Shortly after the singer dropped the new song on Friday, loyal Arianators took to Twitter to praise Grande for the track's dreamy vibe, slow-burning lyrics and the whistle notes that certainly give Mariah Carey a run for her money.
But after listening to the song on repeat, some fans started to dig even deeper, uncovering clues that seemingly suggest Grande wrote the track about her late ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller.
First, the fact that the song's title is "Imagine" is telling in itself. Twitter users were quick to point out that Miller -- who died in September -- had the word tattooed in script on his inner bicep.
Second, the food and clothing-optional references. "Staying up all night, order me pad thai," Grande sings. "Quick, quick, quick, let's go, kiss me and take off your clothes."
The lyrics are somewhat similar to lines in Miller's "Cinderella," in which he raps, "I been picturing you takin' off your clothes for me" and "when you hungry I can shut you up with stir fry."
Grande confirmed back in May, shortly after their breakup, that "Cinderella" was the only song Miller had specifically written about her on his The Divine Feminine album.
Oh, and those whistle notes (around the 2:45 mark) mentioned earlier? Some fans believe those aren't coincidental either. Grande belted out similar tones (at the 3:14 mark) when she teamed up with Miller for "The Way" in 2013.
realising ariana did whistle tones in the way with mac and in imagine about mac...i’m sad :( how did we get here :(
But the biggest clue of them all is Grande's recent response to a fan who asked, point blank, what the song was about: "A simple, beautiful love that is now (and forever) unattainable."
"A lot of this album mourns failed, yet important beautiful relationships in my life (as well as celebrates growth / exploring new independence),” Grande shared in a previous tweet. “But for those of you asking about imagine: I would say if ‘thank u, next’ = acceptance… ‘imagine’ = denial. Hope that makes sense."
It's been a roller coaster of a year for Grande. Aside from mourning the death of Miller, Grande also has been moving on from her relationship with Pete Davidson after the two broke up and called off their engagement in October. She spoke of her ups and downs earlier this month while accepting Billboard's Woman of the Year award.
"This is really special. I want to say that I find it interesting that this has been one of the best years in my career and one of, like, the worst years in my life," she exclaimed. "I'm just saying that because I feel like a lot of people would look at someone in my position right now, Woman of the Year, an artist that could be at her peak, reaching her, you know, whatever, and think, 'She's really got her s**t together, she's really on it, she has got it all.'"
"I do, but as far as my personal life goes, I really have no idea what the f**k I am doing," she continued. "So yeah, it's been a very conflicting one. I just want to say if you're someone out there who has no idea what this next chapter is going to bring, you're not alone in that."