‘Eternal Sunshine’ acknowledges relationship rumors from a no-nonsense emotional perspective

3.5 out of 5 stars

Ariana Grande’s albums have had a permanent place in my listening sessions since her debut album in 2013. Every time I listen to one of her albums for the first time, including her latest album “Eternal Sunshine,” it leaves me empowered and impressed.

The album was released on March 8 through Republic Records and is Grande’s seventh studio album. It serves as a thoughtful, honest and emotion-driven commentary on a controversial year of Grande’s publicized personal life.

The majority of the album summarizes one of Grande’s past relationships. Fans speculate that she is referring to her divorce from Dalton Gomez, who she was married to for about two years.

According to her interview with Zach Sang, Grande thematically draws on the 2004 film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” to describe her feelings about the way her relationship ended.

According to IMDb, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” follows two people whose relationship ended on unfriendly terms, after which they undergo a medical procedure to erase the memory of each other.

The title track “Eternal Sunshine” plays off this theme the most. It’s a bubbly and catchy standout track in which Grande conveys her emotions through her signature smooth and clear vocal riffs.

The track heavily references the film through lyrics like “So I try to wipe my mind/ Just so I feel less insane/ Rather feel painless.” The line “life, death, rewind” is also repeated throughout the song, which emphasizes the concepts from the film.

Grande noted in her interview with Sang that she wanted to make sure her lyrics were respectful and acknowledged the good in the relationship. “I wanted to make sure that I combed through just to make sure that it was what I intended… even at my most heartbroken or most pained moments of the past few years, there was so much kindness,” she said.

This is shown lyrically in “I Wish I Hated You,” another prominent, bright and cleanly produced track that explores acceptance, yet suggests Grande still has lingering feelings of love for her ex-husband.

Some of the album’s tracks address the events surrounding her relationship with actor Ethan Slater, along with other topics of criticism from her fanbase.

“Yes, and?” is her only pre-released single, an empowering and confident dance track that debuted at number one on the Billboard Charts.

While “Yes, and?” is an album highlight, it doesn’t fully fit the themes of the rest of the album, and I’m left wanting more of that encouragement and confident flair. In the full album’s context, several songs are not fully cohesive in the theme and feel instrumentally repetitive, ultimately overshadowed.

However, paying close attention to each track will lead interested listeners through an intimate span of time in Grande’s life. Her thoughtful lyrics and polished sound inspire personal reflection, and they encourage others to find their own moments of goodness and confidence.

Photo courtesy of El Estoque.