Ariana Grande shared her debut single, “Put Your Hearts Up,” over 10 years ago, in December 2011. Since then, the former Nickelodeon star has evolved into one of pop music’s biggest artists. Throughout the course of six studio albums, she’s gone from crooning about young love to stepping into her sexuality with sticky, trap-pop anthems that have increased her fame by becoming social media catnip.
Despite her beginnings as a child actress, Grande has been able to hang onto the fanbase she initially gained in her early days on Victorious. But she’s been able to seamlessly transition into pop stardom because of her music’s honesty and candor — whether she’s singing about anxiety, desire, grief, trauma, or infidelity. It’s that emotional intimacy that keeps listeners hooked.
While every fan would likely have a different ranking for the pop icon’s best tracks, these 50 have given us something to talk about — or have left us with no tears left to cry (in the best way possible).
This hooky, pure-pop cut from Ariana’s debut studio album, Yours Truly, is super saccharine in comparison to her later work. Try not to cringe listening to Ariana sing about her “new piano” when she’s come so far as a songwriter and artist. It’s hard, I promise!
‘Best Mistake’ feat. Big Sean (2014)
The piano-driven, hip-hop ballad “Best Mistake” is undoubtedly one of the most minimalist tracks Ariana has released, which is OK! Her crystalline vocals are near-perfect. But Ariana has grown so much since the release of “Best Mistake.”
‘Tattooed Heart’ (2013)
On “Tattooed Heart,” Ariana adds a fresher twist to doo-wop but keeps it simple. It’s hard not to compare the Yours Truly cut to the later evolution of her songs’ production and lyrics. However, she does deliver a stellar allusion to the 1950s era she’s emulating with a wink and a nod when she sings, “I wanna say we’re going steady,” with a sweet lilt.
‘The Light Is Coming’ feat. Nicki Minaj (2018)
The combination of Minaj and Grande was the stuff of superstar-collab pop dreams, with cheeky verses and slinky synths.
From the foggy soundscape to the lyrics about the emotional trauma of being drawn back to an ex, it’s hard not to see the parallels between “Everytime” and “Ghostin.’ ” But “Everytime” feels more like a one-note exhaustive stream of consciousness.
‘Just Like Magic’ (2020)
“Just Like Magic” is as much about manifestation as it is about the privilege that comes with fame. While the downtempo R&B track from Positions is full of Ariana’s braggadocio, it feels more like a meditation or coping mechanism — however, its steady, twinkling beat gets a little repetitive.
Cashmere Cat feat. Ariana Grande, ‘Adore’ (2015)
The sexual tension in this song is palpable thanks to Ariana’s breathy vocals, really.(Video) My Top 50 Ariana Grande Songs Of All Time
‘Shut Up’ (2020)
In a pizzicato-filled opening to Positions, Ariana dives into chamber pop while quipping about the rumors that circulate about her. “How you been spending your time? (How?) / How you be using your tongue? (How?) / You be so worried ’bout mine?” she asks, dripping with sarcasm. It’s as much parody as it is her reality.
‘Motive’ With Doja Cat (2020)
There’s no denying Doja Cat and Ariana Grande is a match made in musical heaven. Together they crafted a bouncy homage to ‘90s electro-house that is so sticky it doesn’t even matter what the lyrics are.
Troye Sivan feat. Ariana Grande, ‘Dance to This’ (2018)
“Dance to This” brings together two of the dreamiest vocalists for an understated pop duet. In the atmospheric dance bop, they detail a blossoming romance fostered by time away from the spotlight. And the best part? The scattered drum beat in the instrumental break is seemingly an ode to Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’ Dirty Dancing hit, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”
‘Thinking Bout You’ (2016)
“Thinking Bout You” is the definition of a sad banger and was ultimately the perfect cinematic closer for Dangerous Woman. It’s the kind of track that’s so chilling because of Ariana’s seismic vocals. “Oh, I don’t have you here with me / But, at least I have the memory,” she belts, as a way to self-soothe.
