Last night, while some ventured into holiday revelry and others followed along holding their breath as online drama unfolded, Kanye West aired out his grievances with Drake via a tweetstorm. The entire thing took hours. Kim Kardashian West eventually weighed in, too. And all the while, Ariana Grande was readying the release of her latest single, “Imagine.”
To back up for a moment, Ari’s been downright prolific lately, dropping her fourth album, Sweetener, in August and beginning essentially an entire new campaign with the mega-viral “Thank U, Next” in early November. She’s got an album of the same name ready to go, and “Imagine” was due to be our next taste of it. She was pumped. Everyone was pumped.
And then Kanye tweeted about Drake. Ari, though, was understandably more focused on her impending song, so she sent out a quick reminder on Twitter as the hour approached. “If y’all could please jus behave for just like a few hours so the girls can shine that’d be so sick thank u,” she tweeted. “Imagine” soon followed.
It’s a great song, one that captures a certain kind of affection and attraction and aims to preserve it as the best, most celebratory memory, the kind you want to keep coming back to again and again. Some fans think it’s about Ari’s late ex Mac Miller because he had the word “imagine” tattooed on his right arm. She also called the song the “denial” to the acceptance found in “Thank U, Next,” but later clarified it was meant to be wide open to interpretation among her fans and their own experiences.
Grande’s tweet also shouted out pal Miley Cyrus, who was gearing for a release of her own: a cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” featuring Mark Ronson and John and Yoko’s son, Sean. Cyrus underscored the point with a quick tweet cosign: “Didn’t they hear the news?! War IS over! Thank you, next!”
Interestingly enough, “Happy Xmas” is indeed a John Lennon cover, while Ari’s “Imagine” is not — it just happens to share the title. Was this planned? A masterstroke of social marketing? A coincidence? Who knows, man. But both songs are out, and you can (and should) listen to them now.