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Released: 2020

In Ariana Grande’s unabashedly flirtatious single, “34+35”, the pop titan serves up a saucy blend of explicit desires, with just a dash of arithmetic for good measure. At its core, the song is a frank expression of sexual desire, expertly laced with Grande’s signature blend of provocative humor and playful misdirection.

Right out of the gate, the opening verse sets the nighttime scene with a provocative invitation. The energetically charged lyrics, “You might think I’m crazy/The way I’ve been cravin’/If I put it quite plainly/Just gimme them babies” are hard to misinterpret. Grande’s brazen articulation of her desires paints a picture of a confident woman very much in control of her own sexuality.

The chorus, “Can you stay up all night?/Fuck me ’til the daylight/34, 35”, folds in the titular numerical reference—a cheeky nod to the sexual position “69”. In pop music tradition, the use of number codes often serves to slip racy content past the unassuming ear, and Grande employs it here with expert ease.

In the second verse, Grande continues the flirtatious banter with lyrics like “You drink it just like water (water)/You say, “It tastes like candy””. Here, we see common pop music euphemism at play, using ‘candy’ as a stand-in for something more risqué.

The third verse pushes the erotic imagery further. Lyrics such as “Baby, you might need a seatbelt when I ride it/I’ma leave it open like a door, come inside it” are pure Grande bravado. She’s unabashedly steering the narrative, using car and door metaphors to heighten the song’s sexual tension.

The lyrics, “Got the neighbors yellin’, “Earthquake” (earthquake)/4.5 when I make the bed shake (bed shake)” showcase Grande’s knack for clever wordplay. Here, she uses ‘earthquake’ and ‘4.5’ to creatively describe the intensity of her lovemaking. This reference to the Richter scale, used to measure the magnitude of earthquakes, is an audacious way to communicate the power of her sexual prowess.

In the closing lines, “But who’s counting the time when we got it for life? (Got it for life)/I know all your favorite spots (favorite spots)/We can take it from the top (from the top)/You such a dream come true, true/Make a bitch wanna hit snooze, ooh”, we see a departure from the explicitly sexual narrative. Here, Ariana emphasizes a deeper level of intimacy and familiarity in the relationship, reinforcing the idea that this song is about more than just physical satisfaction—it’s about connection and endurance in a relationship.

To wrap it all up, the last lines “34, 35 (yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)/Yeah, yeah, yeah/Means I wanna 69 wit’ ya’, no shit/Math class, never was good”, once again tie back to the song’s titular numbers, this time with Ariana finally spelling out their double-entendre significance, confirming for anyone still in the dark about what the song is about.

“34+35”, a risqué masterstroke, is Ariana Grande at her most playful but also highlights her autonomy and ownership of her own sexuality within her music.

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