Ariana Grande has the kind of vocal prowess that few pop stars—nay, musicians—could ever dream of duplicating.
The powerhouse singer boasts a four-octave range and can hit an impossible-sounding whistle tone without breaking a sweat, and over the years, she's used her talents to deliver bop after bop, whether in the form of a sultry R&B melody, an emotional ballad or a sparkly, upbeat tune. Basically, Ariana can do it all.
Some would argue that she has yet to be paid her due by the Recording Academy, though. With 15 Grammy nominations under her belt, Ariana's only ever won two trophies. (ICYMI, that would be Best Pop Vocal Album for 2018's Sweetener and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for her and Lady Gaga's "Rain On Me.") And, at the April 3 show earlier this year, she walked away (yet again) without any accolades for Positions.
Now, in honor of her birthday June 26, we're here to give her some much-deserved praise by doing a deep dive into Ariana's complete discography. Which songs deserve to be played on a loop until the end of time? What are those singles that got way too much radio play? Why are certain tracks so underrated? How can anyone walk the earth without listening to that one song and crying?
These are just a few of the important questions we're answering below. Keep scrolling to see all of Ariana Grande's songs, ranked.
Disclaimer: This is strictly accounting for her albums and singles. No songs with Ariana as a featured artist (sorry, "A Little More Homework" from 13: Original Broadway Cast Recording) were considered.
92. "Popular Song" (with Mika, Yours Truly, 2013): An anti-bullying anthem with an admittedly worthwhile sentiment, "Popular Song" is far too immature a song for Yours Truly.
91. "Piano" (Yours Truly, 2013): Ariana essentially wrote a song about songwriting, and while some of the lyrics actually highlight a struggle she and many pop stars still face today—the choice to sing "about how love is a losing battle" versus "a song they can play on the radio"—"Piano" gets old fast.
90. "Jason's Song (Gave It Away)" (Dangerous Woman, 2016): What Ariana should've given away was this song. Perhaps to a garbage can.
89. "Put Your Hearts Up" (single, 2011): Ariana once called "Puts Your Hearts Up" the "worst moment of her life." Let's leave it at that.
88. "Hands On Me" (feat. A$AP Ferg, My Everything, 2014): A$AP Ferg's verse is fun, but there's nothing that really stands out about this track.
87. "Step On Up" (Dangerous Woman, 2016): To quote the one and only Sheree Whitfield, "I thought it was fun. I like the beat."
86. "Almost Is Never Enough" (feat. Nathan Sykes, Your Truly, 2013): I'm a sucker for a good duet, but Nathan Sykes' vocals fall flat next to Ariana's.
85. "Bad Decisions" (Dangerous Woman, 2016): "We got that hood love"? Now, Ariana...
84. "make up" (thank u, next, 2019): I'll reconsider this standing if Ariana decides to make a music video to promote r.e.m. beauty.
83. "Better Left Unsaid" (Yours Truly, 2013): The final track on Yours Truly can't decide what it wants to be, so it turns into an EDM nightmare.
82. "west side" (Positions, 2020): Songs don't have to be long to make an impression (ahem, "pete davidson"), but the two-minute "west side" is simply forgettable.
81. "someone like u - interlude" (Positions, 2020): An interlude between Positions' standard album and the deluxe version, "someone like u" does exactly what it's supposed to in bridging the gap.
80. "You Don't Know Me" (My Everything, 2014): You wouldn't necessarily know it, but the track samples three songs: The Mohawks' "The Champ", The Jungle Brothers' "Jimbrowski" and The Beastie Boys' "Slow and Low." There's a valuable depth to the lyrics—Ariana insists "the girl you see in photographs is only a part of the one I am"—but the song itself is a skip.
79. "Be My Baby" (feat. Cashmere Cat, My Everything, 2014): Dare I say this is Ariana's least exciting collaboration with Cashmere Cat? ("Quit" is the best, IMO.)
78. "I Don't Care" (Dangerous Woman, 2016): I love "I Don't Care" for its brass elements; Other than that, it's a bit of a snooze.
77. "worst behavior" (Positions, 2020): It's hard not to lump Positions' bonus tracks together when they all clock in around two minutes. They just feel like an afterthought; "worst behavior" most of all.
