Monday, September 17, 2007


Rihanna, "Umbrella (feat. Jay-Z)"
Rihanna, "Shut Up And Drive"
Rihanna, "Don't Stop The Music"
Rihanna, "Hate That I Love You (feat. Ne-Yo)"

Is it her knack for obvious hits that has allowed Rihanna to release three albums in two years or is a smitten label prez rewarding a supplicating subordinate with a steady stream of obvious hits? Since fellow Def Jam signee Ne-Yo is two for two, I'm just guessing that Jay-Z (who dropped his first eight in eight) knows that it pays to keep the hits coming. This time it's all about crossover: Sinead-Alanis-Avril syllables over NIN synth scrape and a big beat (intro'd rather than interrupted by Jay cuz he'd only be in the way), suggestive/exploitive power-chord teen-pop, maddening dance floor stomp, and a campfire lament with Ne-Yo (there's that word again) that hides its Extreme ways behind a drum machine. It's not like she really had anywhere to crossover to, but I'm glad everyone involved is pretending. Rihanna's great talent is sounding unassuming, but comfortable, surrounded by this pop largess. Too much (or too little) presence would make "Don't Stop The Music"'s MJ interpolation a pretentious weight. With Rhianna, it's just another expensive gas.

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