‘Bad Decisions’ (2016)
On “Bad Decisions,” Ariana is trying to make a point: Innocence be gone, she’s no longer the “good girl.” The hip-hop-meets-pop cut from Dangerous Woman resets her public image and has a sly wink to her debut studio album single, “The Way” (which featured Mac Miller), as she quips, “Ain’t you ever seen a princess be a bad bitch?” — a nod to Miller’s rap verse “You’re a princess to the public, but a freak when it’s time.”
‘Just a Little Bit of Your Heart’ (2014)
Penned by Harry Styles, “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart” is one of Ariana’s most heart-stopping tracks. The piano ballad, which details the anguish of hopelessly being in love with someone who is cheating on you, lets her pour out her feelings and deliver a sweeping chorus. “I don’t ever ask you where you’ve been / And I don’t feel the need to know who you’re with / I can’t even think straight / But I can tell that you were just with her,” she laments.
‘Only 1’ (2014)
The opening of the My Everything deep cut “Only 1” evokes the slinkiness of “Honey,” the lead single from Mariah Carey’s 1997 album, Butterfly, which makes the boom-trap song feel like a welcome throwback hit.
‘Hands on Me’ feat. A$AP Ferg (2014)
The opening of the sensual “Hands on Me” evokes early 2000s Beyoncé, which is enough to give this song space on this list.
The moments where Ariana transforms into a gospel disco queen are so precious. Every time she belts out the richly layered “greedy,” it’s like a religious experience. She’s “greedy for love,” and we’re “greedy” for those high notes.
‘You’ll Never Know’ (2013)
On “You’ll Never Know,” Ariana delivers a delicious moment where she steps into her power and shows an ex what they’ve been missing — she also flaunts some of her most breathlessly beautiful vocal runs. “Don’t get mad at me, ’cause you’ve been replaced / Know your place,” she taunts.
A sensual slow jam, “Positions” is the crux of her intimate sixth studio album of the same name. With plucked strings over a downtempo R&B melody, the provocative track is a throwback to Ariana’s early pop days and puts a modern twist on traditional gender roles.(Video) My top 50 Ariana Grande songs
‘Santa Tell Me’ (2014)
Yes, Mariah Carey is the “Queen of Christmas,” but Ariana is a close second. Heartbroken too many times, she makes a relatable plea to Santa in this holiday cheer-tinged pop track: “Don’t make me fall in love again / If he won’t be here next year.” It’s playful, cheeky, and extremely Ariana.
‘Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored’ (2019)
“Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” is the epitome of thirst. Leaning into pure savagery, Ariana crafts a brassy, bouncy anthem where she’s ready to steal somebody’s guy or girl. It doesn’t hurt that the sassy earworm is catchy as hell and features a sample of ‘NSYNC’s No Strings Attached track “It Makes Me Ill” in its bridge.
In one of her most arresting vocal performances, Ariana dives headfirst into emotional honesty and her determination to love herself as much as those who idolize her do. The result is a stunning act of sincerity, but even the ethereal arrangements, plucked harp strings, and ‘90s R&B melody don’t make “POV” one of her more dynamic pop tracks.
‘Love Me Harder’ feat. the Weeknd (2014)
With the combination of Ariana and the Weeknd, it makes sense that the song has a bit of a sexual edge. But “Love Me Harder” also channels cheesy ‘80s pop and features the sincere crooning of both artists. Together they make sultry synth-pop that sticks with you.
‘Be Alright’ (2016)
“Be Alright” is everything you want out of an Ariana banger: Nineties house beats, sun-kissed melodies and a sheen of optimism. It’s the kind of feel-good, dance-pop song that flourishes without the singer’s towering vocal runs, too.
‘Problem’ feat. Iggy Azalea (2014)
Ariana and Iggy Azalea were a surprisingly perfect match for this biting, sax-tinged smash. It’s no “Fancy,” but it’s a solid pairing.
As Dangerous Woman’s opener, “Moonlight” is the thread that ties her old work with her new direction. Taking on the role of a 1950s crooner, Ariana delves into the sound of Yours Truly and My Everything with this starry-eyed, string-enriched track that feels like it could soundtrack the opening to an old Hollywood film.
