Ariana Grande’s highly anticipated album, thank u, next, is finally here in full, and there’s a lot to discuss, including NASA.
When I first learned a track would be named after the space agency, which Grande loves to follow on social media, I wondered if it’d quite literally be a jam about outer space or simply a cleverly titled song about space between people.
Less than 45-seconds into my first listen, I knew the song was a bop that incorporated references to both outer space and space in relationships. But I was eager to find out if it was a scientifically accurate bop, so I turned to Mashable’s trusty science reporter, Mark Kaufman, for his expert opinion.
Before we dive into Kaufman’s thoughtful analysis, let’s all give the song a listen, shall we?
Though Kaufman admittedly isn’t the biggest fan of modern pop music, he thinks “NASA” is a “good jam” that’s not completely inaccurate, scientifically speaking.
“Ms. Grande makes valid points about the vastness of space,” Kaufman told me in a very official and professional Slack DM. He then proceeded to graciously explain why several of Grande’s lyrics actually make sense so those who do not write about space for a living could understand.
“Ms. Grande makes valid points about the vastness of space.”
In the song Grande continually refers to herself as “a star” who “needs space,” which checks out as far as the solar system is concerned.
“Stars definitely need space from other solar systems,” Kaufman confirmed. “Generally fewer collisions give solar systems and planets a chance to thrive.”
And though he appreciated the “whimsical undertones” in Grande’s lyrics (and there’s no denying she is a star on planet earth,) he couldn’t help but mention that it’s “hubristic to compare oneself to such a powerful, luminous, life-giving celestial object.”
Kaufman also noted that the lyric, “Keep me in your orbit and you know you’ll drag me under,” shows a pretty valid understanding of how “large solar system bodies pull lower mass objects into them.”
“Although, if you’re a star, you’re usually the one doing the gravitational pulling,” he added. “So maybe Ms. Grande should do some introspection.”
When asked about the overall accuracy of the song in relation to outer space, Kaufman said it’s “questionable,” but “fun” nevertheless. Analysis aside, I genuinely believe he was a fan, though. And you know what? NASA was, too.
The administration’s official Twitter account shared some love for the jam and Ariana Grande on Friday morning, encouraging others to get as psyched about the universe as the singer is.
Grande’s had friends and significant others come in and out of her life over the years, but her relationship with NASA is undoubtedly a delightfully long-lasting favorite.