Ariana Grande Shines as Bright as Ever on Mature New Album “Eternal Sunshine”

Ariana Grande at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.
Ariana Grande at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards. Photo by Christopher Polk/Rolling Stone/Shutterstock (10532338oa)

Ariana Grande has been through a lot this past year, and she reflected on her journey on Eternal Sunshine. Her latest album sees her mending her broken heart and shining as bright as ever after finally managing to find her place in the sun.

It’s impossible to talk about Eternal Sunshine without reflecting on the drama behind it. Grande’s latest LP was written in the wake of her divorce and she described it as “kind of a concept album ’cause it’s all different heightened pieces of the same story, of the same experience.”

Like the film that inspired its title, the 2004 sci-fi rom-com Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Grande’s new album explores the lengths we go to in an attempt to let go after a failed relationship. It’s a vulnerable record that also manages to find moments of joy in all the mess of having your heart broken and letting go.

Grande welcomed us into the world of Eternal Sunshine with the lead single “Yes, And?”, and the fact it’s not even close to being its strongest song says a lot about the album’s quality. She shows signs of pettiness on this track, but this isn’t a running theme, and she manages to dig deeper as the songs go by.

Eternal Sunshine won’t give us any bops in the vein of “7 Rings” and “Thank U, Next”, but that’s not stopping it from being a no-skips record. Even its weakest songs are a part of the bigger picture, and Grande shines her brightest when she’s embracing her R&B roots, on such songs as “Bye” and “The Boy is Mine”, or giving us synth-bop vibes with “We Can’t Be Friends (Wait for Your Love)”.

The album’s final song, “Ordinary Things” is a perfect closer because it sees Grande’s grandmother sharing some wisdom about relationships, “Never go to bed without kissin’ goodnight. That’s the worst thing to do, don’t ever, ever do that. And if you can’t, and if you don’t feel comfortable doing it, you’re in the wrong place, get out.”

Grande doesn’t use her full vocal capabilities on Eternal Sunshine, and it’s been a while since she had, but this album isn’t weaker for it. It might not be her best or most radio-friendly record, but it shows signs of maturity, compassion, and grace and it’s a perfect reminder that there’s always sunshine after the rain.