Heartache Laid Bare: “Eternal Sunshine” by Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande returns with an album covering a journey through relationships and newfound discoveries about love.
Eternal Sunshine is Ariana Grandes latest album since releasing Positions. (Photo by: Ally Espiritu)
“Eternal Sunshine” is Ariana Grande’s latest album since releasing “Positions.” (Photo by: Ally Espiritu)

With “Eternal Sunshine,” pop star Ariana Grande returned to the scene after four years. This album follows Positions, and is her seventh album, ushering in a new era for the singer. A lot has happened with Grande between albums, from starting the filming of “Wicked” to an on-and-off relationship with Dalton Gomez. “Eternal Sunshine” serves as a culmination of all of this with many nods to events happening throughout her own life.  

Many have praised this album as being Grande’s best, while others dislike the album due to the undeniable connection between its lyrics and her ‘messy’ past. Nevertheless, “Eternal Sunshine” is one of her strongest comebacks, bringing back the pop and R&B fusion that Grande is known for. 

Intro (End of the World)” starts off with a central question for the album: how can you know if the person you love is truly the one? The song is full of Grande’s anxious wondering and constant questioning: “And if it all ended tomorrow / Would you be the one on mine?” 

In the next couple of songs, she seems to argue with herself on the true answer to the aforementioned question. On “Bye,” Grande rejects her lover with an upbeat piano and a definitive tone. She then does a complete spin with “Don’t Wanna Break Up Again,” where, although she wants to end a toxic “situationship,” she refuses to let her lover go and delivers a heartfelt plea for advice.

Cutting through Grande’s heartache, “Saturn Returns Interlude” serves as a wake-up call, pulling listeners out of the R&B synth and offering a piece of advice through a sample of astrologer Diana Garland, who explains why 29 is an important age to “wake up” and find your true identity. Grande takes this advice to heart, ending the arguments with herself and becoming more confident in herself and her decisions in the following tracks. With the title track, Grande moves on decisively from a failed relationship, shifting between scenes of acceptance and uncertainty for the future. The fun lyrics with video game references and her airy falsetto make the song an entertaining listen. Grande also took inspiration from the movie “Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind.

In an interview with Amazon Music Grande said that “the songs were kind of forming a story that, well, [is] kinda similar to ‘Eternal Sunshine’ where’s this cycle that everyone’s trying to break.” 

In the next tracks, Grande takes a more decisive stance on love, fully committing herself to her lover and keeping true to herself. Grande becomes comfortable with love in “Supernatural,” fully embracing the love she feels and reveling in it.

On the track Grande sings “This love’s possessing me, / But I don’t mind at all,” her light falsetto notes giving in to a giddy, unapologetic sense of love. 

With “True Story,” “The Boy is Mine,” and “Yes, And?” Grande forms a confrontational mini-trilogy centered around protecting her relationships at any cost. She takes a more serious turn on “True Story,” with deep bass and stripped vocals that show her cold determination for this cause. Grande continues with “The Boy Is Mine,” which is definitely one of the most fun songs coming from this album, and effectively one-ups “Fantasize,” an unreleased song that fans loved. The 2000s R&B feel separates it from the rest of the album and is an amazing song to dance to. Finishing off the trilogy is “Yes, And?”, the only single that came from the album.

“Don’t comment on my body, do not reply / Your business is yours and mine is mine,” Grande sings in “Yes, And?,” sending a direct message to her haters with this house track.

After the hard-hitting middle section, “Eternal Sunshine” lulls back into a slower and more pensive section with “We Can’t Be Friends (Wait For Your Love).” Grande unwinds further with “I Wish I Hated You” and “Imperfect For You.”  She is less aggressive and instead takes on a more introspective tone, mulling over her relationships. While the stripped vocals and simple melody on “I Wish I Hated You” made the song a bit of a boring listen, the album picks up again with “Imperfect For You” where Grande takes on a heartfelt and lilting tone. “Ordinary Things” serves as a fitting end to the album, circling back to Grande’s initial questions about finding her true love. The track features her grandmother, who gives an answer to Grande’s initial question: don’t get into a relationship with someone you don’t feel comfortable kissing goodnight. With Nonna’s story of her devotion to her husband, Grande ends the album with newfound discoveries about her own love. 

In “Eternal Sunshine,” Grande focuses on her own definition of love. Her storytelling ability and her mesmerizing vocals are showcased through this release. “Eternal Sunshine” marks the beginning of a new era for Grande as she hopes to continue being more open in her songs.

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