Modern dating is hard. Whether you’re having to expertly curate your dating profile on Tinder or Bumble or Hinge or whatever the latest fad app is, or you’re trying to be convince yourself that the blind date your pal has set you up with’s niche interest in collecting Beanie Babies is endearing and not serial killer behaviour, sometimes it’s easier to just cancel that mid-week drink and spend an evening binging Fleabag instead.
But if you’ve managed to get a few semi-awkward dates out of the way and start spending more time with your potential beau, it doesn’t then get any easier. As then you start to have the relationship fear. Whilst you don’t want to see anybody else and you certainly don’t want them to see anybody else, you couldn’t possibly, I don’t know, lose your cool and tell them you fancy them an awful lot and want to be exclusive. So you both continue in a state of anxiety, trying to be nonchalant about the entire situation and avoid speaking about your feelings. And on Ariana Grande’s latest, the slinky R&B-flecked ‘Boyfriend’, she manages to perfectly convey the unease you feel in this state of flux.
“We wanted to make something uplifting that captures that feeling of being afraid to take the leap & trust, being afraid of being hurt or feeling like you won’t be enough for that person … but also how it feels to have a crippling crush on someone,” the artist explained on Twitter.
well, i feel like this song captures a common theme in the lives of so many people i know ! people want to feel love but don’t want to define their relationship & have trouble fully committing or trusting or allowing themselves to fully love someone. even tho they want to. 🌫 https://t.co/28CfLoJseu
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) August 1, 2019
we wanted to make something uplifting that captures that feeling of being afraid to take the leap & trust, being afraid of being hurt or feeling like you won’t be enough for that person … but also how it feels to have a crippling crush on someone. 🖤 #Boyfriendtonight https://t.co/IHQ3cRC9iy
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) August 2, 2019
“I’m a motherfuckin’ train wreck/I don’t wanna be too much” Grande croons over the opening woozy synths, before adding: “But I don’t wanna miss your touch/And you don’t seem to give a fuck”. We’ve all been there. The trend continues throughout, honestly dissecting the fear we all have before jumping into a new relationship.
The track also sees Ari teaming up with current tour support, American pop duo Social House, who trade verses with her and express their own fear at being coupled up. “Even though you ain’t mine, I promise the way we fight/Make me honestly feel like we just in love,” the pair’s Mike Foster croons over the sultry beats and jittery piano lines, adding a sense of musical unease to the already-anxious subject matter.
Although at its core it’s a radio ready pop tune, that would fit comfortably on Grande’s latest album ‘Thank U, Next’, there are also tricks in the instrumentals like the slightly off-kilter production and intricate, jumpy piano licks that mean the music mirrors the apprehension in the lyrics of ‘Boyfriend’.
Expertly conveying the mix of lust and anxiety you feel in those moments before you officially start a new relationship, ‘Boyfriend’ is a sultry R&B bop from Grande. We can only hope next time she tackles the next big step in a relationship, sharing your Netflix password and farting in front of your partner.
- Release Date: 2 August, 2019