76. "blazed" (Sweetener, 2018): Both "blazed" and "borderline" get a bad rap. Are they forgettable compared to "God is a woman" and even the ultra-sad "better off"? Absolutely, but neither is approaching "Jason's Song (Gave It Away)" territory.
75. "six thirty" (Positions, 2020): "six thirty" is a good enough song on its own, but if you're listening to Positions all the way through, it's too similar to "west side" to warrant a listen.
74. "Only 1" (My Everything, 2014): Unpopular opinion time! "Only 1" delivers amazing vocal runs, but it's just an okay song.
73. "Sometimes" (Dangerous Woman, 2016): A nice reprieve from the mostly upbeat Dangerous Woman, "Sometimes" is a light, sweet love song.
72. "Baby I" (Yours Truly, 2013): The Mariah Carey of it all!
71. "borderline" (feat. Missy Elliott, Sweetener, 2018): It's fine! Not bad, not good—just fine.
70. "love language" (Positions, 2020): The strings are the song's strong-suit, but "love language" is an otherwise dull lead-in to the much-better "positions."
69. "Daydreamin'" (Yours Truly, 2013): A sweet teeny-bopper track made personal by the ending monologue, which is Ariana's grandparents telling the story of how they fell in love.
68. "Intro" (My Everything, 2014): The only issue I have with the heavenly "Intro" is that it's not longer.
67. "Focus" (single, 2015): Ariana described "Focus" as "Problem"'s older sister, but it's more like an ugly step-sibling.
66. "Lovin' It" (Yours Truly, 2013): Had I not relistened to "Lovin' It," the song would rank much lower. Dare I say it's an underrated gem?
65. "nasty" (Positions, 2020): At this point in Positions, you're starting to understand how the album—released a few months after Taylor Swift's folklore—earned the nickname "f--klore." "nasty" is another sexually explicit track that's, unfortunately, too generic to differentiate itself from the other naughty songs.
64. "Let Me Love You" (feat. Lil Wayne, Dangerous Woman, 2016): Slow and sultry, "Let Me Love You" has a distorted chorus that doesn't really land.
63. "successful" (Sweetener, 2018): Ariana's girlboss era...
62. "Leave Me Lonely" (feat. Macy Gray, Dangerous Woman, 2016): I've found that people either love or hate "Leave Me Lonely"—there's no in between. However, that's where I seem to fall when it comes to this soulful duet.
61. "obvious" (Positions, 2020): All about her ability to believe in love again, "obvious" is sweet but still flirty enough to be fun.
60. "Boyfriend" (single, 2019): Teaming up with her tour opener Social House, Ariana dropped "Boyfriend" as a single in 2019. Did I love it at the time? Yes. Do I ever return to it? Not really.
59. "fake smile" (thank u, next, 2019): The song starts off strong thanks to the sample of Wendy René's "After Laughter," but from there, it's nothing special despite its worthwhile message ("If I'm hurt, I ain't gon' lie about it").
58. "motive" (with Doja Cat, Positions, 2020): Ariana and Doja Cat are one of those collaborations that just makes sense, and "motive" is proof of that.
57. "test drive" (Positions, 2020): Dare I say "test drive" is the better version of "motive"? I'd be more confident in the assertion if it didn't end so abruptly.
56. "Knew Better / Forever Boy" (Dangerous Woman, 2016): A deep-cut for the ages. Sure, the transition is a bit wonky, but there's no denying that the track as a whole is a standout on Dangerous Woman.
55. "just like magic" (Positions, 2020): Queen of manifesting and reading "a f--king book."
54. "Best Mistake" (feat. Big Sean, My Everything, 2014): A change of pace from My Everything's overall sound, "Best Mistake" is a welcomed piano-backed reprieve.
53. "the light is coming" (feat. Nicki Minaj, Sweetener, 2018): It's hard to dislike this song because of its message—radiated in the repeated line, "The light is coming to give back everything the darkness stole"—but overall, the structure is a bit bewildering.
52. "Greedy" (Dangerous Woman, 2016): Flirty and pure fun, "Greedy" would've made a perfect single.
