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Ariana Grande says 'yes, and?' to critics

Ariana Grande shifts gears with "yes and?" — the lead single from her upcoming record. – Photo by @arianagrande / Instagram

Mid-January marked a new era for Ariana Grande, beginning with the release of her single "yes, and?" off her upcoming album "eternal sunshine," set to release on March 8. It's been a contentious couple of months for Grande, with recent headlines fixating on her personal and professional life.

This new single captures Grande's raw emotions against an electro-house backdrop. The track, which evokes Madonna's "Vogue," puts Grande's surprisingly hopeful attitude on full display. 

The album cover's blurry photo and lighting may indicate various genres for its tracks, possibly some more laid-back acoustics or a return to her iconic ballads and mainstream pop. Grande hasn't released anything like this cover art before — the closest thing would be the art for her 2013 debut, "Yours Truly." The fact that she's now 30 years old suggests a more mature perspective.

The thing that will immediately catch the ear of listeners is the track's instrumentation, featuring a unique jangle sound — an evolution of the classic house sound. The song feels like an adventure, encompassing youth and freedom. It's joyful to hear a modern take on a 1990s timepiece. 

There's a sense of unity in the song as Grande spouts empowering lyrics in the second-person, reminiscent of past tracks like "God is a woman." The celebration of graciously moving forward continues the threads from her 2018 track, "thank u, next," and the boldness from "break up with your girlfriend, i'm bored." 

In the accompanying music video, Grande sports an outfit that exudes classiness and flexibility as she has the time of her life dancing around in a warehouse. Her slick moves deepened the video's lighthearted appeal, echoed by the fluidity of the backup dancers. 

The single and accompanying video provide just a glimpse of what's to come for the rest of "eternal sunshine." It's difficult to predict what the rest of the album will be like — Grande has always changed up her style.

Her 2018 smash hit record "Sweetener" gave a personal look at her relationships through slick, playful beats. The title track and "borderline (feat. Missy Elliott)" offer a glimpse into the dream-like, euphoric qualities of intimacy.

Meanwhile, 2020's "Positions" provides a sharper, more intense angle. Throughout the record, her voice traverses across funky instrumentals — pure adventure, fully amped and almost athletic in its essence.

All of Grande's music has a variety of attributes — one moment might be emotional, the next, empowering. "eternal sunshine" could be a combination of any of these sounds or a completely new, experimental direction.

Grande's intentions with this album are truly a mystery due to her limited and cryptic responses. On the other hand, speculation heightens the excitement for everything new. It's difficult to guess the album's sound from only one single, a shame considering Grande also confirmed that no other singles will come out until the official release.

Nevertheless, if "yes, and?" is anything to go by, fans should be excited for Ariana's new material in the coming months. It seems like "the light is coming" faster than expected.

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