Ariana Grande dropped her very anticipated summer song, Boyfriend, a collaboration with pop duo Social House, this Friday. When I first heard the song I moved to the beat and forgot to pay attention to the lyrics (it’s so catchy). However, on my second listen, I vowed to myself to listen closely to the lyrics. I have to say that I did not expect it to resonate with me as much as it did. So, I had to write about it.
The song was written by Edgar Barrera, Steven Franks, Tommy Brown, Charles Anderson and Michael Foster of Social House, and Grande herself. I interpreted this song as talking about “almost relationships”, which I experienced first hand a few times in my life. I used to think of them as being the best, but now, looking back, I see how wrong it was for me. Now that I am in a committed and healthy relationship, I see everything that I missed in my past. But, I’m drifting away from the subject, so back to the song.
In the first verse, Ariana sings, among other things: “I don’t wanna be too much/ But I don’t wanna miss your touch.” This to me feels so familiar! The fear of being too much, of exceeding the unclear boundaries of the “almost relationship”. Grande goes on to sing: “And I might not be the one for you/ But you ain’t allowed to have no boo,” which is another aspect I can relate to in an “almost relationship”. The jealousy for your “boyfriend” is there even if you don’t declare yourself a formal couple. You crave to make this official but afraid to make that change.
This is also evident in the chorus, in which Grande sings: “You ain’t my boyfriend (Boyfriend)/ And I ain’t your girlfriend (Girlfriend)/ But you don’t want me to see nobody else/ And I don’t want you to see nobody.”
In the third verse, Anderson sings: “Careful with words, but it’s still hard to read me,” which also resonated with me. In this type of relationship, I remember being so careful with my words, because, again, I feared to look needy or exceed the boundaries. I put on a front to not reveal what I really felt, for him not to see my real feelings.
Anderson goes on to sing with Grande: “If you were my boyfriend/ And you were my girlfriend/ I prolly wouldn’t see nobody else/ But I can’t guarantee that by myself.” This is yet another aspect I found myself relating to. When I was in all of those “almost relationships” I never wanted to see anyone else, I wanted to make things official, but couldn’t by myself. Because I feared for the relationship and feared to cross the lines, I stayed silent. Now I know I would have acted differently.
In a tweet posted on Friday, Grande wrote: “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.” I can say from my experience that they achieved this big time. I know this song will mean a lot to many out there, I just wish I had this song when I was in those relationships. Maybe it would have helped me see my feelings weren’t strange or out of the ordinary.
So, a big thank you to Ariana Grande and Social House and all the writers, for capturing a theme in the lives of many, including myself.