Ariana Grande has done it again, people. The Thank U, Next singer has unleashed yet another bop into the world. This one’s called “Boyfriend,” and it was cowritten by the duo Social House, with whom she frequently collaborates. Sonically it’s right on par with the songs she released on both the Sweetener and Thank U, Next albums: soulful and R&B-tinged with an incredibly catchy pop chorus. I’ve already listened to it 15 times, and I haven’t even had breakfast yet.
Fans shouldn’t read too much into the lyrics on this one. There don’t appear to be any hidden references to Grande’s ex-boyfriends the way there were on the Thank U, Nextalbum. Rather, this breezy track is all about the push and pull of being casual with someone but wanting more. “You ain’t my boyfriend (Boyfriend) / And I ain’t your girlfriend (Girlfriend) / But you don’t want me to see nobody else,” Grande sings in the chorus.
Grande took to Twitter on Thursday night, August 1, and revealed the inspiration behind the song. “Well, I feel like this song captures a common theme in the lives of so many people I know,” Grande wrote. “People want to feel love but don’t want to define their relationship and have trouble fully committing or trusting or allowing themselves to fully love someone even though they want to.”
She continued, “We wanted to make something uplifting that captures that feeling of being afraid to take the leap and 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.”
And as if the song weren’t enough, Grande also dropped the video for “Boyfriend.” In it Grande and Michael “Mikey” Foster from Social House play jealous friends with benefits who get inexplicably angry when they see the other flirting with someone else. At one point Grande pulls out a literal bow and arrow and…well, just watch it for yourself, below. The 2020 VMAs is already shaking.