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Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

Ariana Grande addresses personal life in comeback album

“Eternal Sunshine” unpacks the singer’s love life and relationship with the media

On Friday, Mar. 8, pop singer Ariana Grande released her seventh full-length studio album “Eternal Sunshine.” The album is Grande’s first in nearly four years since 2020’s “Positions.” Based on the album’s lyrical content and themes, “Eternal Sunshine” chronicles Grande’s personal life, ranging from her romantic life to her relationship with the tabloids.

    Grande has been the subject of intense media scrutiny for the past year. According to Billboard Magazine, this attention reached a “fever pitch” in July 2023 amidst Grande’s separation from her now ex-husband, Dalton Gomez, and her budding relationship with actor Ethan Slater. Grande and Slater met as co-stars on the set of the upcoming “Wicked” film adaptation.

    Second-year theater arts student Arjan Sidhu impartially opined that celebrities are bound to enter scandals and garner negative publicity. “I’ve given up on judging celebrities for their actions, unless they’re considered to be awful people,” Sidhu said. 

    In a recent interview with podcaster Zach Sang, Grande expressed her frustrations with the press and implied misogyny as being a root cause of what she described as “sensationalism.” “We selectively remember that this is what the tabloids do to people, especially women,” Grande said. Grande summarized the album as saying “everything and nothing at the same time” regarding her personal life. 

    “Eternal Sunshine” incorporates the musical genres of synth-pop and R&B with accompanying tidbits of dance-pop. Lyrically, the album’s tracklist follows a thematic sequence of a deteriorating romantic relationship that concludes, culminating in a new relationship in which Grande is love-struck. 

    The album’s opening track, “Intro (End of the World),” is an R&B prelude with lyrics that imply Grande questioning the state of her relationship. “Bye,” a disco number, kicks off the album as a quick follow-up to the intro, where Grande bids farewell to a relationship, as the title suggests. Simultaneously, the singer recognizes her self-worth in the track by singing, “I’m stronger than I think.”

    “Don’t Wanna Break Up Again,” is another R&B-influenced track that lyrically describes a “situationship” (in Grande’s words) that has lost all steam and has come to an end. In succession, “Saturn Returns Interlude” is an astrological reference that samples the words of astrologer Diana Garland. According to the astrology website Tarot, astrologers define the Saturn return as a “time of significant endings and beginnings,” which typically occurs when an individual is 27 to 29 years old, which was around Grande’s age during the development of “Eternal Sunshine.”

    The album’s title track, “Eternal Sunshine,” thematically references the title and premise of the 2004 film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” in which Grande discusses a dissolving relationship and wishes to forget about it. In Grande’s interview with Sang, the singer revealed that the 2004 film correlated with the album’s identity and that the song “fell into place” while creating the album.

    “Supernatural” is a synth-pop song that diverts the album’s thematic trajectory into a newfound relationship for Grande. As the title suggests, Grande describes the feeling of this new love as “supernatural” and states in the chorus that it is “taking over” herself. “True Story,” a song with R&B elements, discusses Grande’s relationship with the media. Grande takes titular inspiration from Brandy and Monica’s 1998 hit single “The Boy is Mine” in an R&B song of the same name. Grande describes the track as a “bad-girl anthem.” 

    Succeeding is the album’s lead single, “Yes, And?,” a house-inspired dance-pop track that serves as a clapback to Grande’s critics regarding her personal life and decisions. SSU alumna Melina Osmundson initially felt disappointed with Grande’s lyrical approach to the single. “It was a way to not really address the situation, but to make a mockery of it,” Osmundson said. 

    “We Can’t Be Friends (Wait For Your Love),” the second single off the album, is a synth-pop track that discusses unrequited love. In “I Wish I Hated You,” Grande describes the ending of a relationship and her subsequent emotions in the electropop track. “Imperfect for You” incorporates acoustic instrumentation with its lyrics emphasizing the virtues of imperfections in love. 

    “Eternal Sunshine” officially concludes with the trap-influenced “Ordinary Things.” Lyrically, the closing track finds significance in the more mundane experiences of romantic relationships. Grande’s grandmother, Marjorie, whom she often calls “Nonna,” is credited as a feature, derived from a conversation between herself and Grande that she sampled.

    Osmundson, a human development graduate, described “Eternal Sunshine” as her favorite album of Grande’s since 2018’s “Sweetener.” Osmundson highlighted the album’s production, lyricism, replay value and Grande’s vocal performance. “It’s beautifully executed from start to finish,” Osmundson said. “After listening to the album, I don’t think (what the media is portraying) is the entire story.”

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About the Contributor
Christian Core, Staff Writer
Christian Core is a third year communication major at Sonoma State.
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