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Ariana Grande’s “Eternal Sunshine”: Heartbreak and New Horizons

By Lauren Ritirato, Staff Writer

On Mar. 8, Ariana Grande sent a shock wave of excitement through the music industry with the release of her long-awaited seventh studio album, “Eternal Sunshine.” This album was released in light of her recent divorce amidst rumors of cheating and homewrecking. Grande herself has proclaimed that only some tracks on this album take listeners through some heart-wrenching moments inspired by her recent life experiences. This new album has already broken records; it is Spotify’s 2024 most-streamed album in one day. 

As both fans and critics continue to analyze Grande’s newest release, their thoughts vary from appreciation to hesitation, reflecting on the impact her music has on those listening, especially in light of her recent controversial relationship with Broadway star Ethan Slater. 

Senior musical theatre major Laura Diaferia shared her perspective on Grande’s recent controversies.

“Currently, I don’t consider myself an Ariana Grande fan because of the Ethan Slater drama, however, I can appreciate her music,” she stated.

Although she finds herself not supporting Grande in her personal life decisions, she still continues to listen to her new music. 

“‘We Can’t Be Friends’ is beautiful and depressing,” Diaferia said. “I did cry a little bit. I also watched the music video, it was very nice. I liked the way that it was done. I feel like it’s similar to her older stuff, but it’s still new and fresh.”

Though Grande is under fire from many directions, Diaferia believes her music can be separated from the negative spotlight surrounding her recently. 

“You know there is a power imbalance there,” she said. “It’s his fault; it’s her fault. I’m sure there were probably, on both sides, a lot of things wrong,” Diaferia said. 

Graduate special education major Robert Metzger echoed these sentiments.

“People need to listen to music and leave her alone,” he said. “Everyone is so quick to blame Ariana for the homewrecking rumors because she is the one in the public eye as opposed to Dalton, who has kept a low profile. It is not fair that she had an immediate hate train following news of her divorce because at the end of the day, these are reports coming from people ‘close to them’ and not directly from them.”

Metzger praised Grande for “Eternal Sunshine” being a significant improvement from her previous album, “Positions.” 

“This album is so much better than ‘Positions,’ he said. “‘Positions’ in my opinion was a step back, whereas ‘Eternal Sunshine’ is three steps forward for her as an artist.”

Photo credits: Republic Records

Metzger, a self-proclaimed Ariana stan, commends Grande for maturing with this newest album. 

“I think her recent divorce allowed her to get serious with her music once again,” Metzger said. “She has taken a serious tone before on albums such as ‘Sweetener’ and ‘Thank u, next’ but here she talks about things that an adult goes through like divorce, heartbreak and her home falling apart. She has matured and her audience with her.” 

In the midst of personal turmoil and public scrutiny, Ariana Grande’s “Eternal Sunshine” has revitalized her artistic evolution and emotional resilience. As listeners continue to decode the messages and symbolism in her music, the summer sun will be in season soon and Metzger feels he has found his song of the summer. 

“My favorite tracks include “We Can’t Be Friends” because it feels like a modern-day “Supercut” by Lorde, one of my favorite songs by one of my all-time favorite artists. Also, “Don’t Wanna Break Up Again” because it sounds so fresh, it scratches my brain. “Supernatural” is going to be my song of the summer for sure.”

“Eternal Sunshine” has spent the past two weeks atop the Billboard 200 album charts.

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