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Interpreting Five of Ariana’s Songs

~ Happy 30th Birthday Ariana! ~

Ariana’s Birthday Post

(1) Honeymoon Avenue

Ariana Grande described the longest song of her first album, Yours Truly, as, “…about knowing you are at the end of a relationship and wishing it could not be the end and go back to the beginning and start over.” She sings, “before we crash and burn,” and states, “Let’s go back to the way it was,” which demonstrated her feeling that the relationship is going to “crash and burn,” so she wished she could go back to the beginning.

She alluded to butterflies at the start of the relationship to showcase how she felt excitement at the start of the romance, however, she added that now she feels like she is at a yellow light to, show apprehension and uncertainty about continuing the relationship.

Most importantly, the song title touches on the beginning state of the relationship in which partners feel most carefree, happy, and easy-going. In this stage, couples feel like they are in a bubble as they are highly fixated on each other, wholly attracted, and passionate about their romance.

According to the lyrics, Ariana is in a car and is driving. Figuratively, the songs communicate the relationship transporting from a blissful bubble to a burst bubble, infiltrated with reality. When she says, “Baby, you know how to drive in the rain,” she is not referring to her partner’s driving skills but rather his ability to fix the errors in their relationship, especially under challenging circumstances. She adds, “You decide not to make a change,” to prove that her partner chooses not to take action to help make their relationship healthier.

Finally, the songstress ends the song with, “Let’s go back,” because she would instead enjoy the passionate early stages of the romance than to fixate on the hurt.

(2) One Last Time

One of the most popular tracks from her second album, My Everything, is about needing to spend one last night with her lover after their relationship has fallen apart due to Ariana Grande’s mistakes. It can be inferred that she deceived, lied to, and cheated on her lover, however, she is desperate to spend a little more time with him and get closure.

From, “I gave into the fire,” and, “I know I should’ve fought it,” it can be assumed that Grande wanted another man, but it was too hard for her to stay loyal to her lover, so she cheated on him in some way. She clearly regretted the betrayal as she repeated statements of what she should have done throughout the song. She firmly believed that she should’ve, “done [him] better,” “been more careful,” and “fought it.”

Additionally, the listener can safely infer that her lover has moved on and has a new girl in his life as Ariana repeated in her song, “I know she gives you everything” in the chorus. Therefore, she stated, “I don’t care if you got her in your heart,” which represented that he has moved on and fell in love with someone else.

Unlike her ex, Ariana struggled to move on from her broken romances because she was desperate to make amends or spend some time with her ex. She was desperate for a second chance because she thought she had, “nothing without [him].”

(3) NASA

NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a US government agency that executes programs for space exploration. The third track from her fifth album, thank u, next, used the clever NASA theme to demonstrate how the singer needed to explore needing space in her relationship. The song has numerous celestial references, such as Grande singing, “I’m the universe, and you’ll be N-A-S-A.”

The previous lyric symbolized how her lover is fixating too much on trying to get to know Grande better, similar to how NASA invests a lot of time in exploring outer space. Another space reference is that the song starts with a spin-off to Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, who quoted, “This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Grande being the feminist she is, replaced the word man with woman.

Furthermore, she referred to herself as a, “star,” as stars are known for being distant, yet visible to Earth –  her lover. Other references included that her lover would be her, “rise and shine,” as soon as she worked on herself to make her, “stars align.” Lastly, she stated that she usually likes to spend time with her lover or “orbit” around him, but “gravity,” or her need to work on herself alone, was pulling her away from him.

Despite needing space, she made it clear that she is dedicated to pursuing this relationship with her lyric, “give you the whole world,” which showcased how she was willing to put all her love, time, and effort into her partner. Moreover, she assured her lover that most of the time, she did enjoy their time together by stating, “Usually I would love it if you stay the night.”

(4) Knew Better / Forever Boy 

The fourteenth track of her third album, Dangerous Woman, is more like two separate songs in terms of lyrics and content. The song’s first half is about Ariana’s self-reflection after ending a relationship because her partner didn’t treat her well enough. She lost feelings for him because he was not a good enough partner for her and seemed to put her best effort into the relationship as she stated, “If you love me as I love you, maybe we could be together.”

Thus, upon reflecting on her actions in the previous relationship, she felt that she was a sufficient partner. If he reciprocated her actions, behaviors, and feelings, then the relationship could have been successful. Although breaking up is a painful thing to do,  Ariana understood her self-worth better after the end of this relationship as she proudly sang, “Ain’t nobody like me.”

On the other hand, the second half of the song, Forever Boy, is about Grande feeling satisfied after finding a better partner who loves her and treats her well. She wants him to be, “forever [hers],” because she feels loved to know that someone knows, understands, and reciprocates her feelings so well. Grande is so delighted with her new relationship that she said he showed her, “what it means to be happy ever after.”

(5) Get Well Soon 

The final track on the Sweetener track is about prioritizing one’s mental health and being there for people you look for during struggles and smiles. The primary exigence for this song was the Manchester terrorist bombing after Ariana’s concert. The year 2017 was already tough on the diva’s mental and physical health, as she received significant criticism for dating Pete Davidson and blame for Mac Miller’s death.

As this terrible event took an even further toll on her mental health, it inspired her to curate a song that drew attention to one’s mental and emotional health needs. One of the first lines is, “…my system is overloaded,” and, “I’m too much in my head,” which showcased her struggles with anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. She quickly connected her stressful feelings with universal advice for everyone by stating, “You gotta take care of your body. So deal with it, don’t try to get by it….no time to deny it.”

Lack of addressing and prioritizing mental health needs is one of the primary causes for mental health to deteriorate, so she addressed it by telling fans to take action. In addition to sharing ways to take action, she also shared advice, such as, “unfollow fear and say you are blocked.”

Ultimately, she offered unconditional support for her listeners by stating, “I’m with you, no matter the issue.” In addition to mental health, this song can be seen as a shoutout to two people who support each other in tough times. She sings, “It takes you and me to make us,” to tell her significant other that they will solve all problems together. Ariana further comforts her person by saying, “One of those days you had enough, I’ll be there.” Lastly, Grande ends her beautiful song with an inspirational phrase, “You can work your way to the top.”

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