The lead-in to Ariana Grande’s comeback single, as per most pop diva returns, was ecstatic. Memes abounded online — of her cryptic, upside-down tweets, her low-slung ponytail. She rolled out a preview of her voice in an echo chamber of melisma. It’s a traditional pop roll-out, except with the gravity of loss and tragedy still hanging in the air.
“No Tears Left To Cry” comes as Grande’s first single since the bombing at her Manchester concert in May of last year, which killed 22 people and injured 59.
There are slight cues to signify that these horrors continue to occupy her: the rainbow that crests her cheek on the single’s artwork, perhaps a callback to the “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” cover from her One Love Manchester performance; a bee flies in the music video’s final moments, which, as noted by the BBC, serves as an emblem for Manchester.