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Is Eternal Sunshine an Eternal Banger? – Ariana released a new album, and the world is going crazy!

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 UCT chapter.

On March 9th, just one day after the album’s release, Spotify declared that Eternal Sunshine became its most streamed album in a single day in 2024. So, how did Ariana Grande get the entire world to listen to her album? Well, some call it marketing genius, and others say it’s her big ‘clap back,’ but I personally think that it’s her big middle finger to the mass hate on social media. The singer teased the globe by debuting her song “yes, and?” on  January 12th. The song in question contained lyrics seemingly ‘throwing shade’ at the social media outlets who enjoy running articles about her love life.

“Don’t comment on my body, do not reply / Your business is yours and mine is mine / Why do you care so much whose **** I ride? / Why?”

-Ariana Grande.”yes, and?.” Eternal Sunshine, 2024

From Business Insider to Cosmopolitan, magazines and social media outlets have had all eyes on Grande’s love life. Fans and not-quite fans alike were eagerly awaiting the release of her full album, hoping that it may shed light on her current/past relationships. Having gained almost more notoriety than Taylor Swift’s love life, Ariana Grande’s relationships have been under the constant microscope of the media. Thanks to its extensive coverage of Grande’s love life timeline, we know that the album comes amid her budding romance with Wicked co-star Ethan Slater. But why does the world care so much? Well, her new relationship created a media frenzy, with many speculating a possible affair due to the singer’s recent divorce from Dalton Gomez and her new beau’s recent separation from his long-term wife, Lilly Jay. And with the extreme privacy violations of the media, coupled with the many rumours spread online, the world waited with bated breath, hoping she may ‘spill the tea.’

And boy, did she spill it! A thirteen-track masterpiece of love and heartbreak that made the entire world speculate its meaning. All thirteen tracks have a title in all lowercase letters, which emphasises the soft nature of this album debut.  Who could she be singing about? Do we actually care about her love life, or is this entire album simply a bop? With her titular track, “eternal sunshine, many  started to suspect infidelity in Grande’s marriage to Gomez with her lyrics:

“Hope you feel alright when you’re in her/ I found a good boy and he’s on my side”

-Ariana Grande.”eternal sunshine.” Eternal Sunshine, 2024

Yet again, Grande has the world wondering who she’s singing about. Many questioned her sudden divorce after three years with Gomez, however, the album alludes to a more amicable split than the media portrayed.

“Your shoes still in boxes, I send them your way/ Hoping life brings you no new pain […]

I wish I hated you/ I wish that weren’t true /Wish there was worse to you/ I wish you were worse to me”

 -Ariana Grande.”I wish I hated you.” Eternal Sunshine, 2024.

While we are not unfamiliar with Grande releasing heartbreak songs, this album introduces the concept of a more nuanced relationship and feelings. Her song, “i wish i hated you”, explores a complex but amicable relationship in which both individuals seem to still have love for each other. Many of these tracks emphasise what Grande has already officially stated on social media: an amicable separation and a new, private relationship. Just like many other celebrities, the world rarely takes their word for it and prefers a more elaborate explanation to satisfy society’s curiosity. This is a concept Grande sings about in “true story”, exploring how the media prefers gossip over truth and enjoys vilifying her.

“ I’ll play the bad girl if you need me to/ If it makes you feel better/ I’ll be the one you love to hate, can’t relate/ Too much on my plate

See it in your eyes/ You got too much time/ For fun, you like to pray for my demise”

-Ariana Grande.”true story.” Eternal Sunshine, 2024

With more obviously romantic songs like “the boy is mine”, “supernaturaland, my personal favourite, “imperfect for you”, many speculate on the depth of Grande’s feelings for Slater. With the homewrecking allegations being one of the strongest of her career, many doubted that the singer had any genuine feelings for her co-star. However, with the heartfelt messages seen within her lyricism, one cannot deny that this could only have come from true emotion.

“Something about him is made for somebody like me”

“It’s like supernatural /This love’s possessing me, but I don’t mind at all”

“My love, they don’t understand /But I’ll hold your hurt in the box here beside me”

-Ariana Grande.”the boy is mine.””supernatural,” “imperfect for you.” Eternal Sunshine, 2024

With lyrics like these, it’s not hard for the world to gush about Ariana’s love for Slater. It’s even harder to hate or gossip about Grande’s life without also being called out by her lyrics. Her highest-rated and most anticipated album to date left her fans nothing short of satisfied. Eternal Sunshine is not just the metaphorical tape on a gossip’s mouth, it is also a collection of ballads that highlight the pains of having your relationships under constant public scrutiny. Many of us relate to her love songs, but we relate on a much deeper level to the themes of heartbreak and loss. The thirteen songs form a masterpiece of human emotion, a significance magnified by the fact that they come from Ariana, who society often dehumanises due to her celebrity status.

This album serves as a reminder of her shared humanity with us all. This vulnerability could be what landed Grande’s new album all its accolades, but my personal belief is that it was her courage. The courage that Grande had to release an album that she knew would receive mass criticism whilst also being able to send a much larger message resonated with a much larger audience. Yes, the entertainment value of the gossip helped to skyrocket this album, but the connection of her audience to her music and its messages is what keeps her entire tracklist atop the global charts.

A young woman in a society that hates her for simply existing as a female. And also, I'm a writer and lover of kittens and butterflies. "That the powerful play goes on, and that you may contribute a verse." ~ Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society