Ariana Grande’s ‘eternal sunshine’: How public scandal can affect musical output

Album cover showing two women leaning on each other's shoulders with long pony tails.
The album cover for “eternal sunshine.” Photo courtesy of Republic Records

Ariana Grande is a popular name that has consistently been on the public’s lips for years now, and the last few months absolutely have not been an exception to this. 2023 was a year full of controversy and rumors for Grande, with her having been filming for the movie adaptation of Wicked, the Broadway musical.

The root of the controversy was a new found romance with co-star Ethan Slater, known for playing Spongebob Squarepants on Broadway. Grande had been previously married to Dalton Gomez.

Even while Grande was filming for Wicked, loyal fans waited and wondered what the singer was going to do in her career next. In early January, Grande teased a new single, “yes, and?”, on her social media accounts, set to be released on January 12. The release of the song mostly met mixed reviews, with overwhelming support nonetheless.

Grande eventually announced her seventh studio album, eternal sunshine, which was set to be released March 11, 2024. Grande takes her public controversies and channels them into her new music. Eternal sunshine is an album that greatly deals with many topics that have been surrounding her as of late, including breakups, internet commenters and “situationships.”

Lead single “yes, and?” details Grande’s relationship with the people online that speculate about the private details of her life. “Now I’m so done with caring/ What you think, no, I won’t hide/ Underneath your own projections,” Grande sings on the track.

As a whole, eternal sunshine mostly finds itself within simple production and melodies, rarely breaking away from the R&B style that fans have come to expect from Grande. The record proves to rely not so much on vocal ambition as sharing a story through more of a soft vocal delivery.

An album highlight is the melancholic “we can’t be friends (wait for your love),” in which Grande details a relationship that, while causing her pain, has been integral to the development of her character. “Know that you made me/ I don’t like how you paint me, yet I’m still here hanging.”

Even students at NECC see the impact in Grande’s massive return. Jalayne Medina, an 18 year old Psychology major, recognizes how Grande has affected her life. “I like Ariana Grande a lot,” Medina says. She is also quick to state that Grande was a “big part of (her) childhood.”

Grande’s career has had many moving parts throughout the years, with beginnings performing on Broadway and acting in Nickelodeon sitcoms playing a big part in her eventual mainstream success.