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The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Album Review: Ariana Grande’s ‘eternal sunshine’ is ‘imperfect for you’

Ariana+Grande+responds+to+public+opinion+on+her+love+life+in+her+new+album.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Spotify%29
Ariana Grande responds to public opinion on her love life in her new album. (Photo courtesy of Spotify)

Ariana Grande broke back into the music scene this month with her newest album, “eternal sunshine,” gaining her sixth No. 1 album and taking up 12 slots on the Billboard Hot 100 list.  

Truthfully, I was not planning on listening to Grande’s latest release after disliking the lead single “yes, and?” and feeling largely indifferent to her previous record “Positions.” But, after a canceled flight and the realization that I would be spending 15 hours at Charleston International Airport, energetic, basic pop was all I needed – and “eternal sunshine” was perfect. I don’t mean this as an insult. Grande has found what works for her voice, storytelling and audience and she does it very well.

The album opens with “intro (end of the world),” which introduces listeners to the central question of Grande’s album: “how can I tell if I’m in the right relationship?” She spends the next 12 tracks on this journey of relationship growth and self-discovery, approaching the topic of her love life from all different emotional angles — sadness, excitement, confusion, empowerment — while ultimately toying with the role she would like to play in the story of her life. 

Grande undeniably has a great voice. I like how much of this album utilizes her lower register — a welcomed change from the typical Ariana Grande whistle-tones. Paired with the different lyrical content throughout the album, Grande is able to deliver several synth-pop hits, speaking both to her very public breakup and her even more public new relationship.

My favorite tracks from the album are “eternal sunshine,” “bye” and “i wish i hated you,” all of which follow the breakup thread in the album. “eternal sunshine” and “bye” are pretty similar — they have strong drums, catchy choruses and fun lyrics. I particularly love the sound effects used in “eternal sunshine” during the lines “I showed you all my demons, all my lies/Yet you played me like Atari” and the shoutout to Grande’s childhood best friend in “bye.”

“i wish i hated you” is the most unique song on “eternal sunshine” and maybe the most vulnerable. While Grande takes a more fun, lighthearted approach to her love life elsewhere on the album, “i wish i hated you” is a look into the more serious, subtly sad side. She sings “Hung all my clothes in the closet you made/Your shoes still in boxes, I send them your way/Hoping life brings you no new pain.” Slow and sung almost wistfully, this song seems to me to be speaking the most directly to her former partner rather than the general public.  

The album’s closer “ordinary things (feat. Nonna)” speaks directly to the intro and the looming question of how to know when someone is good for you. I don’t really care for most of this song; however, the outro featuring Grande’s grandmother might be my favorite moment on the entire record. Nonna’s message ties the album with a perfect bow.

Listening to “eternal sunshine” was an unexpectedly great time and I have found myself going back to it even after touching back down in Easton, PA.

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About the Contributor
Isabella Gaglione, Culture Editor
Isabella Gaglione (she/her) is a junior English and Film & Media Studies double major from Long Island, New York. The Lafayette's resident Taylor Swift Reporter. 

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