Rihanna Releases New Single And It's Just The Right Amount Of Sexy
Rihanna just released her music video for "FourFiveSeconds." The release is well-timed, as Tuesday is "three more days 'til Friday," which is a lyric in the song. However, the video might be most notable for everything that is not in it.
Paul McCartney's guitar and a swelling organ provide all the accompanying music to Kanye and RiRi's stripped-down and sung verses.
The video is shot in black and white. The three pop icons aren't sent on some wacky narrative in exotic locations; they just stand, mug for the camera and sing or strum their parts.
Kanye doesn't rap, Paul doesn't croon and Rihanna doesn't wail over a slamming club anthem.
Each star takes a step back for the assumed goal of melding their talents in an ideal chemistry to create an ideal pop song that mixes angst and longing in an ideal blend of human emotion.
Another interesting omission is the left and right sections of the screen.
The directors, Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, use a vertical rectangular frame we've grown accustomed to seeing in amateur footage uploaded to WorldStarHipHop, but never really seen before in a professional music video.
This could be an acknowledgement of our changing cultural environment, as we no longer gather around our television screens on Saturday mornings to catch the newest music videos, but instead, watch them on our phones while waiting in line at 7/11 behind that dude who smells like sauerkraut.
The frame may also suggest the usual medium of Inez and Vinoodh, who tend to shoot black-and-white portraits of celebrities for magazines.
The portraits go for a raw, yet glamorous look. The celebrities gaze back into the camera as though they are contemplating whether to kill or make love to the photographer.
The portraits are intimate; every curve and contour of each face is thrown into great relief. Hot messes look like Greek tragedies.
Whereas Terry Richardson dives into the grime and gargles, Inez and Vinoodh take the raw humanity in their photographs and make it beautiful.
This music video gives us a closer look at these usually untouchable celebrities. They wear denim, the fabric of the masses, and exhibit rarely seen emotion.
Have you ever seen Kanye make this face before?
Or seen Rihanna wipe a tear away?
Also note Kanye's Michael Jackson impression.
He doesn't dance a routine, but instead does a boogie he might do in front of his full length mirror in his glamorous master bedroom after stepping out of a particularly refreshing steam bath.
But, as personal as the video may seem, it still is a rigidly controlled environment handled by professionals who have been trained to make famous people look good.
This music video isn't the home movie Spike Jonze shot for Kanye's "Only One." "FFS "is far more structured, but "Only One" may give a hint to the ultimate purpose of "FFS."
The personal video featured Kanye running out of the forest much like he did in the beginning of his mega-music video for "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy."
But, unlike in "MBDTF," Kanye arrives somewhere peaceful and calm at the end of "Only One." Perhaps, the chaos of his prior life led him to that misty field where he can frolic with North.
"FourFiveSeconds" is basically Inez and Vinoodh's speciality: a photoshoot.
Photoshoots come during important shifts in a person's career. Yeezus Kanye is dead; he's onto designing a shoe for Adidas. He's a daddy, and he's making pop music now.
In "FFS," Kanye teamed up with a legend from pop's past and a huge star in pop's present.
The song and video are both minimalist, like Yeezus, but the unfiltered expression of emotion has shifted from carnal aggression to tender sensitivity.
Kanye's influence is there, but it is repackaged for pop marketability, and his Michael Jackson impression shows the status he ultimately desires within his new genre.
Rihanna is almost as popular as possible. Her international fame made her presence at the World Cup fitting, even though she seemed to care less about soccer, and more into hobnobbing with handsome world champions.
This broadening of her market fits with "FourFiveSeconds," as Rihanna has always been popular, but you can't imagine too many pantsuited female executives publicly jamming to "Rude Boy."
The song shows off not only her undoubtable singing chops, but also her ability to put emotion into lyrics that don't have to do with clubbing escapades.
Rihanna is maybe one of the hottest women to ever exist, but youth runs out, and her performance in this video shows her career can handle the transition to maturity.
Paul McCartney has blended into the background by only providing a guiding hand and an irresistible acoustic riff.
Macca's effortless ability can still boost pop music, yet you get the feeling he hummed that tune on his way to brush his teeth in the morning.
Pop's baton has been passed, but Paul is on the sidelines to encourage the runners of the next leg.
"FourFiveSeconds" is a decent music video, and a clear message from three icons about the future of pop music.