This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010, as well as, the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their lists, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. “RS: Song XXX” means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #50: 7 Rings by Ariana Grande.
As they say in horse-racing, we have rounded the clubhouse turn and are heading down the straight-away when it comes to this music countdown. 450 music posts have been written. That is 90% of all posts are now done. That is an amazing feat and I am very grateful to all of you for coming along for the ride. It has been a lot of fun so far. The final 10% promises to be, figuratively and literally, the best yet. So, come on along, everyone! The finish line is in sight. Let’s bring this all home.
As you know by now, every 25th song goes to one of my girls and, in the case of today’s song, that choice goes to Sophie. “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande is Song #2 on her personal Top Ten list of the best songs of all-time. I have written before about how much Sophie likes and admires Ariana Grande. *(You can read about that here). We have all heard her biggest hits played, over and over again, many times in our home. Luckily for us, Ariana Grande is a good singer and possesses a strong singing voice and, as such, even though her songs are not always on my own, personal playlist, I don’t actually mind when Sophie plays her tunes at home. Of all of the tunes of hers that Sophie plays, “7 Rings” is the one I like the best. The message woven into the lyrics of this song are often misconstrued as being about conspicuous consumption when, in reality, Grande wrote this song as a way to show female empowerment through economic clout. I can always remember my own mother, who was a Registered Nurse, always saying how important it was for her to have her own source of income so that she wasn’t beholden to any man. That sentiment is really what “7 Rings” is all about. Here is the story of how the song came to be.
“7 Rings” is a song based upon a true event in Ariana Grande’s life. At one point, just as her career had taken off and she was becoming a full-fledged music star, Ariana Grande began a romantic relationship with comedian, Pete Davidson, who is best known as one of the stars on Saturday Night Live. Sometimes, a celebrity relationship works out and stands the test of time but, more often than not, young celebrity couples end up buckling under the strain of their busy lives. Such was the case for Davidson and Grande. As with any couple, sometimes a breakup comes as a relief while, at other times, it is a heartbreaking loss. For Ariana Grande, the truth lay somewhere in the middle. In any case, her response to the breakup was to flex her economic muscle and engage in a little retail therapy. She, and six of her friends, went shopping and ended up in a Tiffany’s jewelry store. While there, Ariana bought a ring for herself and then, six other matching rings for her friends which accounts for the “7 Rings” of the song title. Upon returning to her studio, armed with her army of friends and their glittering rings, she was inspired to create a new song that was an announcement to the world that she was going to be alright after the big breakup and, in fact, she was prepared to live her best life and to thrive.
“7 Rings” was directly inspired by the song, “Favourite Things” from the musical, “The Sound of Music”. The opening verse borrows directly from it and, as a result, a settlement was reached with the people who own the rights to that song, for 90% of the royalties to “7 Rings”. That is a huge payout for any song but, Ariana Grande believed in the power of the statement she was making and forged ahead with the song, anyway. The whole song describes the financial clout she possesses and how in control of her life she is at all times, in all regards. At first blush, she paints “being in control” through the lens of materialistic excess but, in the end, her message is that because she is who she is, Grande will always have the ability to provide for herself and, by extension, for her family and friends so, take that, ex-boyfriend!
From Sophie’s point of view, she likes the song for the message it gives off but, as well, for the cohesiveness of the song, in terms of how the musical structure complements the lyrics and how the fashion sense/style of the dancers in live performances all fits together, seamlessly, in style and in function, too. Sophie is very much a young lady with takes pride in being “put together” and co-ordinated when it comes to her wardrobe, how her bedroom is organized, how our house functions and so on. To her, style is more than mere physical appearance; it is a way of living in which everything of importance flows together and is connected in ways that are efficient, make sense and are aesthetically pleasing. While Sophie may be the youngest member of our family, her influence is felt everywhere in our home. So much so that her older sister, Leah, who works in our local Public Library, recently re-organized the children’s board book section based upon one of Sophie’s prime organizational methods which is…colour. To Sophie, life is simply better when it is well-organized and, even better still, is when organization beautiful to look at, too.
So, as you listen to Ariana Grande sing “7 Rings” live, note the look and the function of every aspect of the video. Sophie really enjoys the thoughtfulness that went into how this video plays out in terms of style, organization and functionality. She, also, enjoys watching a female sing about living a life from a position of confidence and power. All in all, I enjoy the way Grande sampled “Favourite Things” and the whole dramatic sound of the song. I hope that all of you will like it, too. Regardless of that, Sophie likes it enough to make it her second most-liked song of all-time and since she has good taste, that should count for something.
So, here is Ariana Grande and her break-up song with Pete Davidson, “7 Rings”. Take that, Punk!
The link to the video for the song, “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Ariana Grande, can be found here.