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The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

Ariana Grande’s ‘eternal sunshine’ (2024)

The Return of Pop’s Eternal Princess
Photo from Pitchfork.
Photo from Pitchfork.

In the current pop realm, there isn’t anyone quite like Ariana Grande. As an operatic superstar, she crafted a majestic space in pop, being able to fight off the Mariah Carey knockoff allegations and encompassing genre-bending versatility. 

I was not the biggest fan of 2021’s Positions, even if it supplied us with monstrous bangers like 34+35, nor did I care for her endless collaborations and remixes during the pandemic. However, her latest project, eternal sunshine refreshes her catalog and defies the expectations that I wearily set for this. From being so self-aware and apprehensive on intro (end of the world) to being positively imaginative about ordinary things, eternal sunshine is Grande returning to her imaginative pop depths that defined some of her best projects like Sweetener and thank u, next.

Sometimes, she’ll supply listeners with sonic sass with yes, and? or bye. The former, being a lead single, marked Grande’s bombastic return to not only the pop terrain but to the mainstream graces. With a semi-publicized divorce and highly-paparazzi’d romance altering her public image, yes, and? merges Grande as both a performer and as a person, daring naysayers to “say that shit with your shit.” While not her most celestial or potent lead single – I personally think that it will always go to No Tears Left to Cry – it is ridiculously catchy, and the 90s dance-house instrumentals are insanely fitting. 

bye oozes contemporary disco glitziness and works brilliantly as a power anthem. Grande’s “girlboss” pizazz pairs well with her incredible resilient witticisms like “Usually, I’d join you on the floor, but this dance ain’t for me.” Not only are her self-affirming lyrics serving sass but her heavenly soprano range also overpower the toxic guy she’s singing about. In every sense of the word, it’s quintessentially groovy

However, don’t wanna break up completely switches the mood from magical to melancholy. Grande illustrates a sad image of co-dependency and unrequited sacrifice but ultimately decides, “I’m too much for you so I really gotta do the thing I don’t wanna do.” I think recognizing when a relationship just isn’t working is a mature position for her. true story also follows this narrative thread, bringing back a stew of sass and sarcasm.

Photo From Genius.

The title track is the epitomic flair of Grande’s pop-R&B glitter. Directly referencing the 2004 classic Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, she masterfully tries “to wipe my mind to feel less insane” and detach from an unhappy relationship. Instead, she transforms the unhappiness into a personal lesson that she carries into a new relationship with “a good boy and he’s on my side.” Her falsetto? Flawless and angelic amidst her layered harmonies! Like Grande’s title tracks from previous albums, this one truly hits a sweet sentiment and is one of the best tracks on the album. I especially love the smaller details she adds, like the dreamy subdued strings and the little video game sound effect when she says, “You played me like Atari.” 

Grande’s natural talent sparkles through on supernatural. Having love that is “possessing” or “taking over” you can feel dangerous, but as she ardorously proclaims, “I don’t even mind at all.” As far as R&B love jams go, this track is lushly layered and I could easily see it being remixed by the likes of The Weeknd! In the same vein, the boy is mine embraces getting intertwined in love with the stars aligned for a new guy in Grande’s life. Inspired by the 90s collaborative hit of the same name by Brandy and Monica, she fully pays homage to old-school R&B from her sultry voice to her bewitching lyrical delivery. 

we can’t be friends (wait for your love) is a transformative piece of 80s heartbreak balladry. Although it borrows from the 80s, it feels futuristic and galactic, especially with how Grande expresses waiting for things to get better in her relationship, even when it seems unlikely. i wish i hated you confirms that things are truly and sadly over. Grande supplements us with an influx of heartbreakingly wistful details. Even when she tried making it work, she realized that “our shadows stand in a parallel plane, just two different endings,” meaning they just weren’t meant to intersect. 

Of course, Grande has a dreamy bop for hopeless romantics in the form of the waltzy imperfect for you. Aside from being cosmically lovey-dovey, it has a cosmic quality to it with washed-out guitars and aesthetic bell tones. It also has a pretty neurotic yet wholesome message on finding someone with just as much emotional baggage as you do. The idea of finding your neurotic equal is strangely comforting, and Grande affirms to her partner that “we’d make the bad stuff delightful” and “we’ll be there for each other” despite personal struggles.  

Extraordinarily, Grande goes in a jazzy direction with ordinary things featuring the album’s only feature – her Nonna! Blossoming into a fresh and new relationship, she accepts that it will be anything but ordinary. The languid horns add to the seduction and passion that Grande exudes; it makes me feel like a 1920s flapper smoking a cigar and looking pensively at a cityscape. Nonna’s spoken word outro offers sound advice on lasting relationships and answers the question Grande asked in the intro: “How do I know if I’m in the right relationship?”

Honestly, a four-year wait was worth it. Even without the iconic “yuh” s or the operatic contingency, Grande still delivers flair as one of pop’s more versatile powerhouses. eternal sunshine gloriously glistens as a musical endeavor and as a reflection of Grande’s self. 


Favorite Track(s): bye, eternal sunshine, supernatural, the boy is mine, yes, and?imperfect for you, ordinary things

Least Favorite Track(s): true story

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