51. "safety net" (feat. Ty Dolla $ign, Positions, 2020): Ariana's lower register and Ty Dolla $ign's baritone rasp make for the perfect combination.
50. "Why Try" (My Everything, 2014): Toulouse absolutely should've intervened when his mother said "Why Try" is her "most boring song."
49. "Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart" (My Everything, 2014): This piano-heavy tune was written by Harry Styles and his fans will never let anyone forget it—probably because it's a genuinely great heartbreak ballad. Like, "I know I'm not your only, but at least I'm one"? Ouch.
48. "34+35" (Positions, 2020): A Gen-Z "Dirrty," "34+35" is Ariana at her most raunchy. It works, for the most part.
47. "bloodline" (thank u, next, 2019): Any song that features Nonna (Ariana's grandmother) automatically earns brownie points, but "bloodline" is so good that it doesn't even need the boost. 10/10!
46. "NASA" (thank u, next, 2019): An intergalactic bop.
45. "You'll Never Know" (Yours Truly, 2013): Ariana performed a shortened version of the track on her latest world tour, proving just how much of a timeless tune it is.
44. "my hair" (Positions, 2020): The whistle notes are enough to qualify "my hair" as an all-timer.
43. "Everyday" (feat. Future, Dangerous Woman, 2016): "Everyday" walked so "34+35" could run.
42. "off the table" (with The Weeknd, Positions, 2020): A tender back-and-forth between Ariana and one of her frequent collaborators, "off the table" sees her at her most vulnerable, asking the difficult questions: "Will I ever love somebody like the way I did you?...If I can't have you, is love completely off the table?"
41. "Right There" (feat. Big Sean, Yours Truly, 2013): The first of many collaborations with Big Sean, "Right There" is a fun, timeless back-and-forth.
40. "main thing" (Positions, 2020): Justice for "main thing," which almost certainly deserved a spot on the original album.
39. "Monopoly" (with Victoria Monét, single, 2019): A playful collab with her longtime BFF and co-writer Victoria Monét, "Monopoly" is proof that the two need to work together beyond songwriting way more often.
38. "My Everything" (My Everything, 2014): The title track of Ariana's sophomore album is as heavenly as its opening track, which makes sense since the songs have similar chords. But what makes "My Everything" all the more special is, like "One Last Time," the meaning it took on after a tragedy; this time, the death of her grandfather.
37. "Touch It" (Dangerous Woman, 2016): I am once again asking Toulouse to reprimand his mother for calling one of her best songs "boring." There's nothing boring about that high note!
36. "bad idea" (thank u, next, 2019): Keeping with the album's trap-pop vibe, "bad idea" stands out because of its unapologetic tone and heavenly strings.
35. "Love Me Harder" (feat. The Weeknd, My Everything, 2014): As Ariana was maturing, so were her lyrics. "Love Me Harder" is a sexy electronic trip with more than few memorable lines, one of my favorites being "take my breath and never let it go."
34. "positions" (Positions, 2020): Repetitive enough to easily get stuck in your head but just the right amount of fun to not make that annoying, "positions" is the album's namesake for a reason.
33. "Break Your Heart Right Back" (feat. Childish Gambino, My Everything, 2014): I could listen to "My baaaby loves me!" on a loop forever.
32. "raindrops" (Sweetener, 2018): A brief cover of The Four Seasons' "An Angel Cries," "raindrops" sets the stage for the emotional rollercoaster that is Sweetener in the best way possible.
31. "Problem" (My Everything, 2014): Love it or hate it, "Problem" took Ariana's career to new heights and remains one of her best singles.
29. "Thinking Bout You" (Dangerous Woman, 2016): If "Thinking Bout You" has a million fans, I am one of them. If "Thinking Bout You" has 10 fans, I am one of them. If "Thinking Bout You" has no fans, that means I am no longer on earth. If the world is against "Thinking Bout You," I am against the world.
28. "Tattooed Heart" (Yours Truly, 2013): You'd never believe that Ariana recorded "Tattooed Heart" with a lung infection, but that's just a testament to her out-of-this-world vocals. I'll never get tired of ballads like these that prove how much of a powerhouse performer she is.
