The Meaning Behind Ariana Grande’s New Album Title

4 minute read

Ariana Grande’s music and music videos are a treasure trove of references—to pop culture and to her personal life. Her seventh studio album Eternal Sunshine is no different, from the film-inspired title to the Paula Abdul homage in the video for its lead single “Yes, And?”. Out Friday, it’s her first album since 2020’s Positions. Here’s everything to know about Eternal Sunshine and the meaning behind the album’s title.

What is Eternal Sunshine referring to?

The album title is in reference to the 2004 Jim Carey and Kate Winslet-led film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The sci-fi romance, directed by Michel Gondry and written by Charlie Kaufman, follows a couple that breaks up and decides to erase each other from their memories through a medical procedure. (Coincidentally, March 19 marks the 20th anniversary of the film).

Why did Ariana Grande name the album Eternal Sunshine?

Grande has previously mentioned her love for Jim Carrey. In a 2015 interview on Live with Kelly and Michael, she talked about how she started crying the first time she met the actor.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was also a favorite film of the rapper Mac Miller, who Grande dated for two years. Miller, who died of an accidental drug overdose in 2018, referenced the movie in his work and spoke of his love for Carrey too. “I love Jim Carrey when he's being serious. He killed this role,” he told Complex in 2013. “Whenever I'm talking to a girl, I always tell them to watch Eternal Sunshine. It cuts deep."

What to know about Grande’s Eternal Sunshine

Audiences first learned the name of the album in the music video for the lead single, “Yes, And?”, which contains nods to the movie. In the video, she invites a group of critics to watch an exclusive performance. As the critics ride the elevator, they look at a card that has coordinates on the front leading to Montauk, New York—an important place in the film.

Eternal Sunshine is billed as a “concept album,” a first for Grande. The singer released a video in February, where she played the album for a group of people at her record label. “I wanted to share with you that this is kind of a concept album because it’s all different heightened pieces of the same story of the same experience,” she said. She said she recorded the album during the actor’s strike.

On Feb. 27, Grande released the full tracklist after sharing a few titles over the last month. One song, “We Can’t Be Friends (Wait For Your Love),” got a teaser trailer on March 1 and further nailed down the Eternal Sunshine theme.

In it, she reads a disclosure form for “Brighter Days Inc.,” a nod to Lacuna Inc.—the company behind the memory erasing procedure in the movie. “You’re aware that all belongings related to this memory will be disposed of indefinitely and will be irrecoverable in accordance with the medical facilities standards,” the paper says. “You have given extensive thought behind your decision and give ‘Brighter Days Inc.’ the exclusive permission to remove this person completely from your memory.” Grande signs the document as “Peaches,” a nod to Winslet’s character, Clementine.

In a two-part interview with podcaster Zach Sang, Grande said the album covers a lot of emotional ground, and touches on themes of loss, grief, love, and heartbreak, weighing the light and the dark.

For example, she said, in the second track, “bye,” she sings about the negative while also highlighting positive things. “That was a tricky balance for me because I definitely had some sessions where I was writing more emotionally and reactively but that’s also very human so I didn’t want to erase all of it,” she said. 

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