Album Review on Ariana Grande’s “Eternal Sunshine”

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Ariana Grande promotes new album release Eternal Sunshine on her Instagram. The post includes a collection of photos for her album cover art.
Ariana Grande promotes new album release “Eternal Sunshine” on her Instagram. The post includes a collection of photos for her album cover art.

On March 8th, Ariana Grande released her new album Eternal Sunshine. This is Grande’s first album since releasing 2020’s Positions which dabbled in her sensuality and intimacy but overall felt unoriginal and stagnant. However, since then, Grande has been through a whirlwind of events: starting production on the movie Wicked, her public divorce last October from Dalton Gomez – though I’m sure most of us saw that coming – and her recent controversy regarding an uprising romance between her and her co-star, Ethan Slater. After hearing of these events and learning Grande had a new album coming, I felt defeated once again. There was no way she would release music that would leave my jaw on the floor; it would be another yawning and eye-rolling album. However, let me tell you, I was completely wrong. 

The first three songs: Intro (End of the World), Bye, and Don’t Wanna Break Up Again introduce the album by second-guessing a relationship and leaving it. We get lyrics like “How can I tell if I’m in the right relationship/ Aren’t you really supposed to know that s***?” and “At least I know how hard we tried.”

At first, you get the sense this will be an I-don’t-need-him-I’ll-be-my-own-boyfriend kind of album. All we really know is that a relationship ended – hinting at her divorce – and she seems to be handling it pretty well. Thankfully, Grande is not acting petty like she was in Thank U, Next. 

Then there is Saturn Returns Interlude which was a dialogue sample from YouTube astrologer Diana Garland who discusses that Saturn’s planet cycle will make a person “wake up” and get real about their life and who they really are. This is convenient since Grande turned 30 last June. However, the interlude transitions into Eternal Sunshine where it kind of gives off a rebounding energy, similar to the song Glimpse of Us by Joji. This happens after Grande introduces a new boy in the lyrics: “I found a good boy and he’s on my side.” 

Eternal Sunshine overall just seems like a whole lot of mental warfare.

The next three songs, Supernatural, True Story, and The Boy is Mine, seem a bit too scattered for my taste. I don’t have much to say about these songs. I do believe they’re terrific tracks but they just feel highly misplaced in this album. I’ve also been aware that people on social media believe Yes, And? is pointless in this album, but that is where I come to disagree. 

Yes, And? is the perfect breakthrough song for Grande. I am so glad that her team made this one of her singles. Although it may be too upbeat for the style she is possibly trying to portray in her album, I won’t second-guess that decision. This song is an I’m-coming-out moment. If you keep up with Grande, you may notice how forward she’s been with her past. Examples of this include her confession to lip-filler and botox on Vogue Beauty Secrets or a TikTok she posted addressing people talking about her body and how “unhealthy” she looked. This song addresses it again through the lyrics “My face is sitting, I don’t need no disguise/ Don’t comment on my body, do not reply/ Your business is yours and mine is mine” I believe she did a perfect job standing up for herself and I’m so proud of her!

We Can’t Be Friends (Wait For Your Love) was a song I was emotionally unprepared for. I genuinely felt like I was going through the worst breakup of my life, and I’m in a perfectly healthy relationship, might I add! 

This song, similar to most of the album, was inspired by the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind about a painful breakup between a couple, and each of them undergoes a procedure to erase each other from their memories. Grande makes the same approach in her music video as well. 

We Can’t Be Friends is the start of the last four songs of the album which feels like an earth-shattering heartbreak, followed up with I Wish I Hated You, Imperfect For You, and Ordinary Things. The message I get from all these songs is the relationship she was in, like her divorce, wasn’t right for her. This is her accepting instead of bargaining. This is her response instead of pushing it off. This album feels like it was about her stages of grief after a mature breakup. 

Grande even adds advice from her grandmother, Marjorie Grande, at the end of her last song, Ordinary Things, stating: “Never go to bed without kissin’ goodnight. That’s the worst thing to do, don’t ever, ever do that. And if you can’t and if you don’t feel comfortable doing it… you’re in the wrong place. Get out.”

Grande has created emotional songs in the past like My Everything and Almost Is Never Enough. However, this entire album has left a compelling crack in my heart. Grande has stepped into her breakthrough era and discovered a beautiful sense of maturity. She has changed for the better and is ready to be her true self. She’s learning about who she is just like any other person; I feel like we will always be learning about who we are. We can see her empathy and sincerity through the portrayal of this album. I love the depth she put into this and think she did an amazing job.

I’m so overwhelmingly happy with this album and I hope you all give it a listen. If you do, feel free to state your own opinions in the comments. I’d love to hear about your take on her album!

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