A singer whose career continues to evolve and has surpassed amazing feats over the years, Ariana Grande is a voice that can’t be argued with. She may be known for an endless number of pop hits, but when she slows it down a notch, it offers a nice twist to what we’re used to.
As she’s evolved over time, so has her music, which seems to get better and better with time.
In this article, I’m going to list out 10 of the saddest Ariana Grande songs that are staples of her career and undeniable favorites for many fans!
Starting off with weeping synth pads, the emotion in this song is already pulling at heartstrings, and the soft introduction of Ariana’s vocals prepares you for a rollercoaster of dynamics. Her vocals aren’t over-produced in the sense of production effects, and watching her natural talent shine through is very enticing.
The instrumental remains the same for most of the record, but the way her vocals evolve and layer over each other couldn’t be any more beautiful. As the song progresses, it also introduces additional melodies that complement the artist’s overall direction.
2. Thinking Bout You
Found on her album Dangerous Woman, the record is a great blend of the R&B and pop genres. The percussion in the record is quite minimal, but the beating soft kicks are reminiscent of a fluttering heart and are very fitting with the tone of the record.
Her voice changes from calm to immense heights, and the record has enough space to get lost in the lyrics alone. The light percussion is complemented by a faint and distant piano progression, which ripples throughout the entire song.
3. Quit (Feat. Cashmere Cat)
A stellar collaboration between Ariana and Cashmere Cat, this record delivers a unique production quality that makes the song an undeniable hit. Cashmere Cat’s influence on the production is quite obvious, but the direction of the record makes this one of the saddest Ariana Grande songs, in my opinion.
It’s truly a musical journey as it goes through so many changes, and the evolving dynamics can be pretty overwhelming. The production value alone complements the store perfectly, and Ariana’s angelic vocals hit the mark effortlessly.
An R&B jam in every sense of the word, the production offers melancholy synth chords, and the artist’s vocals are the driving force without a doubt. Although it takes a while for the record to evolve, every new layer just makes the song increasingly addictive.
Ariana is no stranger to love songs, but the vocals on “needy” are quite impactful as many people can relate to its message. The passion that her voice exudes will make you want to sing along, and it’s easy to get lost in the sonics as it’s an excellent soundtrack to your thoughts.
5. goodnight n go
It’s easy to get attached to the lyrics, but I feel the production quality of this record is the real star of the production. In a similar fashion to much of her music, her vocals couldn’t be any sweeter, but the instrumental is what keeps me around until the end.
The record offers cinematic, synthetic, and organic qualities that have an excellent mix. The breakdowns in the record give her vocals room to shine as she prepares you for the next drop in the instrumental, which never gets old.
This is one of her standout records from her album Positions, and the production takes a classic R&B route with modern elements that are highly impactful to listeners. Her vocals display an impressive range as usual, but she keeps it pretty calm throughout most of the record.
She has a knack for simple instrumentals that don’t take away from her vocal talent, yet they always complement the artist in the best ways possible. The song brings a nice tempo that works for a slow dance, and the lyrical content is bound to sink you into your deepest thoughts and feelings.
A slow jam without question, this record offers a different flair as the percussion choices hit hard and offer a booming dynamic. Her vocals will send a tingle down your spine, and the rippling, reverberated percussion takes passionate emotions to the next level.
The song is very sentimental, but I feel it’s one of the saddest Ariana Grande songs as she doesn’t seem to hold back on the storytelling. I wouldn’t say it’s a very danceable record, but it can surely be appreciated alone or shared with a special someone.
8. One Last Time
“One Last Time” is definitely a smash hit from Ariana’s career, as the record couldn’t be escaped upon release, covering radio stations all over the country and many parts of the world. The record was taken to new heights with its use in many forms of media as well.
The song was a part of her album My Everything, and although there were many other gems on the project, this song was on endless repeat for many listeners. It delivers all the catchy tropes of pop music, but her signature voice is easily the cherry on top.
The production value of “Moonlight” is very fitting for the title, as the melodies are reminiscent of a lullaby, and Ariana’s vocals also support that feeling. It transitions in surprising ways, as every additional melody is perfectly fitted to the dynamic of the record, and organic string plucks keep your ears locked in.
You’ll notice passionate string melodies in the background that complement her vocals and are a driving force in the song’s emotions. Overall, it’s an unarguably beautiful record, but the lyrical content makes me feel that it’s easily one of the saddest Arian Grande songs on this list.
10. in my head
Starting off with what sounds like a voicemail and an honest message, it makes it pretty clear what “in my head” is about. Aside from the song’s message, the production value offers an excellent variety to the norm of her catalog.
Delivering many influences from rap, trap, and modern R&B, the heavy 808s take the spotlight, in my opinion. It’s a catchy record, and Ariana seems to seamlessly float across the record, which acts as a glue to the direction of the record.
Justin is an audio engineer with years of experience in the field. He has been creating and playing music his entire life, but he really found his passion for engineering when he was introduced to Logic Pro at age 10. Justin has spent countless hours perfecting his craft and now works as a freelance engineer out of Boston, MA.