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Ariana Grande’s Latest Single “we can’t be friends (wait for your love)” is Pop Perfection

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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 UC Riverside chapter.

Ariana Grande’s pop star status is not going anywhere, but with her new seventh studio album, eternal sunshine, she proves that her career is taking on a new path. The second single off the record, “we can’t be friends (wait for your love),” is quite different from the slightly contentious lead single,“yes, and?” that debuted this past January. From the vulnerable lyricism to the visually stunning music video, “we can’t be friends” is arguably one of Grande’s best recent singles. 

“we can’t be friends” feels like a proper representation of eternal sunshine as an album. The track can be interpreted in many ways, with one obvious reading of the song being that it is about Grande’s relationship with the media. Lyrics such as “You cling to your papers and pens, wait until you like me again” and “I don’t like how you paint me, yet I’m still here hanging” expose the ups and downs of celebrity fan culture. Even though these lines hint at the exhausting part of being a celebrity, they are also relatable to the general public.

It is impossible to be immune to criticism, particularly when you are a public figure and maintain some form of personal responsibility for your image. Yet it seems like every celebrity has their scandalous moments that they have to work to recover from on occasion. “we can’t be friends” walks the line of acknowledging the reality of this and maintaining a catchy pop song aura, which is sure to bring back hesitant fans of the singer after her four year hiatus. 

The music video is another aspect of the song that vibrantly sticks out in the album’s press run. It tells a story similar to that of the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, following Grande’s character as she seeks to erase the memories from a romantic relationship. The bittersweet portrayal brings to light an opposing interpretation of the song that ties into the recurring themes of the record regarding falling in and out of love.

In less than five minutes, the “we can’t be friends” music video captures all the feels. The happy moments between Grande and her love interest, Evan Peters, are straight out of a romantic comedy. No, seriously. How can a Sixteen Candles reference be so beautifully heartbreaking? I’m not sure, but the video excels at it. As these happy moments turn into new memories without the past partner, the storyline strongly communicates the album’s message and compliments the song itself.

Alyssa Gordon

UC Riverside '24

Hi, I'm Alyssa! I'm a fourth-year Media and Cultural Studies major with an English minor. I love anything pop culture and baking related. When I'm not writing, I can be found reading or rewatching episodes of my favorite 2010's sitcoms.