After Taylor Swift sonically saved 2020 back on July 24 with the release of Folklore, pop fans have been waiting for another artist to put out the new music they’ve been working on in lockdown. Finally, on Oct. 14, Ariana Grande announced she would be releasing a new album within the month, giving the people more music to drown out all their problems with. The first single, “Positions,” dropped on Oct. 23, accompanied by a music video in which Grande is the president. However, Grande as America’s commander-in-chief is not the most gossip-worthy part of this release. Fans have pointed out that within the first few lines, Grande throws shade at her ex Pete Davidson. Keep reading to find out why Arianators are sure the pop icon is targeting her former flame, and for stars who stayed amicable after their split, check out these 17 Celebrity Exes Who Are Best Friends Now.
Just 17 seconds into the song, Grande seems to make a subtle, stylized dig at her ex-fiancé. In the voice of an angel, Grande sings the first line, “Heaven sent you to me,” seemingly referring to her current boyfriend, luxury real estate agent Dalton Gomez. However, the next line shifts toward focusing on her past: “I’m just hoping I don’t repeat history,” she sings.
While that may seem like an innocuous enough line, it packs more meaning than it suggests on the page. It’s not so much about what she says, but rather how she says it. Grande leaves a labored pause between the syllables “re” and “peat.” Fans immediately connected the latter half of the word to Davidson, assuming that Grande adding the pause, and emphasizing the “peat,” was a subtle but intentional way to reference her ex. Time will tell what other slick, evil genius-level lines Grande will deliver on the rest of her new album, which is anticipated to be released next week.
Of course, fans know this isn’t the first time Grande has referenced an ex in her song. Read on for four more not-so-subtle references, and to see which stars have had partners in common, here are 60 Celebrities Who Share an Ex.
The most famous example of Grande referencing an ex in a song is “Thank U Next.” The track is all about being grateful for her past, which brought her to her future, and Grande manages to hit four exes in the same breath.
The line, “Thought I’d end up with Sean, but he wasn’t a match,” refers to Big Sean. “Wrote some songs about Ricky, now I listen and laugh,” Grande sings next about Ricky alvarez. Grande admitted via Instagram that Alvarez got the worst line, but “it was meant lovingly,” she says.
“Even almost got married, and for Pete, I’m so thankful,” Grande sings in reference to her brief engagement to Davidson. “Wish I could say, ‘Thank you’ to Malcolm ’cause he was an angel,” is of course for the late Mac Miller.
Grande says Alvarez and Sean had the benefit of hearing the song before it was released. And for more fun content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
The pop star wasn’t trying for subtlety here. The song is short and sweet—1 minute and 15 seconds of Grande gushing over how happy Davidson made her at the time. “Universe must have my back / Fell from the sky into my lap / And I know you know that you’re my soulmate and all that,” she sings. And if you’re looking for a little musical comfort post-breakup, try The Best Breakup Songs of All Time.
The song opens with a recording of a voicemail from Grande’s friend Doug Middlebrook saying, “Here’s the thing: you’re in love with a version of a person that you’ve created in your head, that you are trying to but cannot fix.” Middlebrook is seemingly coaching Grande through her relationship at the time with Davidson.
“In My Head” features very pointed lines, including, “Look at you, boy, I invented you / Your Gucci tennis shoes running from your issues.” These lyrics seemingly refer to Davidson’s struggle with his mental health and his rise in fame as he dated Grande. And for a throwback to more famous duos, revisit these Celebrity Couples When They First Got Together.
Grande’s longtime friend and co-writer Victoria Monet confirmed that this song was about Alvarez. “I think it was after their first kiss. He waited to kiss her for a long time, and she was really impressed,” Monet told Billboard. “He’s such a gentleman, and the song is a great little bookmark of the start of their relationship.” Grande sings, “Every look, every touch makes me wanna give you my heart / I be crushin’ on you, baby / Stay the way you are.” Ah, sounds like young love to us. And to find out which couples are still thriving, check out these Long-Term Celebrity Couples You Totally Forgot Are Still Together.