Ariana Grande releases mellow new album

Ariana Grande released her seventh studio album called ‘eternal sunshine.’ The pop album released to positive reviews and has been No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart for two weeks. // Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone

Two-time Grammy-winning pop singer Ariana Grande launched her seventh studio album, titled “eternal sunshine”, on March 8, 2024. The album achieved instant success with a second consecutive week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album charts, matching the critical appreciation of her previous two studio albums.

The latest album, which loosely takes inspiration from the 2004 film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” is an attempt by the 30-year-old singer-songwriter to contextualize her own romantic life of the past three years. Grande lays bare her struggles with understanding love, her residual feelings about her divorce from real estate agent Dalton Gomez and her tempered enthusiasm towards a new relationship with Ethan Slater, her co-star in the upcoming film adaptation of the hit musical “Wicked.”

Grande’s relationship with Slater in particular has been a topic of public discussion, with the latter going through divorce proceedings of his own. While the album’s lead single “yes, and?” is a direct and emphatic attack on paparazzi and online trolls questioning her romantic choices, the bulk of the 35-minute-long album is a somewhat mellow rumination on her love life.

The first track, “intro (end of the world),” poses a question Grande grapples with throughout the album and provides context for the songs to come. Lines such as “How can I tell if I’m in the right relationship?” refer to the general pressure on people to intuitively know which relationship to invest time and effort in. The second part of the track brings forth the singer’s excitement about the new relationship, with lines such as “Then I had this interaction I’ve been thinkin’ ’bout for like five weeks / Wonder if he’s thinkin’ ’bout it too and smiling.”

“Bye,” the next track, is a song about ending a troubled relationship. Lines such as “I can’t believe I’m finally movin’ through my fears / At least, I know how hard we tried, both you and me” portray relief about the end of the relationship, with some references to picking up the pieces of her self-confidence. The third track, “don’t wanna break up again,” echoes the sentiment, with the singer justifying the divorce through lines like “It’s breaking my heart / To keep breaking yours again.”

Grande references the return of Saturn — which completes a trip around the sun once in about 29 years — in “Saturn Returns Interlude.” The track uses audio from astrologer Diana Garland as a call to “Wake up” and to “get real about life and sort out who you really are.” The singer follows this up with the title track, in which she suggests that her former partner was cheating on her. Lines such as “So now we play our separate scenes / Now, now she’s in my bed, mm-mm, layin’ on your chest,” change the reason for the divorce from incompatibility to infidelity. The singer also references her new relationship here with the line “I found a good boy and he’s on my side.”

“Supernatural” breaks from the duality and comparison that is a theme of the songs thus far, focusing solely on the relationship that Grande is excited about. “This love’s possessing me, but I don’t mind at all,” sings the 30-year-old in this simple and upbeat song.

There is a dramatic change in tone in “true story,” which Grande referenced in an interview prior to the album’s release as “an untrue story based on all untrue events.” The song departs from commentary of her own life and instead talks about women assuming power in relationships, through lines like, “For fun, you like to pray for my demise, mm / But I’ll play whatever part you need me to.” This sets up the next song, “the boy is mine,” in which the singer releases a strong hold on her feelings through lines like “And God knows I’m trying, but there’s just no use in denying / The boy is mine.”

Given this context of exploration and reasoning about love, the positioning of “yes, and?” as a second interlude appears deliberate, as if to signify a silencing of outside noise during a period of self-discovery. 

Returning to the theme, Grande shares her decisiveness about the separation through the next two songs, “we can’t be friends (wait for your love)” and “i wish i hated you.” In the former, lines such as “Just wanna let this story die / And I’ll be alright” express how she feels better off without the awkwardness of a relationship where she did not feel appreciated. In the latter, she takes peace in the separation, through lines such as “Your shoes still in boxes, I send them your way / Hoping life brings you no new pain.”

The penultimate song on the album, “imperfect for you,” has become popular for its punchy lyrics and elements of creativity. The song’s lyrics bring out a willingness to grapple with her insecurities for the right partner in lines like, “Messy, completely distressed / But I’m not like that since I met you / Imperfect for you.” Potential wordplay in the title and the deliberately off-key line “Imperfect for you” are subtle and intelligent additions. Grande wraps out the sequence with “ordinary things,” using wisdom from her Nonna along the lines of “never go to bed without kissin’ goodnight … And if you can’t … You’re in the wrong place, get out.”

Overall, “eternal sunshine” is a restrained, candid and personal account that stands out for its straightforwardness in communication. The lyrics throughout the album are simple, often sacrificing meter and exact rhyme to appear more conversational. “eternal sunshine” prioritizes the singer’s personal life over any exhibition of her well-renowned range. More information about the album can be found at