Single Review: Rihanna – ‘Only Girl (In The World)’

Okay, so I’ve explained why hype can be good and bad enough for it to have it’s own cliché status by now, but then again, that was hype generated by the populist consumer and media. There is another form of hype that’s even more dangerous play about with, and that is hype that is generated by the artist themselves.

Rihanna, upon releasing her fifth studio album, the recently christened ‘Loud’, said that the contents of it is “something Katy, Ke$ha and GaGa can’t do”; something that was avant garde and “unpredicted” and “not generic”. This of course, built huge anticipation for the lead single, ‘Only Girl (In The World)’.

Now, if you ask me, Rihanna’s last album was sub-par, and the only half-decent song was ‘Russian Roulette’, which got tedious because it was so slow and had goat-y vocals, yet received a huge airplay push, and was nearly as inescapable as ‘Empire State Of Mind’ (both of them), so thank you, Midwest Radio and your snobbishly limited playlist. I think I speak for everyone when I say the darkly-themed album was wrung too tightly with it’s six multi-territorial singles. Promotional or not, she was being far too exposed with the wrong material.

So the statement I quoted earlier did excite me a little bit, I won’t lie, but when I heard the song was produced by David Guetta, my fireworks fizzled out. Avante garde? Unpredictable? With David Guetta? Are you joking? Rihanna, you’re basically doing jumping on the Guetta bandwagon and tootling along like you invented him, ignoring the fact that all your peers and co-singers have already used him this year and last – Kelly Rowland, Black Eyed Peas, Kelis, Flo Rida, and Akon to name a few. There’s something very generic in that.

But upon listening to the song, it’s nice to hear a clearer melody than something that could easily pass of as another rehash of ‘I Gotta Feeling’, but David’s thumping beat is as recognisable as ever, although, I will commend him for that build up to the chorus, I like the fact he’s used drums that aren’t necessarily his trademark four-on-the-floor beat.

However, the first line of the song leaves a lot to be desired – “I want you to love/Like I’m a hot pie”, really Miss. Fenty? What kind? Don’t leave us hanging like this! We must know before we try it out or it could be something rubbish like MOOSE pie!*. But to counter her little mis-steps, and the fact that my fireworks were well and truly put out when the song débuted, Rihanna has finally learnt to sing without a peg on her nose, and blasts out in the bridge and chorus more-so than she has done recently. Well done, and let the goat-y voice be gone for a very long time**. She sounds flirty, and very ‘girly’ on this record, which is probably a huge two fingers up to those who said she was going all serious and being a bit of a gloom and doom songstress that sucked the fun out of everything on her last album.

Sporting her newly died fiery red hair, Rihanna’s prancing around in a meadow full of flowers with some balloons to keep her company, whilst she scratches an itch (or itches a scratch?) on her bum with a large bush.

Well, she certainly is the only girl in this video.

It’s probably the best David Guetta production I’ve heard this year, and I like the huge riff Rihanna provides with clear, powerhouse vocals. It might not be “avant garde”, “unpredictable”, or “something Katy, Ke$ha, and GaGa can’t do”, but who cares? After Rihanna’s recent singles have drained all my liking for her, this is a brilliant return to form.

Rating: 4.0 STARS

Download: October 25, 2010 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘Loud’

*Odds are it’s not a moose pie.

**Preferably forever.

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