The sleek, carefree party jam of spring … inspired by Manchester's bombing last spring? This is not a contradictory idea, at least not with the intent behind Ariana Grande's new "No Tears Left to Cry," which premiered on digital music and video services on Friday. The single is supposed to have been an "emotional" response to the 2017 tragedy – and maybe it's a way of thinking – but its true goal is not to keep your eyes wet.
There's a fake in the beginning when Grande launches the much-anticipated tune in Ballad mode … in the tradition of Barbra Streisand and Donna Summers' similarly titled "No More Tears" oldie, from a possibly weepy intro in the ballad pure disco. Here Grande spends every 35 seconds in a deceptive chorus mode, before a mid-tempo dance beat begins to announce the true message: saltwater sucks.
The verses feature some 80's slow mo-house music synth triplets about this beat. When the chorus sets in, it is split between grades raising their voices, pleading for positivity ̵
The track unites the Swedes Max Martin and Ilya, two of the author-makers behind Grande's earlier "troubles," now with Grande as co-author (as she did for the first time on all tracks of her upcoming Full is) (according to sources). It's unlikely to ever be included in the Max Martin Hall of Fame, but it serves as an entertaining teaser in the run up to an album that is likely to have bigger emotional moments. It announces that Grande is immediately affected and unaffected by last year's bombing raids. If there is an element of Doth protest – too much of the melody's determination to come and go, it may be as it should be.
The music video (below), which gives Dave Meyers an uncommon directing credit, is a combination of "Inception" and Fred Astaire's old dance-on-the-blanket-movie-music routine: nocturnal city views overhead Distributed laterally and underfoot (romantic, not threatening, as in the Christopher Nolan movie). Grande does not dance headfirst, but she paces up and down the walls of a skyscraper corridor, looking as if she's not sure she's in the mood for exhilaration or meditation.
"No more tears to cry" hedges his missions by offering a little bit of both as the quietest, most danceable type of post-traumatic recovery hymn with dark undertones. It works on this humble must-have survival level, though if Grande really wants to grow as an artist, it's probably a good thing if at least one or two other tracks on her upcoming album convince us she still has it itself … a few weepy cries, that is