Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at San Francisco chapter.

Celebrated pop singer Ariana Grande dove headfirst back into her popstar persona after a long hiatus with her latest 2024 album Eternal Sunshine, a Max Martin-heralded thirteen-track expanse of mindful confessions and soaring vocals over eclectic instrumental chops. Released  almost three and a half years after her sixth effort Positions (2020), it was the longest gap between her albums yet. Inspired off of the eponymous 2004 film, Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, Grande’s seventh album sought to land her narrative on recent controversies that wrought the star’s personal life. Sonically, the album has echoes of her past work, but is mostly painted over with deep, confessional exclamations and whispers with Grande’s fingerprints all over both the writing and production credits. In the thirty-five minute album run, the shortest in her career, Grande sought to provide her side of the story to the rumors and accusations that had clouded her character. 

A consistently shady character in her previous relationships, the pop star was surrounded with rumors and accusations after being accused of entering a premature relationship with Wicked costar- a married man with a newborn child. Grande herself was married to her quarantine boo of the time, though reported they had been on the rockier side. In the weeks that followed, statements from both representatives and articles from various media outlets flew in a frenzy as both fans and the general public fought to find a consistent timeline through the phases of events. In the midst of it all, Grande chose to make no comment on the entire ordeal, leaving no explanation or statement to the wildfire. So when her seventh full length album was announced for release in the early days of 2024, all eyes turned on Grande for her response. 

Eternal Sunshine was released on March 8th, 2024, to immediate acclaim and positive reviews from various critics and fans alike. The album opened at #1 with 227,000 units on the Billboard 200, becoming Grande’s 6th chart topper on the metric. While the Madonna-sampling house lead single yes, and? failed to make an overly favorable reaction from the general public, its follow-up single we can’t be friends (wait for your love) captivated the hearts of fans with its brutally honest lyrics over Martin’s thudding production and a heart-wrenching music video. In terms of the album, many praised the open, rawness of the lyrical content on Grande’s confessions of heartbreak, acceptance, self reflection, and trueness to self. 

Key-worded as a concept album, which Wikipedia cites as “an album whose tracks hold a larger purpose or meaning collectively than they do individually”, the record sought to outline the consecutive stages of grief following the demise of a relationship. Starting off with the question-filled album opener end of the world, Grande asks the audience, “how can I tell if I’m in the right relationship?” The ensuing tracks parlay this question- the 70s disco pop-laced bye suggests a succinct closure to a relationship after acknowledging the couple’s past of intentional efforts ending on a sour note. The trap pop reminiscent title track eternal sunshine emphasizes the desire of one to wipe their mind to forget their lover, leaving behind an old chapter riddled with hurt behind. The tinkling, raw ballad i wish i hated you solidifies itself as the rawest of the bunch- a harmonious confession of one wishing their lover had treated them worse in the relationship so they would have more reasons to hate that person. The thirteenth and final track is aided by Grande’s grandmother Majorie Grande, offering her words of wisdom in an incorporated voice note. Here, the elder Grande offered her answer to Ariana’s question in the first track: “Never go to bed without kissin’ goodnight… if you can’t, and if you don’t feel comfortable doing it, you’re in the wrong place, get out.” 

Regardless of how one thinks of Ariana Grande, her impact on both popular and music culture throughout her decade-long presence is undeniable. And with her latest album bearing both her beauty and ugliness in a solid thirty-something minute project, it leaves the listener up for decision if it serves up as a satisfying culmination of her narrative. 

Lindsey Tong

San Francisco '25

Writing for the greater good while encapsulating the mindset of an open minded individual.