While Ariana Grande’s “34+35” probably won’t dethrone Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” as the most sex-positive, wildly outrageous, and joyfully filthy song of 2020, Ariana, 27, took her shot at that title on Tuesday (Nov. 17) by releasing a video for the second single off of her new album, Positions. Not since 1985’s Weird Science has there been a more successful merging of sex and chemistry. In the visual – that references The Wizard Of Oz’s Tinman, Frankenstein, and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis – Ariana leads a team of scientists attempting to bring a robot (also Ariana) to life. When their experiment is a success, this new artificial intelligence …transforms Ariana and her team into Fembots straight out of the Austin Powers films. Who knew the singularity would be so sensual?
Fans got a preview of this video on Nov. 14. In the short teaser, a team of scientists – many wearing lab coats and shoes that would qualify as “stripper heels” – are busy in their laboratory. They seemed concerned about what their readouts were telling them, and one ultimately hits a big red button. “COMING SOON” flashes on the screen in a font befitting an old horror movie (or a long-lost Misfits 7”) prompting an unholy marriage of science and sin. Or, a fun new video all about having sex with someone.
At first glance, it’s not obvious what the song is about — unless you do the actual math. For those who hate addition, Ariana made the meaning behind “34+35” explicitly clear in the last lines of the song. “Means I wanna ‘69’ with you / Aww shit / Math class /Never was good,” she sings on the outro. The whole song is a lustful jam about wanting to have sex, so it’s not like this revelation came out of nowhere. “Can you stay up all night? / F-ck me ’til the daylight / Thirty-four, thirty-five (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah),” sings Ariana on the chorus, per Genius, proving that she’s come a long way since starring in Nickelodeon’s Sam & Cat.
Despite the lascivious nature of the lyrics, Ariana called this song “ridiculous” during a recent appearance on the Zach Sang Show. “And [its] so funny and stupid. It’s absolutely absurd. It was just a fun thing. We heard the strings that sounded so Disney and orchestral and full and pure. And I was just like, ‘Yo, what is the dirtiest possible, most opposing lyric that we could write to this.” During the talk, Ariana revealed that she and songwriter Scott Nicholson were having fun coming up with these filthy lyrics.
“It came up a total joke. Then, I became – I fell in love with it. Then, Tayla [Parx] and Victoria [Monét] came and we wrote the bridge together. And it was so much fun,” she said. Ariana added that they started the song “last year,” and the 4.5 earthquake in September inspired the line “Got the neighbors yellin’ “Earthquake!” (Earthquake) /4.5 when I make the bed shake.” However, even Ariana admitted that she had to hide the song when her mother came by the studio. “She was like ‘Hi Ariana,’ and I was like, ‘Billy, PAUSE! PAUSE! PAUSE!’ ”