Play, pause, rewind, and play again.
It’s going to take at least a second listen before the campfire sounding track -featuring Kanye West and Paul McCartney- off of Rihanna’s new album really sinks in that this is indeed them.
Probably one of the more radical tracks released from the pop queen, FourFiveSeconds is a stripped down, vocally centered track that sounds like it would be played a t a local church outing rather than in a stadium full of screaming fans.
LISTEn to “FourFiveSix” below:
There’s echoes of organs in the background and McCartney’s guitar playing calls to an earlier generation of lawn chilling hippies that juxtaposed Rihanna’s other leaked single, World Peace, promises the most eclectic album from the singer in years.
While FourFiveSeconds may be one of Rihanna’s slowest, most sway inducing tracks, it is also, ironically, one of her biggest party songs from a lyrical perspective.
The entire song is about leaving the anxieties and tribulations of the weekly grind behind when Friday finally arrives. It’s about living out those three weekend days as if they were Earth’s last, creating reckless memories and not apologizing for wanting to have fun.
“And I know that you’re out tonight/thinking how could I be so selfish/but you cop out a thousand times/wondering where I’ve been,” she sings during one of the rawer moments of the song. “Now I know that you’re out tonight/thinking how could I be so reckless/but I just can’t apologize/I hope you can understand.”
It’s one of the more powerful moments during the song, which is saying quite a bit since the entire track is stripped down and nude. It’s one of Rihanna’s more courageous moments in the studio, letting the upbeat and fast paced tempo of EDM backing slip away into the background and letting her untouched vocals shine through.
All of which is made that much better by an unusually quiet Kanye West. The rapper’s usual bravado is kept at bay and instead he’s willing to show off his vocal range and sentimental side.
This coming, of course, just three weeks after he dropped his first single of the year that also featured Paul McCartney, Only One.
LISTEN to Kanye West’s “Only One” below:
It may not be a chart topping hit or even one of the singer’s most memorable tracks when looking back at her discography, but it is a bold statement about her new found level of maturity that I’m personally looking forward to seeing explored further on this album and in the future.