‘Break Free’ feat. Zedd (2014)
Ariana dipped her toes (successfully) into the EDM pool with this catchy club hit — and the floodgates opened.
‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ (2017)
In the wake of the Manchester bombing, Ariana paid tribute to the lives lost with the One Love Manchester concert a year later. To close it, she delivered an emotional, piano-backed rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” her “grandpa’s favorite.” It’s undeniably one of her most moving performances.
‘Honeymoon Avenue’ (2013)
Ariana leans into her inner hopeless romantic on the doo-wop-tinged “Honeymoon Avenue,” the lead single from her debut album, Yours Truly. With the glimmer of an old Hollywood score in the background, the singer pines for when she and her lover were at the peak of their romance, crooning, “Hey, what happened to the butterflies?”
The word “needy” generally has a negative connotation — particularly toward women. But instead, Ariana embraces the term and explains why she craves that emotional support and delivers a solid argument for why it should be reassessed. “I’m obsessive and I love too hard / Good at overthinking with my heart / How you even think it got this far, this far?” she croons.(Video) Top 50 Ariana Grande Most Streamed Songs On Spotify (2023 Update)
‘Knew Better/Forever Boy’ (2016)
On “Knew Better/Forever Boy,” Ariana creates a two-part narrative that contrasts the strikingly different sides of romance she’s experienced. While the first section is a slow-burning kiss-off to a lover, the latter half is a buoyant synth-enriched EDM banger that evokes Rihanna and Calvin Harris’ “We Found Love.” But it’s also one particular track where the pop star’s storytelling chops shine.
‘Get Well Soon’ (2018)
Vocally, Ariana nails this soulful gospel ballad, which features Mariah Carey-tier belting. But as Sweetener’s closer, a song clocking in at 5:22 honoring those lost during the Manchester bombing — it’s a standout due to Ariana’s candor about the crushing anxiety she has battled since the attacks. The fact that it serves as a universal anthem for healing is a bonus.
‘Goodnight n Go’ (2018)
The world can’t thank Ariana enough for bringing Imogen Heap back into the cultural conversation. As a hallmark of The O.C. soundtrack, “Goodnight and Go” was a gateway for music fans into Heap’s discography, so to see Ariana sample the track with a trap twist on her fourth studio album, Sweetener, was a nostalgic callback that gave second life to an innovative songwriter and her deeply beloved 2005 song.
“NASA” is an ode to space, but not the outer kind. Rather, it’s a thoughtful metaphor for the importance of taking time apart in a relationship. Despite its sappy refrain (“I’m a star, I’ma need space”), the song is an ode to independent women. “This is one small step for woman / One giant leap for womankind,” Ariana sings over pulsating trap drums and booming bass.
‘Dangerous Woman’ (2016)
It’s fair to say that “Dangerous Woman” doesn’t exactly fit in with the entirety of the record, but it flaunts some of Grande’s strongest vocal work. What’s so alluring about the titular track of her third studio album is its sexy build-up—the slow-burning song taunts and teases until it explodes with a cinematic level of drama. But “Dangerous Woman” is more emblematic of Grande’s maturity as an artist—one who has refined her sound and commands respect with her vocal control.
Ariana’s specialty is making her music sound like cascading rainbow glitter on clouds — and “R.E.M.” is a perfect case in point. On it, the singer returns to the doo-wop sound of Yours Truly while crafting a world that exists between fantasy and reality. The lyrics aren’t the singer’s most ambitious, but she crafts a sparkly ambiance that makes up for it.
‘In My Head’ (2019)
This R&B-inflected electro-ballad is a vulnerable confessional in which Ariana imagines creating an image of her lover in her head. “Painted a picture; I thought I drew you well / I had a vision, seeing what isn’t there,” she muses. The love of an idea just isn’t enough.
‘Pink Champagne’ (2013)
While “Pink Champagne” wasn’t a part of Yours Truly, its sugary pop ethos would have been a great addition to the record. It’s no surprise that effervescent lyrics like “Make it pop like champagne in the purple rain, we’re gonna paint the city!” came from Kesha, who penned the track.
