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Ariana Grande Wants to Forget Painful Memories in Her Song ‘Eternal Sunshine’

ariana grande eternal sunshine
See Ariana Grande’s ‘Eternal Sunshine’ LyricsKatia Temkin

If you were expecting a full dose of serotonin on the title track of Ariana Grande’s Eternal Sunshine, you might be in for a surprise. While, yes, the arrival of the singer’s seventh studio album (notably a concept album!) is enough to keep our seasonal depression at bay, this particular song is about a betrayal.

There are lines like “I’ve never seen someone lie like you do” in the first verse and “I showed you all my demons, all my lies / Yet you played me like Atari” in the chorus. She even mentions another woman being in the picture, like, “Now she’s in my bed, layin’ on your chest.” And more brutally, “Hope you feel alright when you’re in her.” It doesn’t take you long to realize: “Eternal Sunshine” isn’t so sunny at all.

I had a similar thought looking at the album art, too. Grande is lit in a warm glow, but everything else around her is in the dark. For a project called Eternal Sunshine, shouldn't we turn the brightness up a little? But the imagery and the song, and one could say even the album as a whole, are much like the film that inspired it. In 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, there’s a feeling of melancholy amid the reality-bending romance. (How couldn’t there be, when one person realizes the other has erased all memories of their relationship?) Grande, a longtime fan of the film, seems aware of this and weaves it into her project with care.

In the second verse, she makes an obvious reference to the movie’s memory-erasing plot. Here, she wants to forget the pain her partner has caused her. “So I try to wipe my mind / Just so I feel less insane / Rather feel painless / I'd rather forget than know.”

When she says “you’re just my eternal sunshine” at the end of the hook, it’s like she’s speaking to the lover that hurt her, the person she wants to forget. But it’s not all gloom; she also mentions that she’s with someone new (and maybe better): “I found a good boy and he’s on my side.”

Grande told Zane Lowe that this is one of her top three favorite songs on the album (in addition to “Imperfect for You” and “We Can’t Be Friends”). Speaking on the film’s inspiration, she said, “I think the movie is so beloved because so many people can relate to knowing that something isn't right, but loving so much, and wanting to stay, and wanting to figure it out, and that cycle that can happen in the film. I think that's why the film is so beloved. It's because so many people can relate to it, and I think it kind of fell into place that these songs had little tidbits of that theme. I just felt really inspired by it.”

While it could be easy to draw connections to Grande’s real-life relationships with ex-husband Dalton Gomez and now-boyfriend Ethan Slater, the singer clarified that she took inspiration from many places, even fiction, while writing this concept album.

“I think there's such a freedom within art in general because you really can pull from anywhere,” she told Loew. “You can pull from your truth, you can pull from a concept, you can pull from a film, from a story you're telling. From a story about a relationship that a friend told you. Art is really, it can come from anywhere. Finding a home in eternal sunshine was a lovely costume to wear, I think, for this project.”

Listen to “Eternal Sunshine” and read the full lyrics below, courtesy of Genius. Grande wrote the song with frequent collaborator and pop mastermind Max Martin, DaviDior, and Shintaro Yasuda.

[Verse 1]
I, I don't care what people say
We both know I couldn't change you
I guess you could say the same
Can't rearrange truth
I've never seen someone lie like you do
So much, even you start to think it's true
Ooh, get me out of this loop, yeah, yeah

[Pre-Chorus]
So now we play our separate scenes
Now, now she's in my bed, layin' on your chest
Now I'm in my head, wonderin' how it ends

[Chorus]
I'll be the first to say, "I'm sorry"
Now you got me feelin' sorry
I showed you all my demons, all my lies
Yet you played me like Atari
Now it's like I'm lookin' in the mirror
Hope you feel alright when you're in her
I found a good boy and he's on my side
You're just my eternal sunshine, sunshine

[Verse 2]
So I try to wipe my mind
Just so I feel less insane
Rather feel painless
I'd rather forget than know, know for sure
What we could've fought through behind this door, hm-mm
So I close it and move, yeah, yeah

[Pre-Chorus]
So now we play our separate scenes
Now, now he's in your bed, layin' on my chest
Now I'm in my head, wonderin' how it ends, ends, ends

[Chorus]
I'll be the first to say, "I'm sorry"
Now you got me feelin' sorry
I showed you all my demons, all my lies
Yet you played me like Atari
Now it's like I'm lookin' in the mirror
Hope you feel alright when you're in her
I found a good boy and he's on my side
You're just my eternal sunshine, sunshine

[Bridge]
Won't break, can't shake
This fate, rewrite
Deep breaths, tight chest
Life, death, rewind
Won't break, can't shake
This fate, rewrite
Deep breaths, tight chest
Life, death

[Chorus]
I'll be the first to say, "I'm sorry"
Now you got me feelin' sorry
I showed you all my demons, all my lies
Yet you played me like Atari
Now it's like I'm lookin' in the mirror
Hope you feel alright when you're in her
I found a good boy and he's on my side
You're just my eternal sunshine, sunshine

[Outro]
Rewind
Won't break, can't shake
This fate, rewrite
Deep breaths, tight chest
Life, death, rewind
Won't break, can't shake
This fate, rewrite
Deep breaths, tight chest
Life, death, rewind
Won't break, can't shake
This fate, rewrite
Deep breaths, tight chest
Life, death

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