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Track Review

OK, I'm going to say it (eh, type it) again: Ariana Grande just released another new single: “Monopoly.” Never mind that she just released a new album two months ago. Never mind that this song's not even on it.

This 25-year-old pop sensation doesn’t need any help when it comes to dropping catchy tunes and videos that throw Arianators into a frenzy and spike numbers. Take her last single, for example. “7 rings” garnered more than 23 million views on YouTube in its first 24 hours. And as of this writing, it's spent a whopping eight weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart.

Ariana's latest effort, a collaboration with bestie Victoria Monet, hasn’t raked in the kind of traffic Grande enjoyed with "7 rings." But its video still topped 10 million views on YouTube in just under two days. As for the song's themes, well, they meander through a variety of topics, including emotional independence, making money and embracing a fluid understanding of sexuality.

Living Life on Their Terms

"Monopoly" begins with Victoria apparently telling a guy what's what—and putting him in his place at the same time.

"I've been on a roll, where you been?" she asks. "Real protective of my soul, where you been?" Apparently, nowhere to be found: "Is your GPS even on, where you been?" But then she decides she really doesn't want an answer to that question she's just asked three times, telling him, "Matter of fact, I don't even care where you been."

But Victoria's not letting the fact that he's apparently ghosted her get her down. "Bad vibes, get off of me," she commands, as if casting them out. "Outta here with that f---ery."

Yeah, it's clear that Victoria and Ariana prefer to concentrate their efforts on making money ("Work so f--kin' much, need a twinny, twin, twin"), accomplishing their dreams (“Treat my goals like property/Collect them like Monopoly”) and focusing their attention on those who'll pay them the most (“I probably won't come if there's not a fee”).

As for the song's video, Ariana and Victoria throw it back with a two-and-a-half minute performance clip that looks as if it’s time-warped straight out of the '90s (with some digitally added emojis illustrating various lyrics, of course). Both women sport crop tops, leggings and short skirts as they twerk, dance and sing.

But perhaps the most attention-getting lines in the song are these: "I swerve both ways, dichotomy/I like women and men (yeah"). Buzzfeed described the response to those lyrics with this headline: "Ariana Grande Opened Up About Her Sexuality And The Internet Is Basically In Meltdown."

Indeed, Twitter blew up with rampant speculation about Ariana's sexual identity, and whether she'd just come out as bisexual. So much so, in fact, that Grande herself responded, saying she didn't feel compelled to label herself: "i haven’t before and still don’t feel the need to now … which is okay."

Blurred Lines

Ariana Grande is responding to the speculation that her song has provoked as if it's no big deal. But given her enormous influence, Ariana's attitudes toward sex are a big deal. When she casually suggests that gender fluidity is what she embraces, it’s a message many of her fans latch on to with passionate conviction—as evidenced by the singer's Twitter feed and discussion of this subject you'll find there.

That said, Ariana has also tried to play a bit coy with regard to this revelation. She wants to be provocative, clearly, but she resists being pinned down. Like so many artists before her, she's not afraid to stir up controversy and court attention by embracing new cultural norms and rejecting traditional ones. But she's equally hesitant to take responsibility for what she's saying and how those ideas might be impacting those who hear them.

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Reached No. 3 on YouTube's music video chart.

Record Label

Republic Records




April 1, 2019

On Video

Year Published


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