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How Ariana Grande Turned Divorce and Heartbreak Into Pop Perfection

‘Eternal Sunshine’ is the most mature album of her career — and one of the catchiest. We break it down, track by track — and try to figure out why Grande compared it to the Beatles’ ‘Rubber Soul’

Ariana Grande

Art Streiber/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

One of the biggest influences on Ariana Grande‘s new album, Eternal Sunshine, turns out be the Beatles’ Rubber Soul. That inspiration isn’t exactly instantly evident within the album’s sleek production and Max Martin-assisted songwriting, but Grande said in an advance listening session for journalists that she had John, Paul, George, and Ringo in mind as she stuffed it full of unexpected melodic twists and half-buried ear candy.

In the new episode of Rolling Stone Music Now, we discuss Grande’s newfound Beatlemania and much more, going track-by-track on her first album in four years. Brittany Spanos and Rob Sheffield join host Brian Hiatt for the discussion, which also touches on the album’s intersection with Grande’s much-discussed personal life; her tributes to late-Nineties pop on “The Boy is Mine” and “True Story”; how she’s moving beyond the R&B that once defined her sound; and where the album fits within the canon of turning-30 classics, from Taylor Swift’s Lover to Carole King’s Tapestry. To hear the full episode, go here for the podcast provider of your choice, listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or just press play above.

Download and subscribe to Rolling Stone‘s weekly podcast, Rolling Stone Music Now, hosted by Brian Hiatt, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify (or wherever you get your podcasts). Check out six years’ worth of episodes in the archive, including in-depth interviews with Mariah Carey, Bruce Springsteen, Questlove, Halsey, Neil Young, Snoop Dogg, Brandi Carlile, Phoebe Bridgers, Rick Ross, Alicia Keys, the National, Ice Cube, Taylor Hawkins, Willow, Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Dua Lipa, Killer Mike, Julian Casablancas, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Marr, Scott Weiland, Liam Gallagher, Alice Cooper, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Costello, John Legend, Donald Fagen, Charlie Puth, Phil Collins, Justin Townes Earle, Stephen Malkmus, Sebastian Bach, Tom Petty, Eddie Van Halen, Kelly Clarkson, Pete Townshend, Bob Seger, the Zombies, and Gary Clark Jr. And look for dozens of episodes featuring genre-spanning discussions, debates, and explainers with Rolling Stone’s critics and reporters.

From Rolling Stone US