wed 22/05/2024

Album: Ariana Grande - Eternal Sunshine | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Ariana Grande - Eternal Sunshine

Album: Ariana Grande - Eternal Sunshine

Efficiently calibrated pop from the global megastar brand


Ariana Grande is the seventh most-followed Instagram account in the world (nearly 400 million). She has worked in promotion and/or “brand ambassador” positions with Reebok, Givenchy, Apple and many others. She is a successful film/TV star (about to go next level with Wicked). She has her own billion-selling perfume line.

In an age when consumer capitalism has replaced religion in the west, she is a dream, an exemplar.

Music is a central supporting beam to her profile maintenance. Thus, her new album, her seventh, is key content for this well-oiled brand. It does its job efficiently and, occasionally, takes flight.

One of the highlights is the single “Yes, And?”, possibly the best song Grande has ever done, a Kylie-esque, confectionery dancefloor frolic that, by December, will still holds its own against 2024’s top pop tunes. The other stand-out is “Imperfect For You”, a detuned, pared-back slowie, narcotic trap bass’n’clicks melded with doo-wop soul. The hand of Swedish super-producer/songwriter Max Martin is on the tiller throughout, so even the lesser songs on Eternal Sunshine often contain ear-interest.

The tone is somewhere between the contemplative indie-electro-pop of Taylor Swift’s Lover and the woozy, stoned-out production of Kali Uchis. It’s smoothed-out, loungey-but-bubbly girl-pop, the lyrical tone defined by the album’s very first line, “I cannot tell if I’m in the right relationship/Aren’t you supposed to know that shit?” Throughout, Grande veers between ebulliently bidding “Bye Bye” to the boys and realising that, contrarily, “you play me like Atari”.

Her voice is thin but pure (and often in thrall to Beyoncé’s stylings). Such tones are in line with her girlish elfin image. On wispy, luscious electro-balladeering such as “Supernatural”, it fits well. For the non-fan, the brain drifts off during the waftier material, but the album is still a cohesive whole, its best shots hitting their target. Albeit there’s nothing on it the match of “Yes, And?” In Ariana Grande’s world, the thrills are carefully assigned, designated by spreadsheet for maximum market reach. There’s a job to do. She does it well enough.

Below: Watch the video for "Yes. And?" by Ariana Grande


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