Ariana Grande’s new hit “Side to Side” may be set in a spinning studio, but working out was just a sly cover for the real subject of the video: having so much sex that you can’t walk afterward.
Initially, reviewers and fans didn’t pay much attention to the lyrics, as they were easy to miss amidst the catchy beat and frenetic activity. Reflecting on the music video, which portrays Grande as a sort of dolled-up spin instructor Elle writer Alyssa Bailey wondered if the video were “a deeper commentary on the ridiculous pressure women face to always. look. good. even when they're at a hellish spin class.”
There was certainly no question whether the video, which also stars Nicki Minaj, was steamy and sensual. As Billboard contributor Gil Kaufman wrote, “It takes the gym to erotic new heights.” But until the VMAs, fans didn’t really realize the extent of those heights.
While subtly, Grande revealed the song’s true meaning during a red carpet interview, when she stated that it centered around “riding leading to soreness.” "'Ride dick bicycle' is the lyric, indeed," she chuckled.
When Lena Dunham’s boyfriend Jack Antonoff informed her of the news, Dunham tweeted: “Jack just explained that the song Side to Side is about getting railed so hard you can't walk. SO MANY EMOTIONZ.”
After explaining the revelation in an article, Cosmo writer Gina Mei penned an approving: “Work that bicycle, girl.” It was clear that MTV contributor Deepa Lackshmin was also amused, writing: “Bicycles aren’t the only things you ride.”
Glamour writer Christopher Rosa went farther. He enthused “I am living for this … Is there a better kind of cardio than sex, to be honest? (No. The answer is no.)”
Minaj is no stranger to risqué and provocative behavior. In 2015, the star openly discussed her sex life, advocating for “orgasm equality.” In 2012, she also mocked the Catholic Church in her song “Roman Holiday.”
Grande is infamous for display of unpatriotic sentiments at a donut store on Independence Day last year. After licking some donuts sitting on a counter for sale in the bakery she was visiting, she declared: “I hate Americans, I hate America.”
I guess “Side to Side” makes sense now.