Ariana Grande Talks New Album Sweetener, Almost Announces Release Date on Fallon
Ariana Grande and Jimmy Fallon are such good friends—so good that Grande took over last night’s entire Tonight Show, her first major media appearance since the tragic bombing at her Manchester Arena concert last year. While she was at it, she dropped some significant hints about her new album, which we now know is called Sweetener; as rumored, both Pharrell and Max Martin worked on it. Per Grande, song titles include “R.E.M.,” “The Light Is Coming,” “God Is a Woman,” and “Raindrops,” which samples the Four Seasons’ “An Angel Cried.” (Coincidentally, the Four Seasons song was co-written by a friend of Grande’s grandfather.)
Grande almost dropped a date, too: She has a promotional event scheduled for the 20th of each month up to the release, starting with her performance the Billboard Music Awards on May 20. “There’s only like three 20ths until the big thing,” she said, theoretically putting the album release in July. Fallon did bring up Manchester toward the end of the segment, but they didn’t discuss events in any detail.
Grande and Fallon also talked about the M.C. Esher inspiration for her latest video for lead single “No Tears Left to Cry” (quoth Grande: “I love stairs”). She then gave the song its television debut with a dramatically staged performance inspired by that same video:
Later, Grande gamely played along with some Fallon skits, the less-funny of which was a parody of a vapid Bravo talk show called No Big Deal and a chance to see a more obnoxious application of Jimmy Fallon’s skills as a TV host:
The pair also played a round of Musical Genre Challenge, where participants choose a musical genre and a cover song at random. Grande pulled “goth rock” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” and came through with a genuinely interesting impression of Evanescence’s Amy Lee. But before that, Fallon absolutely threw himself into a deeply ill-advised ska version of “Shape of You”:
A real friend would not have let him do that! Anyway, here’s some bonus footage of Ariana Grande sneaking up on fans to surprise them, and some of those same fans pretending they know or care who Jimmy Fallon is at all.