Ariana Grande review of Eternal Sunshine

Ariana Grande's seventh studio album begins with a question she spends the rest of the album trying to answer: “How do I know if I'm in the right relationship?” Five years ago, on her historic album Thank you, nextIt seemed certain that she would now discover that question; In the bridge of this album's title song, she sings about her hope that it will be her first and last time when she finally walks down the aisle.

At 30, she was less convinced that she would ever know or understand how eternal love worked. If you expect Dessert-Level of optimism Eternal sunshineThat's Not What You'll Get: Grande's latest is a wonderfully revealing journey to the end of her world—or at least what she thinks is the end. It's a divorce album that goes through all the stages of grief, and the singer makes a fresh start with some of the most honest and creative songs of her career to date.

Grande gets the saddest feelings out of the way first. After “Intro (End of the World)” asked the album's central question, she spent the next two songs fighting for herself or her relationship. In “Goodbye”, she's more than ready to let go. She's so prepared, her friend Courtney is in the driveway waiting for the star to jump in the car with her stuff. “I don't want to break up again” is a bit uncertain; She paints a picture of a neglectful partner who she knows needs to leave but doesn't want to give up on yet. The early songs are a bit '70s pop in their style, with Grande doing her best Diana Ross impression.

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The lead single, “Eternal Sunshine,” slides deeper into mischief. She wants to “wipe.” [her] Mind,” like the 2004 movie Eternal sunshine of the spotless mindWhich the album and song are named after. Grande shines beautifully on the R&B-pop track: “I'll be the first to say I'm sorry/Now you made me feel sorry/I showed you all my demons and all my lies/And yet you played me like an Atari.”

Overcoming heartache is a bit of advice: “Saturn Returns Interlude” features a sample YouTube video from the mysterious astrologer Diana Garland on why turning 29 is important. “Saturn comes and hits you on the head and says: Wake up!” “It's time to get real about life and know who they really are,” Garland offers wisely. Grande takes this advice to heart from “Eternal Sunshine” onward. She navigates moments of resilience, acceptance, and hope for the future, no matter how uncertain. Like the theme song “Yes and?” (And perhaps the weakest of the set when compared to the rest of the album), “True Story” plays a bit with the public perception of it, featuring Grande “playing the villain” or “bad girl” in someone's persona. Eyes on a Beat sounds like something Timbaland could have made for Aaliyah.

“The Boy Is Mine” — sure to be a point of debate on Twitter given chatter about the timeline of her current partner Ethan Slater’s relationship — is another moment of late-’90s, early-August R&B-pop. It's a riff on Grande's take on Brandy and Monica's 1998 duet of the same name, but it actually sounds like a sequel to the NSync-produced “Break Up With Your Girlfriend.” Thank you, next With its driving and heavy rhythm.

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The last four songs are on Eternal sunshine are some of the strongest of Grande's career. “We Can't Be Friends (Wait on Your Love)” is perfect as a big pop anthem. Grande's vocal delivery is intimate and vulnerable next to a Robyn-esque dance beat. It almost feels like a love letter to the work of Max Martin, Grande's primary (and long-term) collaborator on the album, as well as the great pop princesses he's partnered with over the course of his career.


She shows more restraint on “I Wish I Hate You,” which is a big reflection on a breakup and the realization that even after it's over, love will take longer to let go. Although she has not worked with playwright Jason Robert Brown since Dangerous womanhe owes much to his posthumous musical divorce The past five years.

By the end of the album, Grande comes as close as possible to answering her question from the beginning of the album. But, like everyone else, she acknowledges the fact that it is foolish to understand how love works. Album closer “Ordinary Things” sums it all up, with some help from Nona. Grande celebrates the simple pleasure of spending time with someone you care about. Nona cleverly points out how you can at least know when it's over: “If you don't feel comfortable,” kiss them goodnight, even after a big fight, “you're in the wrong place… get out.” There's no better answer to life's big questions than that.

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