Ariana Grande's two-year relationship with Mac Miller ended in May 2018. The singer started dating Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson the same month, but then had to endure the tragedy of Miller dying from a drug overdose in September 2018. This haunting ballad (no pun intended) finds her grieving for the late rapper while still in a relationship with Davidson.
I know that it breaks your heart when I cry again Over him I know that it breaks your heart when I cry again, 'Stead of ghostin' him
The track is a ghostly take on a love triangle. Grande is mourning Mac Miller and apologizing to her current lover for the rapper's spectral presence hanging over her. Though she seems hopeful that they'll get through her trauma, Grande also sings about wishing "he were here instead."
"Ghostin" means cutting off communication to avoid a person and the confrontation that would inevitably arise. Grande said the song is about "feeling badly for the person you're with because you love somebody else. Feeling badly because he can tell he can't compare... and how I should be ghosting him."
Grande's relationship with Davidson didn't survive. They broke up a month after the passing of Mac Miller.
It's been pointed out on social media that the song's background moans sound very much like a slowed down version of the strings on Mac Miller's 2018 contemplative Swimming track, "2009."
The song features backing vocals from two of its co-writers, Victoria Monét and Tayla Parx. Monet and Parx also co-penned Thank U Next's title track and "7 Rings."
"Pretty In Pink" by Psychedelic Furs was released in 1981. Five years later, it inspired a movie of the same name starring Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy and Jon Cryer. The song was remixed for the re-release to have more Pop appeal.