Fake Smile

Album: Thank U, Next (2019)
Charted: 26

Songfacts®:

  • Ariana Grande wrote most of the songs for her Thank U, Next album in the aftermath of several traumatic events. In May 2018 she broke up with rapper Mac Miller, who a few months later died after a drug overdose. Then in October of that year she split from her fiancé Pete Davidson. She was also dealing with the heartbreak of the 2017 terrorist attack at her concert in Manchester, England. On "Fake Smile" Grande sings about life in the public eye, where she's expected to show up and pretend everything's okay because she's famous.

    I can't fake another smile
    I can't fake like I'm alright
    And I won't say I'm feeling fine
    After what I been through, I can't lie


    Grande doesn't want to paste on a fake smile just because she's a celebrity - she wants to fully embrace the emotions that her recent life has thrown at her.
  • The song starts of with a sample of Tennessee soul singer Wendy Rene's 1964 hit, "After Laughter (Comes Tears)" which continues to feature throughout the track. The Stax tune has formed the backbone of more than a dozen songs since Wu-Tang Clan borrowed it for their 1993 cut "Tearz." Alicia Keys, ("Where Do We Go From Here") and Metro Boomin ("Borrowed Love") are among the artists that have incorporated it.
  • Ariana Grande wrote the song with Justin Tranter, whose resumé includes hit tunes penned for the likes of Hailee Steinfeld ("Love Myself"), Justin Bieber ("Sorry") and Selena Gomez ("Good For You").

    The pair penned "Fake Smile" on the last night of a week-long session. "It was just one of those things when the song fell out," Tranter recalled to MTV News. "Ari's a legitimate co-writer on the song, and at one point she said, 'Stop playing, I'm getting in the booth right now. And boom! She sits down and recorded the vocals herself, which I've never seen a singer ever do."

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