After the expedited February release of the thank u, next album, Ariana Grande has now dropped “Monopoly,” a new impromptu song with longtime collaborator and friend Victoria Monét, who holds co-writing credits on both “thank u, next” and “7 rings.” Born from the desire to bring her fans into her life by being off-the-cuff and unconstrained, “Monopoly” is pure unfettered fun. As Grande and Monét switch places singing in a garbled Auto-Tune, they roll off hyper-specific bars that would make any Arianator leap to prove that they know the backstory to all the references. They brag about the drunken writing sessions that bore thank u, next, scoff at the large percent of royalties allotted to Rogers & Hammerstein from their Sound of Music-sampling hit “7 rings,” and bicker about a Nutty Professor scene. They even drop unsubtle hints about their sexuality, as both Monét and Grande sing, “I like women and men,” sparking discussion of Ariana’s possible bisexuality. (Responding directly to a fan on Twitter who said “Ariana ain’t gotta label herself,” Ari wrote: “i haven’t before and still don’t feel the need to now.”)
The cool casualness of “Monopoly” extends to its instantly meme-able visual, directed by Alfredo Flores and Ariana’s ex Ricky Alvarez (also of “thank u, next” fame). Partially filmed on old ’90s camcorders, it borrows from the hilarious dance Instagram videos of Donté Colley (who is featured in the clip), in which he edits heartfelt positive messages and emoji hearts launching from his self-choreographed moves. The “Monopoly” vid is so different from the fantastical, expensive visuals that Grande usually puts out, her fans have even criticized it for being too “low-budget.” But as she trots around in a pink onesie and dusts the literal word “Fuckery” from her ponytail, Grande seems like she couldn’t give one single fuck. Without the apparent intervention of the major label powers that be, Ariana reveals more of her true, goofy self.