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Review: ‘eternal sunshine’ by Ariana Grande

The iconic pop star’s confessional seventh studio album sheds light on her personal life in grandiose fashion.
Image by Ava Weinreis
“eternal sunshine” is Grande’s first album since 2020’s “Positions”.

After causing a stir in the realm of celebrity relationship gossip last year, Ariana Grande released a well-produced confessional album last Friday whose narrative focuses on the bittersweet end of one relationship and the euphoric beginning of another. 

Titled “eternal sunshine,” Arianators have theorized the title is a tribute to her current beau, Ethan Slater, because the album shares his initials. Even though there are no duds on the tracklist, “eternal sunshine” is far from Grande’s best work, despite being a good album. 

The album opener, “intro (end of the world),” opens with an old-time-y vibe. The sound of a vinyl record crackles and orchestral instruments gently ring out, setting the scene for a deeply personal record with an elegant aesthetic.

The album dives into Grande’s romantic life from the first line of its opening track, as Grande sings about feeling unsure in a relationship, “How can I tell if I’m in the right relationship?/ Aren’t you really supposed to know that s—?/ Feel it in your bones and own that s—?”

By track two, “bye,” Grande makes it abundantly clear she has realized it’s time to move on as she sings “Bye-bye / Boy, bye / Bye-bye / It’s over, it’s over.”

“bye” is a wonderful kick-start to the album. As the track starts with Grande doing vocal riffs over grandiose orchestration and flares of wah pedal-drenched guitar, the musical tone of the album is set before it turns into a punchy dance-pop cut. 

The album peaks when Grande carries captivating choruses with her powerful voice, given she has one of the strongest voices in modern pop. “supernatural” is a strong point on the album. While it isn’t the most flashy vocal performance, the song’s chorus is nothing short of elegant as Grande’s vocals sound effortlessly divine.

“the boy is mine” is a turning point on the album lyrically, as it seemingly retells the start of Grande and Slater’s relationship. Grande has faced scrutiny over the relationship, as Slater divorced his wife after going public about his relationship with Grande, even after fathering a child earlier the year prior.

The lyrics on “the boy is mine” feel pointed towards the controversy as Grande sings, “How can it be? You and me / Might be meant to be, can’t unsee it. / But I don’t wanna cause no scene. / I’m usually so unproblematic. / So independent, tell me why / ‘Cause the boy is mine.”

“the boy is mine” is yet another crowning moment on the album. Thumping bass and scattered house-style vocal samples make this moody banger especially lush in sound.

The very best song on the LP turns out to be its debut single, “yes, and?” an angelic dance-pop track that has musical call-backs to pop greats like Janet Jackson while still sounding totally fresh. Grande continues to reference the controversy surrounding her relationship at the end of the song’s bridge by singing “Your business is yours and mine is mine. / Why do you care so much whose d— I ride?

Eleventh in the track list, “i wish i hated you” is pretty sentimental-sounding but strays away from being corny, mostly due to Grande’s powerful vocal performance as she coasts on top of the song’s beautiful background arrangement.

The album’s second to last song, “imperfect for you,” stands out because of its discordant guitar chords. The track has a heavenly chorus expertly accented by reverberated strings as Grande broaches the topic of radical acceptance in her relationship.

“ordinary things” ends the album off on an optimistic note, but it also feels climactic and powerful musically. It makes for a good conclusion of her seventh album, maintaining the album’s atmospheric production style as it sends the listener off on a feeling of finality.

“eternal sunshine” doesn’t quite hold up to her excellent 2019 LP “thank u, next,” but it is reassuring to hear Grande put out a cohesive, well-constructed project this far into her career, all while her voice remains as fantastic as ever.

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