‘7 Rings’ 2019)
If there’s anyone who knows how to make an aspirational breakup anthem, it’s Ariana. On this catchy pop-trap bop, which features a sample of “My Favorite Things” from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, the singer’s braggadocio takes over as she details her affinity for lavish experiences like “breakfast at Tiffany’s and bottles of bubbles” and matching diamonds for her six BFFs — that she paid for all on her own. “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it,” Ariana teases. “7 Rings” drives home the notion that money does in fact buy happiness — or at least acts as a solid consolation prize for Ariana. She says it herself: “Happiness is the same price as red bottoms.”
‘The Way’ feat. Mac Miller (2020)
While “The Way” isn’t necessarily the best Ariana track, it was pivotal in helping her move beyond the Nickelodeon space. What’s most striking about “The Way” is her euphoric vocals — it’s a smooth transition from her 2011 bubblegum pop single “Put Your Hearts Up” to the R&B space courtesy of a clever sample of Big Pun‘s 1998 hit “Still Not a Player.” While it’s a testament to the ecstasy of being in love that pre-dated Ariana and Miller’s romantic relationship, “The Way” now is undeniably heartbreaking to hear following the rapper’s untimely death.
‘Breathin’ ‘ (2018)
Ariana’s music is perhaps most affecting when her lyrics are as diaristic as possible. With “Breathin,’ ” she details the very real effects of battling anxiety (“Feel my blood runnin’, swear the sky’s fallin’”) and turns them into a relatable balm. But beyond its meaning, the lush synths and airy chorus of “Breathin’ ” make it an exhilarating ride — and one of Ariana’s finest moments as an artist.(Video) Ariana Grande songs (top 50)
‘God Is a Woman’ (2018)
If “God Is a Woman” doesn’t make you a member of the church of Ariana, I don’t know what will. Despite the track’s religious undertones, there’s nothing pious about this song. Instead, Ariana forges an empowerment trap track centered on the holiness of sexual liberation. “You, you love it how I move you / You love it how I touch you / My one, when all is said and done / You’ll believe God is a woman,” she chants. Perhaps the best thing about the song is the fact that the pop star allegedly multiplied her vocals to evoke the sound of a full gospel choir.
‘Rain on Me’ With Lady Gaga (2020)
It’s impossible to think of “Rain on Me” without imagining Ariana and Lady Gaga drenched and dancing harder than they ever have. As a rejuvenating empowerment anthem, “Rain on Me” is the personification of crying while dancing — an infectious, ‘90s house and hyperpop-tinged banger that will be the song of the summer for years to come. The Chromatica collaboration, released at the height of the pandemic, was cathartic for both listeners and the two pop icons who have endured a lifetime of trauma in the public eye. And it’s Ariana who delivers goosebumps in the latter half of the track with the chilling line, “I hear the thunder coming down won’t you rain on me?”
“Imagine” is a song as hopeful as it is tragic. The dreamy R&B ballad is Grande’s rose-colored perspective of an Instagram-perfect relationship that involved avoiding the public eye and staying up all night eating pad thai. But it’s deeper than that: The thank u, next opener allows the pop star to rewrite the history of a failed romance. “Imagine a world like that,” Grande belts wistfully. There are undeniable moments of sadness as she clings to this fantasy — one fans suspected was about ex Mac Miller. But beyond its more melancholic undertone, “Imagine” is a lso a masterclass in performance. While Grande has not shied away from showing off her whistle register, “Imagine” flaunts how effortlessly she hits every octave and how wide-spanning her range actually is.
‘Touch It’ (2016)
On this show-stopping dark-pop anthem. Ariana battles both the anxiety of being on a break with the person she loves and managing the complex emotions that come with it. The operatic pop track features some of Ariana’s most heavenly vocal runs, which float over a series of fuzzy synth beats. While “Touch It” has evolved into a fan favorite, the singer herself previously labeled it one of her most boring songs. Hard-disagree: The whistle notes alone are reason enough to put it in our Top 10.