27. "Side to Side" (feat. Nicki Minaj, Dangerous Woman, 2016): There's no denying that "Side to Side" is pure camp. After all, Nicki literally raps, "Wrist icicle, ride dick bicycle."
26. "break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored" (thank u, next, 2019): Should "thank u, next" have concluded the album? Yes. Is "break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored" still a much-welcomed addition? Also yes.
25. "pov" (Positions, 2020): No love is perfect—Ariana admitted as much herself in relation to "imagine," which is speculated to be about the late Mac Miller—but the love she describes in "pov" is pretty darn close. It's a joy to listen to, especially since she puts her past into perspective. Put simply, "pov" is a masterclass in ballads.
24. "better off" (Sweetener, 2018): Kicking off what I believe to be one of her best album runs ("goodnight n go" to "pete davidson" to "get well soon") is "better off." It's one of Ariana's most vulnerable songs to date and a clear reference to the end of her relationship with Mac, but at its core, is about a prolonged breakup, which is all too relatable for many.
23. "in my head" (thank u, next, 2019): A scathing reexamination of the relationship that somehow also inspired one of her best love songs, "in my head" goes where Ariana rarely goes: for the jugular. See: "Look at you, boy, I invented you / Gucci tennis shoes, runnin' from your issues."
22. "Bang Bang" (with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj, My Everything, 2014): A certified bop, "Bang Bang" will never not slap. It's catchy, packed full of incredible vocals from both Ari and Jesse J, and the sort of collaboration of divas that doesn't happen as often as it should these days.
21. "7 rings" (thank u, next, 2019): Who knew that The Sound of Music's "My Favorite Things" would make for such a great trap remake? Love or hate capitalism, there's no denying that "7 rings" is a banger.
20. "R.E.M" (Sweetener, 2018): "R.E.M" is reminiscent of her doo-wop anthems sprinkled throughout Yours Truly and My Everything, but able to stand on its own because of its R&B infusions. Listening is a peaceful, almost ethereal experience.
19. "Break Free" (My Everything, 2014): Imagine being anywhere in public, hearing "Break Free" and not absolutely losing your s--t. Could never be me!
18. "pete davidson" (Sweetener, 2018): The fact that Ariana named an entire song—a song that will outlive all of us—after Pete Davidson, just makes me stan even harder. She loves love, people! And "pete davidson" is a FANTASTIC love song. In an ideal world, we'd eventually get a 10-minute version of the song à la T. Swift's "All Too Well."
17. "needy" (thank u, next, 2019): Ariana started teasing "needy" long before the track made its way onto thank u, next, but thankfully, that didn't take away from it at all. Instead, the track is one of the album's best.
16. "goodnight n go" (Sweetener, 2018): Ariana put her own spin on Imogen Heap's song of the same name, and the result was a dreamy melody that combines her best traits with those of Heap, who just so happens to be one of Ariana's all-time favorite artists.
15. "One Last Time" (My Everything, 2014): Taking on a deeper meaning after the 2017 Manchester attacks—it was re-released to raise money for those affected by the tragedy—"One Last Time" is a special song for many of her fans, but even on its own, the track is bursting at the seams with sincerity and emotion, making the listening experience quite cathartic.
14. "The Way" (feat. Mac Miller, Yours Truly, 2013): "The Way" shouldn't have worked as Yours Truly's first single, but it did. The song debuted at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100, later peaking at #9, marking both Ariana and Mac Miller's first Hot 100 top 10 hit. But commercial success aside, "The Way" is just infectiously good, and remains a fun listen to date.
13. "Be Alright" (Dangerous Woman, 2016): Are you even a real Ariana fan if you don't have the "Be Alright" choreography memorized?
12. "breathin" (Sweetener, 2018): Ariana gets candid about her struggles with anxiety and her mental health on "breathin," but the song is relatively calming, and at its best, a reminder to keep going no matter what.
11. "Honeymoon Avenue" (Yours Truly, 2013): A timeless bop that combined many of the elements that would come to define her musical style—R&B, doo-wop and, of course, big vocals—it doesn't get more Ariana Grande than "Honeymoon Avenue." Rarely is the opening track of a debut album so impressive.
