What Is "Break Free" by Ariana Grande About? Even the Singer Doesn't Know
Who are she really, anyway? Don't balk at that poor grammar usage — it came from the $250 million dollar mind of Max Martin and the mouth of the human Bratz doll, Ariana Grande. In case all of you Arianators have been wondering what the sorta-kinda-breakup anthem "Break Free" is about, here's a bit of info that might burst your bubble: It's about absolutely nothing. Even Ariana Grande is completely aware that the song is totally nonsensical. Grande disclosed her feelings about the song to Time back in August:
I fought him [songwriter and producerMax Martin] on it the whole time [...] ‘I am not going to sing a grammatically incorrect lyric, help me, God!’ Max was like, ‘It’s funny — just do it!’ I know it’s funny and silly, but grammatically incorrect things make me cringe sometimes.
The chorus's message is at least remotely clear enough to let us gather that it is about a breakup, presumably — or about breaking free from a jail cell (this is the part where she breaks free, right?).
This is the part when I say I don't want yaI'm stronger than I've been beforeThis is the part when I break free'Cause I can't resist it no more
I CAN'T RESIST THESE SHACKLES AND CHAINS ANYMORE! I'M BREAKING FREE! AAAGH! No, not quite? Look, when you have nonsensical shallow lyrics like this, isn't the song's deeper meaning open to interpretation? If I want this song to be about escaping a soul-sucking career to become a bird watcher, can't I make it happen?
Fine, maybe that bird watching idea is a bit far off, even for this song, but let's be honest: other than the chorus that makes a little bit of sense, the lyrics make very little sense. Grande, who's apparently a very good sport, has tried to make sense of the lyric "I only wanna die alive," as she also said to Time:
It means life is so short — there’s no reason to not enjoy it and there’s no reason you should be anything but yourself [...] Have fun, be spontaneous and let go. It’s O.K. to cut off whatever you feel is holding you back.
Keep telling yourself that, Ariana.
But anyway, we've (sort of) tackled the grammar problem and the "die alive" thing, but what about the lyrical blunder that is:
Thought on your bodyI came aliveIt was lethalIt was fatal
Does it really matter, when — as Gawker very astutely pointed out — you can't quite comprehend what Grande is warbling, anyway? Perhaps that's the young artist's strategy for hiding those inane lyrics! After all, she didn't write them, so why should she take the blame? This may also explain why she sings with her hands — perhaps she's signaling to us the deeper meaning! Or maybe this is to distract us! And now that I think about it, that's one reason some pop singers love to belt out high money notes — to impress audiences after belting out less than impressive lyrics.
But we can at least assume that "Break Free" is a break up anthem about someone who makes you want to die alive (which, now that I think about it, might have something to do with that bizarre body that is lethal yet makes Grande alive somehow) — so really, it's about being in love with a fatal robot or an alien, right?
Nope. No. Ariana Grande, you can saaaang, but man, those lyrics make no sense.