Ariana Grande’s new song Boyfriend perfectly sums up the state of modern dating culture

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Christobel Hastings
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Ariana Grande broke down the inspiration behind her latest single on Twitter, and safe to say, it’s extremely relatable.

Time stands still for no woman, not least Ariana Grande, who has rolled out two major albums in the past year and produced a collaborative song with Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey for the forthcoming Charlie’s Angels reboot.

Last night, the quest for chart domination continued, as the singer released her new track Boyfriend, a collaboration with the pop duo and Sweetener Tour opener Social House. And, in true Grande style, she was on hand to break down the meaning behind the song, which gives us an insight into the state of modern dating culture. 

When asked on Twitter about the inspiration behind her new song, Grande replied that Boyfriend “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 some someone. even tho they want to,” she continued, in what could be an ode to the six-week long saga that was this year’s Love Island.

The singer also explained that the new track, which she described as a “nostalgic bop”, aimed to capture the state of limbo of being in an undefined relationship, and the feeling of intense vulnerability when you want to commit to an official relationship, but simultaneously are afraid of getting hurt. A relationship status, in other words, that could best be summed up as “It’s complicated.”

“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,” she added. 

These theme translates brilliantly in the accompanying music video,  directed by Hannah Lux Davis, who previously helmed the videos for Grande’s 7 Rings and Thank U, Next.

In the video, Grande and Social House singer Mike Foster observe one another flirting with strangers at a fancy party. In cartoonish scenes that take place in the singers’ minds, the pair take down each other’s love rivals, until they overcome their fear of commitment and get together. There are some pretty epic stunts too, including a kung fu sequence from Social House, and one especially memorable scene in which Ariana wields a bow and arrow. 

Watch the music video for Boyfriend below.

Image: Getty


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Christobel Hastings

Christobel Hastings is Stylist's Entertainment Editor whose specialist interests include pop culture, LGBTQ+ identity and lore.