Music Reviews

Ariana Grande’s ‘eternal sunshine’ sheds light on relationships

Image from Ariana Grande's official website.

LONDON – Ariana Grande’s latest album eternal sunshine is a defiant response to critics of her relationships and a personal portrayal of her own insecurities.  

The album, released March 8, takes its name from director Michel Gondry’s 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and features 13 songs that blend pop, R&B, dance, and rap influences.  

The catchy disco track “yes, and?” was released as a prelude to the album, serving as a bold response to backlash Grande faced regarding allegations of cheating with married Wicked co-star Ethan Slater.  

The album delves deep into Grande’s inner conflicts within relationships, opening with the poignant question, ‘How do I know if I’m in the right relationship?’ in the song “intro (end of the world.”  

The album hints at a mature stage in the 30-year-old singer’s life, with the “Saturn Returns Interlude” track exploring themes of life lessons.  

Voiced by astrologer Diana Garland, the interlude references the Saturn Return astrological period, typically experienced at 29 where individuals navigate difficult life choices. 

Beneath the catchy tracks like “bye” with an upbeat disco vibe giving a sense of Grande’s freedom, there are elements of vulnerability.  

‘I’m too much for you’ Grande says on “don’t wanna breakup again.” 

The song shows accountability strengthened by Grande’s strong harmony layering.  

There is even a playful re-imagination of the ‘90s classic “The Boy Is Mine,” by Brandy and Monica with a slow-paced yet suave tempo change.  

The titular track “eternal sunshine” summarizes the main theme of the album – to forget. Grande consistently refers to the unfaithfulness of her partner such as in “true story,” depicting her need to move on.  

The song “we can’t be friends (wait for your love)” hints at the underlying desire for Grande to have more in a relationship.  

There is a sense of grief in Grande’s words as she says, ‘I don’t want to feed this monstrous fire.’  

But Grande succumbs to her feelings as she remarks on “supernatural” that ‘this love’s possessing me.’  

The album perhaps mimics the progression of a breakup – confusion to acceptance to insecurity.  

Towards the ending, Grande gives two sentimental songs. “imperfect for you,” which Grande performed on Saturday Night Live, showcases her deeper vocals as she exposes her insecurities.  

Grande’s thought process is powerfully revealed in her lyrics.  

The song “i wish i hated you” has a slowed-down pace allowing Grande to recollect her thoughts.  

The album ends with “ordinary things” as Grande lists the normality she craves in a relationship, perhaps away from public scrutiny. The song features an interlude from her grandmother referred to as ‘nonna’ who speaks of her own relationship.  

This link to her family perhaps allows Grande to stay grounded amid the chaos of her relationships and public life.  

Overall, eternal sunshine is a powerful addition to Grande’s discography and an ode to the complexities of relationships.  

Anjola Fashawe is a Senior Reporter with Youth Journalism International. 

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