Arts & Entertainment

ALBUM REVIEW: ‘Eternal Sunshine’ by Ariana Grande

World-renowned pop princess Ariana Grande’s new album demonstrates emotional vulnerability and encapsulates the rays of the sun after a cold winter.

As we dive into a new quarter, the sun has finally decided to rear its head after hiding away for so many months. This new season has also brought alongside it some exciting new music releases. Perhaps the most anticipated of these new releases is Ariana Grande’s new album, “Eternal Sunshine.”  

Ariana Grande-Butera is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She is perhaps one of the biggest names in pop music today, as her music has consistently charted on a near yearly basis since the release of her debut solo album “Yours Truly” in 2014. As of recently Ariana has won two Grammys, two Billboard Music Awards, nine MTV Music Video Awards, one Brit Award, and has continued to receive acclaim on her vocal prowess and artistic talents.  

Ariana’s newest album has left quite an impression on fans and non-fans alike. Truthfully, I had no plans on reviewing this album or even listening to it. But of course, curiosity got the best of me after some short clips popped up on my TikTok feed. And with the recent controversies regarding her infidelity towards her husband Dalton Gomez, I thought I’d give the album a listen and read up on the scandals as they arose. 

 “Eternal Sunshine” is a standard-length album, with 13 songs and over 35 minutes of play time. The “slightly deluxe” version of the album includes 4 alternative versions to certain songs, like an acoustic version of “Imperfect for you”. making it around 47 minutes.  

Going into this album completely blind, I decided to give it a listen in order. The introduction track “End of the World” was an absolute magical beginning, setting the stage for the rest of this album. Though it is only a minute and 32 seconds long, the instrumentals, a hazy guitar, the rising crescendos from the violin and Ariana’s signature cherry coke, syrupy sweet vocals truly encapsulate the resonating theme in the rest of the album. I was very impressed from the get-go.  

Following with “bye,” the initial softness following the introduction track very subtly picks up to a catchy, bouncy beat reminiscent of 80s disco. The song openly discusses leaving a relationship, freshly broken up with and moving on. The lyrics are mostly repetitive and self-explanatory, but this absolutely does not stop it from being an enjoyable song. “Boy bye,” am I right? 

“Supernatural” is musically more reminiscent of Ariana’s usual R&B, with a bit more fluffiness to it. I appreciated the airiness that came from this love song, like a fresh breeze. Of course, Ariana had both a solo version and a duet version with Troye Sivan, and I actually enjoyed the duet version more. Troye just has a beautiful voice that meshes so well with Ariana’s. His harmonies added an extra layer of complexity to the song. The only thing that I found a bit disappointing is that the lyrics were lightly changed in this duet version, and they switched what I considered the best lines for a raunchier version sung by Troye.  

“We can’t be friends” was the song that brought me to check out the entire album. Only having heard a snippet of it, I was interested in listening to the entirety of it as well as watching the music video. The video was beautiful, very clearly inspired by the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” which is also the inspiration behind the album’s name. The song itself is probably the most emotional out of all the others in the album despite how musically upbeat it can get at certain moments.  

There’s a dreamier sound to this song that I also gravitate more towards. Ariana purposefully holds back intensity from her vocals to demonstrate the hopeless resignation she finds herself in. Previously, she was married to Dalton Gomez who we can assume is behind this song’s allegory. She was also in a relationship with American rapper Mac Miller who passed away in 2018. Following Mac’s death, Ariana has struggled immensely to recover, and this is something that seems to come up often in her music. This continuing feeling of grief also seemed to cause greater dysfunction with her ex-husband.  

This song also addresses the way Ariana’s image has been sullied by her ex-husband’s words. She mentions this quite a few times throughout the song, and how despite his harmful words she continues to simply wait for his love: “I don’t like how you paint me, but I’m still here hanging.” 

Finally, “the boy is mine” is probably Ariana’s most controversial song in the album, for good reason. A lot of people have deemed it as distasteful due to her scandal involving her affair with Ethan Slater, a married man with a pregnant wife. Though many journals and fact finders have debated whether or not this affair happened in the way it is gossiped about, it doesn’t take away the fact that she’s still with the same man. Though they are currently going through divorce proceedings, the song was already written prior to this.  

This song, though, is so great. It takes on a more 2000’s R&B vibe that could absolutely slap at the club. It separates itself from the rest of the album, in a good way. There are some hidden synth chords that strum below the surface, light violin across and a nostalgic beat.  

 In conclusion, I really enjoyed this album. It has been a really long time since I’ve listened to plain pop or R&B and I wasn’t disappointed. The album is unique, truly encapsulating the name “Eternal Sunshine,” warm and inviting. It’s varied, so none of the songs feel repetitive or dull. The only song I didn’t quite enjoy was “yes, and?” It felt very out of place and a little bit too generic for me.  

This album is great to play in the background while doing homework or reading, especially if you’re at a local coffee shop with your headphones on. But of course, Ariana as a person isn’t always full of sunshine; she has had moments that make one question her character. Other than the simple cheating scandal, she has engaged in Asian and Black phishing as a white woman and has attempted to user her Italian heritage as a shield to protect her from these accusations. I think this is another one of those instances where the art should be separated from the artist. 

Overall I do recommend this album. And I encourage those of you who are reading this to check it out if you are curious. I also suggest checking out the music video for “We can’t be friends.” Ariana Grande’s “Eternal Sunshine” is currently out on all music streaming platforms.

“We can’t be friends” music video.

Ariana Grande posing for The Voice in 2021. Photo by Creative Commons via Wikimedia.