Today I want to talk about Ariana Grande and her latest song 34+35.
I have to admit that after listening to the song I was shocked, left with a sense of disappointment.
I don’t consider myself a fan or follower of her music, but I have seen and heard some of her music and there is no doubt that she is a very successful pop artist. There is no question about her talent, and I always give my opinions from a position of respect regardless of genre or style.
However, having said this, this specific song raises some questions about the music industry, and as a musician myself, I find it disturbing that someone with the image and following of Grande, has released a song with this message.
34+35 is a sexually explicit song, and there is plenty of that in todays pop music culture (and many others like Latin and reaggeton). The sum of these numbers is 69, because what Grande is saying to her imaginary boyfriend is that she is horny and she wants to try that sexual posture. Nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong about a song talking about sex, or love or any other theme, as long as you respect people. Ariana is not being disrespectful with her partner, she is saying quite clearly what she wants, and that is crystal clear in the chorus, which goes:
“Can you stay up all night?
Fuck me until the daylight”
“Can you stay up all night?
Fuck me until the daylight”
Wow. I mean. WOW.
There is a lot of sexually explicit lyrics out there, but I just didn’t expect it from Miss Grande. She is an artist of huge commercial success. She is the number 1 Spotify artist right now, with 78 million monthly listeners.
Only on Spotify this song has been streamed over 216 Million times so far. The music video has been watched 115 Million times so far.
It’s undeniable the commercial success of such a talented artist.
Maybe I’m being over sensitive, because I am a parent now, and I have also been young, I know that hormones take over you when you are teenager, but Ariana has followers that are probably 8 or 10 years old. And millions of them. Have no doubt that right now they are listening to this song over their smartphones.
So you can begin to understand why I am feeling a bit uncomfortable.
My question is: What kind of message is this giving to this children? I know that today’s society is hyper sexual, and I totally respect the sexual freedom and the freedom of speech of all of us, but I also believe in a sense of responsibility.
I can also understand that behind Ariana Grande there is a group of people, maybe a corporation, that has invested millions of Dollars in her. She is just a product of the music industry, and a profitable one. So probably the number one objective of this powerful group of people is making as much money as possible with her. Maybe this means pushing her to do things that doesn’t really represent her or is in her best personal interest. I have no idea, I could be totally wrong, and Miss Grande may have had this idea herself and she is comfortable by sharing with her fans her sexual fantasies or relationship with her boyfriend.
I go and check on Wikipedia who are the writers of this song, and there is quite a bit of information about it:
“34+35” is a song recorded by American singer Ariana Grande, as the second track on her sixth studio album, Positions (2020). It was written by Grande, Albert Stanaj, Courageous Xavier Herrera, Scott Nicholson, Steven Franks, Tayla Parx, Victoria Monét, and its producers Peter Lee Johnson and Tommy Brown. On October 30, 2020, the song was released by Republic Records as the second single from the album. The song’s title and chorus reference the 69 sex position, while the rest of its lyrics feature several sexual puns, double entendres, and sex jokes.Source:Wikipedia
There are quite a few writers, including Grande and another 2 female writers. So most certainly, Grande approved of this.
But my frustration lies in this question “What kind of message of empowerment (if any) are you trying to give?”. Maybe none. Maybe is just another sexually explicit song about a young woman wanting to fuck her boyfriend in a manner that she finds pleasurable.
I personally see this as a huge step backwards. So much effort has been put lately by women around the world to empower their freedom and free themselves of the chains of abusers with the #metoo movement and all that, but somehow we have a leading figure of the pop culture with millions of underage fan girls, who is portraying herself in a very sexual way.
Maybe women find it empowering to take control and tell their man “Fuck me until daylight” if you can keep it up.
Ariana Grande has been a product in the making for many years now, since she was probably 10 or 12 year old, around the age her parents divorced. I really hope she is surrounded by the right people who want the best for her, and she doesn’t end like some of her own greatest inspirations, singers such as Whitney Houston who ended totally fucked by fame and money, and all the shit that it can attract.
Guys please help me out, am I getting this totally wrong, or do I have a vision of the world that is too idealistic?
I have the utmost respect for Ariana Grande as an artist and as a person, and I don’t know or care about who is behind her creative and management decisions. After all her commercial success is undeniable. But success is such an subjective word. I just wish the best for her and I hope her next work is again a big commercial success but also brings some light and real empowerment to the lives of so many girls out there who need real inspiration to make this world a better place, not just a position to fuck their boyfriends.
I hope this video makes you think and inspires you.
Javier Moreno Olivares, Barcelona 15th Jan 2021