Photo: press

Ariana Grande – eternal sunshine


I’ve often said that a songwriter is cursed to feel the world much like an artist sees it, and in Ariana Grande’s case it couldn’t be more true. Before announcing her seventh studio album eternal sunshine, Grande and Dalton Gomez broke up – “only wanna do it once real bad, gon make that shit last” – and everyone assumed that Grande gave up on the marriage because Ethan Slater came along and ridiculed her mercilessly for it. Um… let’s not forget the needless hell she received online because of her weight, at a time, when, if we were only considerate beings, we’d be holding back our judgments in respect of what she’s going through.

But no…

And while she carelessly tells us “I’ll play the villain if you need me to” in “true story” – and she did do that in the lead single “yes and?” – she couldn’t carry on with this promise and we still get glimpses of her bleeding soul in lines scattered throughout the album. I honestly would describe anyone who remains unaffected by eternal sunshine as lacking a lot of emotions, because there are a lot of parts that genuinely strike the deepest chords of the heart, and it’s wonderful how I was so affected by things I can’t even relate to.

My first observation is that Grande switched moods during the writing of this record, which is something we do often enough. In “eternal sunshine,” she sings – presumably of her ex – “Can’t rearrange truth / I’ve never seen someone lie like you do / So much, even you start to think it’s true.” From the lines, we can safely give him a first strike for being an unrepentant person who can’t admit to any fault or even mistakes of theirs. In the chorus, we get the hint there may have been cheating involved, “I’ll be the first to say, “I’m sorry” / Now you got me feelin’ sorry / I showed you all my demons, all my lies /Yet you played me like Atari / Now it’s like I’m lookin’ in the mirror / Hope you feel alright when you’re in her.” However, in “wish i hated you,” she wishes he could have been worse so she could safely cast him as the villain and spare herself the grief.

Coming complete with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind inspired music video, Grande gently sings in “we can’t be friends (wait for your love)” about waiting for a partner to remember how to love her again. My thought is that this song was written earlier on in the album writing process – don’t ask me why, there’s no theory for it, but I just feel it. While upbeat, the Europop-infused anthem addresses a pain none of us would ever want to relate to.

When it comes to the sonic aspects of this album and the production, Grande once again proved why she’s a global powerhouse. I’ve once heard a producer rate an Ariana Grande album a B, and when people started to protest that it was a masterpiece, he insisted that he holds her to higher standards than other of her contemporaries and that he’d have gladly given any artist that did what she did on the album an A. This is praise indeed, and one that’s truly deserved.