Search The Line of Best Fit
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Ariana Grande matures alongside Eternal Sunshine's slick pop

"eternal sunshine"

Release date: 08 March 2024
Ariana Grande – eternal sunshine – album artwork
08 March 2024, 12:30 Written by David Cobbald

Eternal Sunshine is caught between the end of one relationship and the start of another.

Ariana Grande’s seventh studio album details the emotional turmoil underneath the calm composure she’s worn with pride since her 2020 record Positions. With recent drama about her divorce and new situation with Wicked co-star Ethan Slater, it’s hard to be in the pop culture mill and not have an opinion. However, with Eternal Sunshine, Grande invites you into her head for an insider peek, while simultaneously stating that your opinion isn’t needed or wanted.

Max Martin takes the reigns on the album and is the driving force behind the slick pop production that holds Eternal Sunshine up. When a soundsmith this renowned is on the record’s roster, there’s no doubt that it’s going to at least sound good – and when the writing isn’t as strong, it’s a saving grace. Little touches like the rings sound effect from Sonic The Hedgehog on the title track after she sings “Atari” are what take the record up a notch. Of course, Grande herself produces her own vocals and they are sleek and vocally perfect as always, and they remain the steadfast part of Grande’s sound across her decade of releases.

The record is most similar to 2019’s thank u, next in both its theme and musicality. Moments of R&B infuse the pop elements, and its references add extra layers to its already refined sound. 90s R&B oozes out of the aptly named “the boy is mine,” Martin references his Robyn-esque sound on “we can’t be friends (wait for your love),” and the undeniable soundalike of Madonna’s “Vogue” is a fitting upbeat moment on album standout “yes, and?”

There are a number of highlights on the record, but “supernatural” is the shining star. It’s classic Grande pop, made even more special with the intricate vocals and a cycle of fifths thrown in before the final refrain to keep keen musicians happy. “bye” too, is one to look out for with its Yours Truly sounding production. There’s also moments that don’t quite hit where they should, with “true story” and “i wish i hated you” being perfectly nice but lacklustre or simple in their writing.

It's made pretty clear on “Saturn Returns Interlude” that Grande sees herself as a fully formed 30-year-old, this is reflected in Eternal Sunshine's maturing lyrics. With each listen the record glistens in different ways, as if it's being refracted in the eternal sunshine that it represents. There’s not much to fault here, but Grande can, and has, done better before.

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