The year 2018 was a whirlwind for Ariana Grande. The pop singer entered a highly publicized relationship with Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson after her breakup with longtime beau Mac Miller. On September 7, 2018, Miller passed after an accidental overdose; shortly after, Grande ended her engagement to Davidson. Grande initially said she planned to take a break from the public eye post-Davidson, but then she delighted fans with a song about moving on, the infectious earworm "thank u, next."
Grande spoke candidly about how writing the song aided her healing process, saying, "I wrote it with my friends while we were just tipsy in the studio and I was going through a pretty rough period... Writing this album with them, with so many people I love, has really been a huge helping factor in my healing process and just feeling better."
While "thank u, next" thematically focuses on learning and growing from relationships, the second song she dropped (and presumably wrote with her aforementioned friends), "Imagine," examines a different aspect of the grieving process. What does Ariana Grande's song mean? After it dropped at midnight on December 13, 2018, fans started speculating - who is Ariana's "Imagine" about?
The recording sounds like an overview of relationships gone sour and imagining how they could have gone differently. But Grande previously alluded to a Miller-specific track being on her next album. So, is Ariana Grande's song about Mac Miller? After listening to "Imagine," there's compelling evidence it is.
- Photo: AFP/Stringer / AFP/Getty Images1191 VOTES
Miller Sported A Large Tattoo Of The Word 'Imagine'
While the lyrics of Grande's song properly fit the track's title, some believe Grande's choice to call it "Imagine" was an overt node to one of Miller's tattoos. Miller had a large script tattoo of the word "Imagine" on his right bicep.Are you convinced?
- Photo: Kevin Mazur/One Love Manchester/Contributor / Getty Images Entertainment2191 VOTES
She Said It's About An 'Unattainable Love'
Grande hid references to her upcoming album in her video for "Breathin," where fans first spotted the title "Imagine." When fans asked Grande what "Imagine" is about, she said, "A simple, beautiful love that is now (and forever) unattainable."
This feels like a direct confirmation of whom "Imagine" refers to in its lyrics. In theory, Grande would be able to get back with any of her other exes if she wanted to, but with Miller, that remains impossible.Are you convinced?
- Photo: Kevin Mazur/Contributor / WireImage/Getty Images3124 VOTES
She Said The Song Is About 'Pretending It Never Ended'
Grande is very active on social media, and as she teased the second single, fans started to debate what the song would be about. One fan thought it would be "like a darker version of 'thank u, next,' possibly explaining about what it's like after a breakup and how to get through it."
The pop singer responded, saying the song is about "pretending like it never ended. Denial."
This could be interpreted in a multitude of ways. Grande could be refusing to accept the reality of a relationship ending, or she could still be unable to accept the fact someone is permanently out of her life, like Miller.Are you convinced?
- Photo: Kevin Mazur/Contributor / WireImage/Getty Images4123 VOTES
One Lyric Seemingly Refers To How She And Miller Used To Cuddle
"Love how my face fits so good in your neck," Grande croons in "Imagine."
Grande's fan base pointed to the multitude of photos in which Grande and Miller pose in this manner. Grande often nuzzled her head into Miller's neck and chest.Are you convinced?