The Barbadian singer is a powerful vocalist and extremely sexual. None of that is lost in the new video.
But given her talents, she’s merely manning a production line. She’s cranking out her signature style music and videos, much like Ford or Chevy make cars–one after another, exactly alike.
In contrast, Rihanna showed growth and direction across her first seven albums, starting with Music of the Sun (2005) and Girl Like Me (2006).
Her style continued to evolve for Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), Rated R (2009) and Loud. But after that, she took a step back with Talk that Talk, a largely dance-inflected R&B album, with elements of hip-hop, making it much like Loud.
Unapologetic, her seventh studio album in seven years, making her one of the hardest working women in show business, also received generally mixed reviews, although criticism at this point is relative.
She’s still the most powerful and beguiling pop princess in music. Yet, you would think after a near four-year hiatus she would have had the time to clear her head and take her music to the next level.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with the level she’s at. She pushes all the buttons that mark her signature style and persona in her “Work” video.
The clip is an ode to the club scene, which, frankly, looks boring and banal. It’s also subtly misogynistic. The girls are clearly there to put on a show for the boys.
There’s lots of the requisite twerking, grinding, booze and blunts. Somehow, though, the whole scene appears soporific.
In the video-within-a-video, Rihanna and Drake go one-on-one in what looks like a steamy backroom. But Rihanna is the one on parade, dancing like she’s auditioning, trying to win the aloof Drake’s approval. He just sits back and laughs.
Wouldn’t it maybe have been cooler if he was the one doing the auditioning?
The song released last month, is the lead single her new album, Anti. It was also released around the same time.
Top artists like Paul McCartney and Bod Dylan among others have all talked about, and experienced, fans who tend to recoil when artists develop a new musical direction.
But Rihanna won’t suffer from that problem. She gives them just what they want–more of the same.
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