Ariana Grande’s New Album ‘Eternal Sunshine’ Starts with a Pointed Question and Ends with a Decisive Answer

Look at track No. 1’s first line, look at track No. 13’s last line, and let’s discuss everything in between.

Closeup of Ariana Grande on a red carpet
(Image credit: Getty)

Ariana Grande’s new album, Eternal Sunshine, dropped at midnight; the very first sentence uttered on the first of the record’s 13 tracks is the line “How can I tell if I’m in the right relationship?”—and it’s off to the races from there.

Ariana Grande

Definitely *not* us attempting to decode every track on "Eternal Sunshine" line-by-line

(Image credit: Getty Images)

We could dissect the lyrics line-by-line on Grande’s seventh studio album for hours (and maybe already have—don’t tell anyone), but let’s just let Grande explain it herself. Grande sat down with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 to discuss the album, her inspirations behind it, and discussed how her time filming Wicked was “healing” for her relationship with music, People reports. With Grande’s personal life written about by almost every media outlet in existence this past year—in case you somehow missed it, she divorced husband Dalton Gomez and is now in a relationship with her Wicked co-star Ethan Slater, who also went through a messy breakup in 2023 as the public watched. (The tabloid attention is boldly addressed in the lead single from Eternal Sunshine, called “Yes, And?”: “Why do you care so much whose d— I ride?” she asked on the track.)

Ethan Slater and Ariana Grande

Grande and boyfriend Slater met on the set of "Wicked"

(Image credit: Instagram)

As Lowe correctly pointed out to Grande in their interview, the album starts with a question (see above) and ends with a very direct answer to it. The very last line on the record is on “Ordinary Things,” and it is, leaving no doubt about it, “You’re in the wrong place, get out.”

Grande said she “didn’t realize” how neatly the track tied up her initial question until she found a “voice note” of her grandmother, Nonna, talking to a friend. The album ends with the voice of Marjorie Grande speaking part of that 30-minute voice note; the snippet chosen, Grande said, was from “right smack in the middle” of the conversation. “And I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s the answer,’” Grande said. She added “I knew ‘Ordinary Things’ was the end of the album. I was like, ‘This is the last song, but I wonder how I can put that button on it and have it land emotionally the way that I feel it can, and how can I answer the question?’”

Lowe told Grande that Eternal Sunshine “ends with the most timeless piece of advice that anyone with any wisdom will give you, which is ‘Don’t forget about the little things,’” he said. 

Ariana Grande and Dalton Gomez

Grande and Gomez married in 2021 and divorced last year

(Image credit: Instagram)

In conversation with Lowe, Grande shared her three favorite songs on Eternal Sunshine—at least as of right now. She counts “We Can’t Be Friends (Wait for Your Love),” “Imperfect for You,” and the title track, “Eternal Sunshine,” as her top three. (Excuse me—off to go [over]analyze some lyrics yet again.)

Eternal Sunshine is Grande’s first album since 2020’s Positions, and much has changed in her life in those four years. She got married in 2021 and divorced in 2023, for starters, as well as endeavored into a new relationship with Slater. “I’ve loved every minute of making this album—the videos, rehearsing, putting the roll-out together, doing the photoshoots, every single part of it,” she said. 

Ariana Grande Wicked Galinda balletcore Balenciaga pink bow dress silk shoes

Grande had a tumultuous 2023 that was endlessly dissected in the media

(Image credit: Courtesy of @arianagrande)

Ariana Grande Oscar de la Renta floral dress red Valentino pumps heels diamond stud earrings Mimi Cuttrell Wicked press tour

In addition to her new album, Grande's film "Wicked" will be out later this year

(Image credit: Courtesy of @arianagrande on Instagram)

Though she said she had a “very interesting relationship to music” before filming Wicked (which is out later this year), she said the break from recording was “really healing”: “More than ever before in my life, I’ve been able to be so much more present and enjoy it and savor it this time in a way that I don’t think I was able to before,” she said.

Will there be an Eternal Sunshine tour? “I miss doing shows,” Grande said. “I really do.” She added she’s “excited to redefine my relationship to touring,” and said “If there’s a chance to in between the Wickeds or right after the Wickeds, I will of course do my best to do it.” 

Ariana Grande attends the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA.

"Eternal Sunshine" is Grande's seventh album, and her first since 2020's "Positions"

(Image credit: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Oh, and one more note about Eternal Sunshine: one of its tracks is what Grande calls a reimagination of Brandy and Monica’s hit 1998 single “The Boy Is Mine.” Grande’s track of the same name is what she called an “elevated” version of her previously unreleased single “Fantasize,” and a reinvention of Brandy and Monica’s hit, which lyrically follows a confrontation between two women who are dating the same man. (Art meets life, anyone?) “I love that song,” Grande told Lowe. “I’ve always wanted to reimagine that in some kind of way.” She also called it “a bad-girl anthem.”

Of people who (over)analyze her lyrics, Grande said on The Zach Sang Show last week that she felt an “insatiable frustration” and an “inexplicable, hellish feeling with watching people misunderstand the people you love, and you, and anything.”

She added “Pieces of it [Eternal Sunshine] touch on things that are real and then pieces of it are also just, like, part of the concept. So what is that separation? And it’s so scary to leave it up to these selective memory people to decipher. It’s scary. But I digress. It’s too late. The vinyls have been printed.” 

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.