Ariana Grande dropped the second song presumably from her upcoming album, Thank U, Next, on Friday (December 14). Titled “Imagine,” the track is an airy R&B slow-jam that places Grande’s out-of-this-world vocals up front and center. That’s not surprising, though—we know Grande has pipes. What might surprise fans is the inspiration behind the song. Twitter is convinced the song is an ode to Grande’s ex-boyfriend, the late Mac Miller, and the evidence holds up.
For one, there’s the title: “Imagine.” Miller actually had an “Imagine” tattoo on his upper arm, so it’s possible Grande derived inspiration from that. There are also some telling details in the lyrics. “Staying up all night, order me pad thai,” Grande sings at one point in the song. Miller mirrors this in his song “Cinderella” when he raps, “And when you hungry, I can chef you up a stir fry.” (Grande confirmed back in May “Cinderella” was written about her.)
A second parallel occurs later in the song when Grande sings “I never thought that it would be you.” On “Cinderella,” Miller croons, “You used to tell me all the time I ain’t your type.” Finally, Grande sings in a whistle tone at the 2:45 mark on “Imagine.” She uses a similar tone on her song “The Way,” which she recorded with Miller, at the 3:14 mark.
Fans are clearly in their feels about all of this. Below, just a few reactions.
Grande, for her part, hopes the viral feud between Drake and Kanye West on Twitter right now doesn’t deflect from her music or her friend Miley Cyrus’ new song release. “guys, i know there are grown men arguing online rn but miley and i dropping our beautiful, new songs tonight so if y’all could please jus behave for just like a few hours so the girls can shine that’d be so sick thank u,” she tweeted last night. Amen.