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Ariana Grande’s New Album ‘Eternal Sunshine’ Starts with a Pointed Question and Ends with a Decisive Answer

 Closeup of Ariana Grande on a red carpet.
Closeup of Ariana Grande on a red carpet.

Ariana Grande’s new album, Eternal Sunshine, dropped at midnight; the very first sentence uttered on the first of the record’s 13 tracks is the line “How can I tell if I’m in the right relationship?”—and it’s off to the races from there.

Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande

We could dissect the lyrics line-by-line on Grande’s seventh studio album for hours (and maybe already have—don’t tell anyone), but let’s just let Grande explain it herself. Grande sat down with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 to discuss the album, her inspirations behind it, and discussed how her time filming Wicked was “healing” for her relationship with music, People reports. With Grande’s personal life written about by almost every media outlet in existence this past year—in case you somehow missed it, she divorced husband Dalton Gomez and is now in a relationship with her Wicked co-star Ethan Slater, who also went through a messy breakup in 2023 as the public watched. (The tabloid attention is boldly addressed in the lead single from Eternal Sunshine, called “Yes, And?”: “Why do you care so much whose d— I ride?” she asked on the track.)

Ethan Slater and Ariana Grande
Ethan Slater and Ariana Grande

As Lowe correctly pointed out to Grande in their interview, the album starts with a question (see above) and ends with a very direct answer to it. The very last line on the record is on “Ordinary Things,” and it is, leaving no doubt about it, “You’re in the wrong place, get out.”

Grande said she “didn’t realize” how neatly the track tied up her initial question until she found a “voice note” of her grandmother, Nonna, talking to a friend. The album ends with the voice of Marjorie Grande speaking part of that 30-minute voice note; the snippet chosen, Grande said, was from “right smack in the middle” of the conversation. “And I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s the answer,’” Grande said. She added “I knew ‘Ordinary Things’ was the end of the album. I was like, ‘This is the last song, but I wonder how I can put that button on it and have it land emotionally the way that I feel it can, and how can I answer the question?’”

Lowe told Grande that Eternal Sunshine “ends with the most timeless piece of advice that anyone with any wisdom will give you, which is ‘Don’t forget about the little things,’” he said.

Ariana Grande and Dalton Gomez
Ariana Grande and Dalton Gomez

In conversation with Lowe, Grande shared her three favorite songs on Eternal Sunshine—at least as of right now. She counts “We Can’t Be Friends (Wait for Your Love),” “Imperfect for You,” and the title track, “Eternal Sunshine,” as her top three. (Excuse me—off to go [over]analyze some lyrics yet again.)

Eternal Sunshine is Grande’s first album since 2020’s Positions, and much has changed in her life in those four years. She got married in 2021 and divorced in 2023, for starters, as well as endeavored into a new relationship with Slater. “I’ve loved every minute of making this album—the videos, rehearsing, putting the roll-out together, doing the photoshoots, every single part of it,” she said.

Ariana Grande Wicked Galinda balletcore Balenciaga pink bow dress silk shoes
Ariana Grande Wicked Galinda balletcore Balenciaga pink bow dress silk shoes
Ariana Grande Oscar de la Renta floral dress red Valentino pumps heels diamond stud earrings Mimi Cuttrell Wicked press tour
Ariana Grande Oscar de la Renta floral dress red Valentino pumps heels diamond stud earrings Mimi Cuttrell Wicked press tour

Though she said she had a “very interesting relationship to music” before filming Wicked (which is out later this year), she said the break from recording was “really healing”: “More than ever before in my life, I’ve been able to be so much more present and enjoy it and savor it this time in a way that I don’t think I was able to before,” she said.

Will there be an Eternal Sunshine tour? “I miss doing shows,” Grande said. “I really do.” She added she’s “excited to redefine my relationship to touring,” and said “If there’s a chance to in between the Wickeds or right after the Wickeds, I will of course do my best to do it.”

Ariana Grande attends the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA.
Ariana Grande attends the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA.

Oh, and one more note about Eternal Sunshine: one of its tracks is what Grande calls a reimagination of Brandy and Monica’s hit 1998 single “The Boy Is Mine.” Grande’s track of the same name is what she called an “elevated” version of her previously unreleased single “Fantasize,” and a reinvention of Brandy and Monica’s hit, which lyrically follows a confrontation between two women who are dating the same man. (Art meets life, anyone?) “I love that song,” Grande told Lowe. “I’ve always wanted to reimagine that in some kind of way.” She also called it “a bad-girl anthem.”

Of people who (over)analyze her lyrics, Grande said on The Zach Sang Show last week that she felt an “insatiable frustration” and an “inexplicable, hellish feeling with watching people misunderstand the people you love, and you, and anything.”

She added “Pieces of it [Eternal Sunshine] touch on things that are real and then pieces of it are also just, like, part of the concept. So what is that separation? And it’s so scary to leave it up to these selective memory people to decipher. It’s scary. But I digress. It’s too late. The vinyls have been printed.”