Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Ariana Grande ft. Nicki Minaj – Side to Side

WARNING: A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad pun follows…


Katie Gill: After the WONDERFULNESS of “Into You,” this is a really disappointing follow-up. Those faux reggae stylings are tacky as hell, and not even Grande’s lilting, teasing coyness can save this. Finally, while I’m glad Nicki released a new single recently (as I’m sure it’s making her bank), I’m getting tired of her showing up to half-ass a rap verse.

Alfred Soto: Less persuaded than my colleagues by Ariana Grande’s material or prowess, I’m not inclined to be tolerant. She resorts to telling because her show ain’t much. This song, she explains “is about riding leading to soreness.” A consequence of overpowering electronic reggae-inflected pop with an electronic game show-inflected voice.

Katherine St Asaph: Like you shut up any more after your first really good lover. We all need songs to be embarrassing-in-retrospect to. And we all brag-lament in the language we know, and if that’s reggae so be it.

Rachel Bowles: “Side to Side” may not be the slice of sonic perfection and instructional hymn to feminine jouissance that is “Love Me Harder” but remains noteworthy if only for its insistence on taking pride in female sexuality. Pleasure is still key: Queen Ari trilling on “Boy-oy-oy-oy” before recalling the exquisite ache of countless petite morts is definitely worth repeat plays, even if the reggae infused guitars and finger clicks are standard fare. Nicki commits will.i.am’s classic crime of telling us about a new style/fresh flow without us hearing it. Still, a serviceable Minaj verse is infinitely superior to any number of interchangeable dudes rapping.

Hannah Jocelyn: I have now listened to this song several times and I cannot remember anything about it except for “dick bicycle” and the whole “Minaj a trois” part, both from Nicki herself. Listening again, it becomes clear that musically, it’s just another rather unmemorable reggae-ish song, like “All In My Head (Flex)” but not. What a huge step down from “Into You” and pretty much everything else she’s released from this era of her career — it’s not really surprising, but impressive just how concession-y it feels. Nicki’s contributions are fun enough that I can forgive the rest of the song’s lack of ear-worminess, but they aren’t enough to keep it from vanishing into thin air as soon as it ends.

Will Adams: It’s either that “Side to Side” is improved when separated from the far superior fare around it on Dangerous Woman, or that it’s worsened without the album’s missteps to make it shine by comparison. Or it could be that it’s either improved thanks to its bass heavy reggae groove or worsened by the annoying, SoulCycle chic video. Or that it’s improved by Nicki’s adequate rap or worsened by her lazier sung part. Basically, the song has me going side to side, and the opportunity to make that joke tips me toward the higher end.

Will Rivitz: Dangerous Woman is packed to the gills with utterly phenomenal pop songs, many of which could reasonably be tapped for Song of the Year by a Respectable Publication and one of which (“Greedy”) is still my pick five months in. “Side to Side” is not one of these songs. The enveloping bass is sublime, but that’s about all this has going for it — Grande sounds surprisingly generic over anemic guitar, Minaj delivers her worst verse in at least three or four years, and the brash pre-chorus leads nowhere. I wish the powers that be had picked pretty much anything else as a third single, but here we are, I guess.

Reader average: [7] (5 votes)

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8 Responses to “Ariana Grande ft. Nicki Minaj – Side to Side”

  1. I’m so sorry

  2. People who don’t like this song obviously haven’t had the bomb d in a long time.

  3. ^ Best comment to Connor ^

  4. because insulting people’s sex lives is a cool thing to do

  5. a) I apologize in advance but
    b) gato’s theme

  6. …. oh my god

  7. Wow. That’s even closer than Robo’s theme and “Never Gonna Give You Up”

  8. friend: “fucked up that today’s popstars are encouraging young kids to give 15 silver points to people who beat them up”