It feels like Rihanna’s had a rebirth. She certainly didn’t lose any popularity during her dark Rated R period, but it feels good to have this cute, sexy, flirtatious Rihanna back at the wheel.
What’s My Name? continues the fun and girly vibe that Only Girl In The World introduced, but with a rather low-key hook. You’d be right to be sceptical at first – how can constant repetition of the song title make this a good song? Well, repetition is the key here. Within minutes it’s drilled into your head. That and it has Rihanna singing with quite a strong accent, which is wonderful to hear.
We’ve not been fans of rent-a-rapper collaborations here on Shout, but Drake’s more than cameo appearance adds a touch of erotic charge. He delivers a smooth rap with some brilliant seductive cues, like “the only thing we have on is the radio”. And his brief scene with Rihanna in the video sparkles with attraction. But who isn’t attracted to the Barbados-born stunner?
I think the key thing about this tune is that it avoids the sounds that have become a little cliche this year. Now that everybody’s woken up and stopped trying to be arty like Lady GaGa, they can develop their own identites again. And I think that’s what’s happening with Rihanna here – even the tinny beat might be considered a weakness elsewhere, but on What’s My Name it’s a strength. It feels a little rough, less over-produced. Combined with Rihanna’s unique phrasing, it’s a fun, playful track.
The video’s a major improvement on the Only Girl video. Nice to see our heroine strutting about the streets of (what looks like) New York looking sexy doing the odd twirl or stretch for the cameras. It’s good to have you back girl.