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Change The Record: Ariana Grande — Eternal Sunshine

Yeah, that’s right. This column has an official name now, welcome to Change The Record. You know, very few things truly scare me these days; only the threat of war or being set on fire really reaches for that top spot, but one thing that’ll always remain at the very top of that list is the ire of rabid pop stans, if only because they’ll probably be responsible for both of those things. I’ve been putting off doing a mainstream pop album review for a while because it’s not only a suicidal endeavor to piss off that crowd, but it’s also tough to write interesting things about them. Considering they usually fall into bland but perfectly listenable drivel that at least has the energy to get a bunch of flailing white people to embarrass themselves in front of their peers.

Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here however, and let’s actually bring up the album I’ve been cheekily dancing around for a bit. Eternal Sunshine is the new album from one of pop’s most gossiped-about mainstays, Ariana Grande, an artist with whom I have disappointingly few opinions about. I thought her last album, 2020s Positions, was an album about as memorable as what I had for breakfast today last year, packed wall to wall with tunes that, if you held a gun to my head and asked me to sing a passage from them, I’d quickly become far more useful as wall paint. For the sake of the review, I went back and listened to it for the sake of fairness, and yeah, it was mostly pleasant background noise but did at least have more character to it than some of the industry plant TikTok pop of today. However, it feels like, after the eclectic and controversial Thank U, Next, Grande wanted to play it safer to avoid another 7 Rings fiasco, but all that did was make her a lot less interesting to listen to.

Still, it’s been 4 years since Positions, and a lot has changed both in the world as a whole and for Ari as a person, and the prospect of her new album, Eternal Sunshine, definitely interested me. For one, the album’s name brought to memory the best role of Jim Carrey, and second, the first single, “Yes, And?” was an infectious and earwormy dance track with a masterful hook and a fantastic driving dance beat that got me excited for a House-ier and more electronic-based pop album. Unfortunately, the second single, obnoxiously lengthily titled, “We Can’t Be Friends (Wait For Your Love),” quickly came around to knee my excitement in the nuts; with a much weaker backing beat with only the plinky synths in the back to add any light to the track, with Aris airy vocals matching the beat almost too well, the decent hook is the only true big grace the song has.

Still, the singles were only a taste of the album to come, and so when the big day rolled up, the pressure was on to see if anything else defied expectations. To start, the intro track, “Intro (End Of The World)” isn’t anything too special. It’s a light yarn with some admittedly very solid vocals, where Ari sings about her insecurity over her various relationships, which is a theme of the album. It’s perfectly serviceable but not anything I’d write home about. The second track “(Bye),” however, is certainly more notable, being a fun, high-energy tune with great pace and sass to it, having some very fun breakup lyrics that add an edge to it. Even if the track feels like Grande is pulling her best Rina Sawayama impression because she hasn’t added Asian to her list of races yet, she might as well cross it off here.

Track three is one of the duller affairs. The track is about being a remorseful heartbreaker set over a bland backing track, with a drum beat that’s weirdly loud and intrusive for the type of track it is. You know, the more I’m writing about this album, the more I realize I actually don’t have many interesting things to say about it, which is honestly my biggest issue with Eternal Sunshine. It occasionally has decent ideas and tracks but is all bogged down by this distinctly unfun and lifeless feel to it, so tell you what, how about I just go over the remaining tracks I actually have anything to say about:

“True Story” is pretty decent, having fun bouncing vocal melodies and these very dubsteppy synths that give it an almost 3D feel. The lyrics touch on the lies and rumors spread about her by the mainstream news media, but played to almost sound like she’s talking about a shitty boyfriend which I thought was neat even if I’ve heard the “I’ll play the villain for you” line so many times that I see the phrase in my sleep paralysis and acid flashbacks. We also have “The Boy Is Mine,” a much bigger highlight, having a fantastic and sticky hook with lovely clangy high-hat drums that give it a consistent and tippy tappy feel, perfect for walking down the street feeling way cooler than you actually are before it turns off, and you realize you just look like a massive nob.

One last track I wanna mention is the title track, “Eternal Sunshine,” because as opposed to the top tracks, it’s very much not a highlight, having this distinct mix of boring and awkward. Ariana’s voice blends with the drum pattern like an egg blends with a concrete road, mixed with this weird simplistic synth in the background that doesn’t feel like it fits very well, and the track overall just feels wrong. Otherwise, the only other thing I have to say for any of the other tracks is that the weird warped guitar beginning to “Imperfect For You” got me very excited for a track that ended up being very uninteresting it’s like I was watching a weird Sci-Fi film get stripped away and turn into “13 Going On 30”

So that was Eternal Sunshine, an album that can only be described as “good enough,” but unfortunately, now that I have become a picky asshole reviewer, I strive for a lot more in this search than “good enough.” Ariana just doesn’t provide me anything to talk about or want to listen to outside of a few tracks. If you truly want to check out the album, then listen to “Yes, And?” and then go stick your head in a bucket of porridge, and you’ll have about the same amount of fun. Personally, I’d rather stick to my pudding. Thanks.


Kate Megathlin

Hello there stranger, this is Kate Megathlin, writer for weekly music reviews for the Seattle Collegian, here to assert how much more important her opinions are than yours. She is a Seattle Central student with a major love of music and music culture, and every week she’ll try to deliver reviews of new albums coming out, if you want to recommend albums for her to review, email her at

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