‘One Last Time’ (2014)
When it was initially released in 2014 for her sophomore album, My Everything, “One Last Time” was already a deeply affecting track. But the electronica-sprinkled downbeat power ballad took on new meaning when it was rereleased as a charity single in 2017 following the Manchester Arena bombing. Despite the meaning of its initial lyrics centered on an unfaithful narrator, the song morphed into a powerful send-off to the families who lost loved ones during the attacks. Hearing Ariana’s desperate plea, “One last time / I need to be the one who takes you home / One more time / I promise after that, I’ll let you go,” in the latter context is chilling.
‘Thank U, Next’ (2019)
“thank u, next,” the titular track of Grande’s fifth studio album, was nothing short of a cultural reset. Following its release came a flood of memes, viral tweets, and endlessly quotable lines — along with a music video that paid homage to the singer’s favorite early aughts movies and featured star-studded cameos from Jennifer Coolidge to Kris Jenner. Without hearing the track and witnessing the social media conversation around “thank u, next,” however, it could have been easy to write off the song as a surface-level dig toward her exes. But “thank u, next” was more than a blip in the pop culture conversation; instead, it was a gracious ode to the exes that helped her find personal growth.
‘Bad Idea’ (2019)
A cautionary tale about using someone to get over an ex, “Bad Idea” is a soulful, trap-tinged cut that embodies the feeling of downing shots at the club and hitting the dance floor to distract yourself. The thank u, next standout perfectly captures the drive to numb all of your pain — but it also features some of Ariana’s best belting work, particularly when she sings the title of the song. And there’s just something about the intro’s anxiety-inducing guitar chords that make it distinctly feel like a rock song, despite transforming into a lush electro-pop opus.
‘Ghostin’ ‘ (2019)
On the surface, one might assume “Ghostin’ ” has something to do with dating culture. But despite the trendy term, the vulnerable song is actually a devastating ballad about what haunts her: death, love, loss, and the complexities of moving on thereafter. Flanked by Grande’s angelic vocals and sad strings, “Ghostin’ ” tackles mourning ex-boyfriend Mac Miller with emotional candor — and the toll it takes on her then relationship (with Pete Davidson). “He just comes to visit me / When I’m dreaming every now and then,” she laments, lost in a fantasy. It’s a strikingly sincere moment that serves as the anchor for her album thank u, next, capturing how massively grief has underscored all parts of her life.
‘No Tears Left to Cry’ (2018)
Ariana’s comeback single following the tragic bombing at her Manchester concert in 2017. The tone of “No Tears Left to Cry” was unexpected, but in may ways fit comfortably in her songbook. Like many of her tracks, the Max Martin co-written and produced single initially convinces you it’s one song (a somber ballad) and evolves into something much more—in this case, glittery shuffle of EDM-inflected pop that looks beyond grief. But what’s most beautiful about “No Tears Left to Cry” is that it doesn’t ignore the pain she went through; it digests the healing it took for her to restart her life after she experienced tragedy: “Right now, I’m in a state of mind/ I wanna be in, like, all the time/ Ain’t got no tears left to cry/ So I’m pickin’ it up, I’m pickin’ it up, I’m lovin’, I’m livin’, I’m pickin it up.”
‘Into You’ (2016)
With an epic bridge and a tantalizing disco-synth beat, “Into You” is arguably one of the best songs of the 2010s. So it’s no surprise that the explosive, dark-pop banger — which was one of Ariana’s steamiest at the time — was co-written and produced by musical mastermind Max Martin. Bursting with swagger and sass, Ariana commands the attention of the dance floor and makes “Into You” not only the most alluring track on her 2016 album, Dangerous Woman, but one of her catchiest — ever. And with lyrics like “A little less conversation and a little more touch my body,” breathlessly hanging over sultry, pulsating beats, Ariana proves she’s primed for a late-night make-out session or a scandalous fling. Moreover, she expertly crafts a fantasy that’s so captivating you can’t help but be transported to the fog-covered underground club she’s dreaming about, too.