Sweetener — the pop star’s fourth studio album — dropped on Friday and fans can’t get enough. From her relationship with fiancé Pete Davidson to her battle with anxiety, 25-year-old Grande leaves no tea left un-spilled.
Keep reading for a deep dive into what we’ve learned about the meaning behind the lyrics of the 15-track album.
1. The Origins of “Pete Davidson”
During an appearance on The Tonight Show on Thursday, Grande revealed that she wrote and sent Davidson the song “a week after we started hanging out and stuff.”
“I just made it and I sent it to him, and I didn’t know what to call it. So I just called it ‘Pete.’ It was either going to be that or, ‘This Is About Pete Davidson,'” she told host Jimmy Fallon. “I was like, ‘Why not?’ You know? You should be direct.”
The song is certainly heartfelt, with lyrics like, “I thought you into my life, whoa / Look at my mind, yeah / No better place or a time / Look how they align / Universe must have my back / Fell from the sky into my lap / And I know you know that you’re my soulmate and all that.”
2. “Better Off” Is Probably About Her Ex, Mac Miller
You needn’t look any further than the song’s lyrics to discover its subject. “Steering clear of any headaches to start / And if we’re being honest / I’d rather your body than half of your heart,” Grande croons in the the sultry track with a groovy beat. “Or jealous-ridden comments / That come when you let in them feelings that I don’t want.”
The song continues, “I’m better off without him / I’m better off being a wild one / On the road a lot, had to keep it a thousand / So that I’m better off not being around ya.”
Back in June, Grande revealed the track was an older one — likely from when she and Miller were still together — and she almost didn’t include it on the album because it was too honest.
“At first I was nervous about, like, it coming true — if that makes sense. More honest than I was ready to be with myself at the time (it’s very old),” she tweeted in response to a fan’s question about the song. “But it’s beautiful and has always been one of my faves and I’m very happy she’s on there. Excited to share it with you.”
bc at first i was nervous about like……. it coming true. if that makes sense. more honest than i was ready to be w myself at the time (its v old). but it’s beautiful and has always been one of my favs and i’m very happy she’s on there. excited to share it w you.
3. Sweetener Has Inspired a Potentially Dangerous Drinking Game
A Twitter user suggested that fans take a shot every time Grande says “yuh” on the album, which happens to be one of the singer’s favorite words to use in her lyrics. After seemingly attempting their own game, the Twitter user went back on the suggestion.
“OK, I’m five songs into the album and I’m actually going to go ahead and discourage anyone from trying this unless you wanna end up in the hospital by ‘No Tears Left To Cry,'” she cautioned.
“‘Breathin’ is about breathing …when you’re anxious. It’s about anxiety and feeling like you can’t …you know, when you can’t get a full breath. It’s like the worst feeling in the whole world. It’s a song about that feeling,” Grande told Fallon on Thursday’s Tonight Show. “…I was having lots of [anxiety attacks]. We were in the studio, we were writing and I was like, ‘Ugh can’t breathe.’ And they were like, ‘We’re going to write this song.’ And I was like, ‘OK, I still can’t breathe, but we’ll write it.'”
“Feel my blood runnin’, swear the sky’s fallin,” the “Breathin” lyrics read in part. “How do I know if this sh**’s fabricated? / Time goes by and I can’t control my mind.”
In the past, Grande has opened up about her anxiety, specifically after the bombing at her Manchester concert last year, which took the lives of 22 people.
“When I got home from tour, I had really wild dizzy spells, this feeling like I couldn’t breathe,” she recalled in the August issue of ELLE magazine . “I would be in a good mood, fine and happy, and they would hit me out of nowhere. I’ve always had anxiety, but it had never been physical before. There were a couple of months straight where I felt so upside down.”
5. Sweetener‘s Final Track, “Get Well Soon,” Pays Homage Manchester Victims
In a ballad with deep beats, Grande pays tribute to the people who lost their lives and were wounded in the bombing last year.
“Here’s one thing you can trust, yuh / It takes you and me to make us /One of those days you had enough, I’ll be there, I’ll be there,” she sings. “If it ain’t one thing, it’s another / When you need someone to pull you out the bubble / I’ll be right there just to hug you, I’ll be there.”
Touching lyrics aside, the biggest tribute to victims of the Manchester bombing comes in the song’s length — five minutes and 22 seconds. With the additional 40-seconds of silence at the end of the track, Grande commemorates those who lost their lives by remembering the date of the bombing, May 22, 2017, or 5-22.
Remember when Ariana Grande said she’d never forget the victims of the Manchester concert attack?
The fact that ariana added 40 seconds in “Get Well Soon” as a moment of silence until it was 5 minutes 22 seconds long, due to the date of the attack was on 5/22. I don’t think she could do anything any better to show her respect for the angels ♡ ♡ @ArianaGrande#Sweetener