10. "Dangerous Woman" (Dangerous Woman, 2016): Named after Egyptian feminist Nawal El-Saadawi's 1975 novel Woman At Point Zero, "Dangerous Woman" marked a turning point for Ariana's career. With her Nickelodeon days officially behind her, she traded her cat ears for bunny ears and began embracing feminism and her sexuality—themes both present on "Dangerous Woman," a sultry, guitar-led track that remains one of her best.
9. "get well soon" (Sweetener, 2018): A cathartic anthem with a similar message to "breathin," "get well soon" is a song that only Ariana is capable of creating. Making the tune all the more special is its length, 5:22, the date of the Manchester tragedy.
8. "everytime" (Sweetener, 2018): Hearing this song live changed my life, although the recorded version is just as powerful—likely because of the many gut-wrenching lyrics like, "Why, oh why does God keep bringing me back to you?" It's relatable, catchy and just so darn heartbreaking.
7. "Moonlight" (Dangerous Woman, 2016): Again, I'm a sucker for a good ballad—and "Moonlight" is her best.
6. "imagine" (thank u, next, 2019): Ariana has described "imagine" as "a simple, beautiful love that is now and forever unattainable," making it downright depressing...and yet, all the more beautiful. Do yourself a favor and watch her live performance of the song on the Tonight Show.
5. "ghostin'" (thank u, next, 2019): We all know what "ghostin'" is about (being with someone while loving a different person), and who the "you" (Pete) and "he" (the late Mac Miller) are referencing. That's the reason Ariana was hesitant to release the song in the first place—but we should all be thanking our lucky stars that she did, because it's a breathtaking tale of grief, guilt and sorrow that's so beautiful, the emotional rollercoaster that comes with listening is well worth the ride.
4. "God is a woman" (Sweetener, 2018): Responsible for her best music video of all time, "God is a woman" is a female-empowerment bop for the ages. I'd like to think that the end of the song—a choir made up of different Ariana solos repeating "God is a woman"—is what you hear when you're ascending into heaven.
3. "Into You" (Dangerous Woman, 2016): "Into You" is pop perfection. The song has the power to evoke chills in a matter of mere seconds with Ariana's low register declaring, "I'm so into you, I can barely breathe..." and things only get better from there. The build-up to the chorus! The vibrant beat! The angelic vocals! It's simply flawless.
2. "no tears left to cry" (Sweetener, 2018): I don't think I'm alone in saying that I would feel much differently about this song had it not marked her big comeback in 2018, and, most notably, her first release since the Manchester attacks. On its own, "no tears left to cry" is an upbeat synth-pop celebration of all the good yet to come. I'd belt it out or run to the dance floor regardless. But when you think about it in the context of Ariana's life and all of the hardships she's publicly(!) faced, you appreciate "no tears to cry" so much more. She chose to embrace the hopefulness of the future rather than the pain of the past when she could've easily dropped a brooding ballad (which would've been completely valid too, but you get the point). And sure, there are plenty of tears left to cry—Ariana herself made that very joke in Nov. 2018—but her powerful mantra repeated throughout the song will always be there to pick you back up whenever you need it.
1. "thank u, next" (thank u, next, 2019): Do you remember exactly where you were when Ariana surprise-dropped thank u, next's title track? I do! The timing—right before Saturday Night Live, starring her newly-minted ex Pete, aired—had some expecting a diss track, but "thank u, next" is quite the opposite. Yes, Ari name-drops Pete and her other exes such as Mac and Big Sean, but it's only to show her appreciation ("I'm so f--king grateful for my ex," she sings). The tune is a mature self-love anthem that boasts the same optimism of "no tears left to cry," which is all the more impressive this time around considering everything else she went through after declaring she was done crying. The music video for "thank u, next" just makes it all the more iconic, and when i'm listening to this in my room or on the subway rather than at a bar or with my friends, I can't help but think back to a teary-eyed Ariana-as-Jenna Rink, looking hopefully to the sky as she begins to sing about "one day walking down the aisle." After everything she's been through, she's still as optimistic as ever.
This story was originally published on Friday, April 1, 2022 at 6:17 a.m. PT.