Rihanna Gives Good “Love”
In pop, sometimes it pays to get by with a little help from your friends — especially if some of them are excellent songwriters and producers. Someone like Avril Lavigne can turn her nose up all she wants at performers who don’t write their own material, but that doesn’t make her self-written songs any more significant.
Rihanna, who samples one of Lavigne’s better musical moments on her current Top 10 hit, “Cheers (Drink to That),” might usually be at the mercy of her producers and songwriters, but they almost always help her deliver high pop art. Unlike most of her princess-of-pop peers, she rarely repeats herself musically, offering something specific and completely individual with each new single.
The proof is in the songs: Does Lady Gaga, Katy Perry or Britney Spears have a singles discography that covers as much musical ground as “Pon de Replay,” “If It’s Lovin’ That You Want,” “Umbrella,” “Russian Roulette,” “Hard,” “Rude Boy,” “Rockstar 101,” “Love the Way You Lie” and “Only Girl (In the World)”? Criticize her for lacking powerful pipes if you must, but her vocals are unique and distinctive enough to tie together all of her varied sounds. When you’re listening to a Rihanna track, you know it.
But damn, there are so many Rihanna tracks.
I was kind of worried when she tweeted on September 15 that a new album was coming “this fall.” (Official release date: November 21.) After all, “Cheers (Drink to That),” the sixth single from “Loud,” her fifth album since her 2005 arrival, had just entered the Top 10. Did we really need another long player from Rihanna in less than a year. “Give us a break, girl!” I yelled at my laptop.
But after hearing “We Found Love,” the first single from her still-untitled sixth album, I’m kind of warming up to the idea. Cut from a similar dance cloth as “Only Girl (In the World),” the first single from “Loud,” “We Found Love” brings the beat a bit closer to the edge with shimmery stuttering production and euphoric vocals that sound like they’re crawling up from deep inside the groove. It would make the perfect second half of a 3am dance-floor double bill featuring “Hello” by Martin Solveig and Dragonette.
“Love” is a classic Calvin Harris production (he gets “featuring” billing on the single), the kind of tense strobelight jam that could finally make Kelly Rowland a solo superstar. In Rihanna hand’s, though, it’s more than likely to become her 11th No. 1 U.S. single. If there’s more where that came from on November 21, I’ll start praying for Rihanna to go away another day.
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