40 on the chart.
That’s a sign that ultimately, it wasn’t the biggest moment from the Canadian R&B/pop star’s album Starboy, and if it wasn’t for a weird moment of TikTok virality, “Die For You” would likely have remained a very minor win.
Instead, it’s become another leader for the pair, but one that feels dated when it comes to his repertoire and like somewhat of a “meh” choice for her.
6. “Stuck with U” with Justin Bieber
History has completely forgotten that “Stuck with U” was supposed to be the first taste of a coronavirus charity compilation put together by super manager Scooter Braun–who manages both Bieber and Grande.
The two pop superstars joined up for this syrupy-sweet track that is actually…not as loving as it wants to be.
“Stuck with U” benefited immensely from their brands, and it debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100, but it didn’t have staying power. Amazingly, despite opening in first place, it only managed one week in the top 10, and even the biggest fans don’t often mention this cut.
5. “7 Rings”
The second single from Grande’s Thank U, Next album, “7 Rings” had no issue debuting at No. 1, and it did go on to become a huge win for her. While the cut was a massive success, it largely succeeds because of two factors. The first is an interpolation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s song “My Favorite Things,” which reportedly cost her a fortune to use. The other is a line about her buying hair.
It’s fun, sure, but without the instantly-recognizable sample, would this have worked?
“Positions” ended up being not only Grande’s third No. 1 single of 2020, but her third No. 1 debut, and it proved that she could succeed no matter who she worked with, or if she was entirely alone.
The track continued her winning streak with R&B-leaning pop, which differed noticeably from the pure pop that helped make her a radio favorite – an era that gave the world smashes like “Break Free” and “Into You.” “Positions” is a job very well done, though its muted energy makes it difficult to enjoy in all settings.
3. “Save Your Tears” with The Weeknd
By the time The Weeknd recruited Grande for the remix of his hit single “Save Your Tears,” the two had already worked together successfully, and big things were expected from the duo.
Their reworking of the After Hours smash is fun! Their voices pair well, and while it’s clear that this decision was made solely to propel the cut to the pinnacle of the Hot 100, that shouldn’t detract from the fact that an enjoyable – if not overly memorable – duet came out of it.
2. “Thank U, Next”
The brilliance of “Thank U, Next” is not just in the song itself, but in the conversation that emerged before it dropped and lingered for a while afterward. Some insisted that the track was a dig at all the men she’d dated and moved on from, with “Thank U, Next” serving as some kind of catty, drama-driven catchphrase that could be reused for a bad reality show.
Thankfully, that’s not the case. The single is actually a loving tribute to men who have meant a lot to the singer and helped her grow to become the woman she is today. It’s the rare cut that mentions others directly by name, but only lifts them up. Everyone comes out of “Thank U, Next” looking better than they did the day before it arrived.
1. “Rain on Me” with Lady Gaga
After returning to electro-pop with her solo hit “Stupid Love,” Lady Gaga turned the volume up and commanded the dancefloor once again–even during a time when clubs were shuttered due to the pandemic – with the undeniable “Rain on Me.”
The single debuted at No. 1 just two weeks after “Stuck with Me,” and it’s tough to believe those two songs achieved the same thing. When the beat hits and the chorus kicks in, nobody is left seated, and the duet remains a favorite among fans of both acts. “Rain on Me” also won Grande her second-ever Grammy, and her only prize for a song.
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