First of all, “We Found Love” isn’t really much of a pop song.
While Rihanna‘s synth-laden singles like “Don’t Stop The Music,” “Only Girl (In The World)” and “Who’s That Chick?”, her collaboration with DJ David Guetta, provided a pop-friendly preview of RiRi tripping the light fantastic, “We Found Love” is a full-on Euro-friendly House production that would fit in seamlessly on the sweat-soaked dance floors of Ibiza.
Steering away from Norwegian duo Stargate–the hit-makers responsible for much of the success behind the Rated R and LOUD era–Rihanna’s latest was crafted by UK dance sensation, Calvin Harris (“Ready For The Weekend,” “Bounce”). And much like his other productions for leading pop ladies (Kylie Minogue‘s “In My Arms”; Sophie Ellis-Bextor‘s “Off & On”), “We Found Love” is a 3-minute explosion of glittering, euphoric synthesizers and pulsating club rhythms–all with a distinct electro-Caribbean gloss.
The song’s structure too is strictly a hands-aloft dance affair, featuring several major rave-happy breakdowns a la Afrojack‘s dance floor destroyer “Take Over Control (feat. Eva Simons)” or LMFAO‘s radio-slaying “Party Rock Anthem,” as well as repeat-heavy lyricism that makes the original play like one almighty remix. (Can you even begin to imagine the quality of the remixes?)
Production aside, RiRi truly makes “We Found Love” hers, as she always does, with her vocals. But far from most of the songs that earned the Bajan beauty her crown within pop royalty, there’s not even a lick of the bossy ‘tude of “Hard,” nor a hint of the rough ‘n’ rowdy “Rude Boy” RiRi.
Instead she simply sings–highlighting not only her heaven-sent upper register, but the song’s gorgeous lyrics: “Yellow diamonds in the light and we’re standing side by side / As your shadow crosses mine, what it takes to come alive,” she sweetly croons with all the sincerity and innocence of–as Calvin Harris accurately described–an angel.
While the song is much more in the vein of the celebratory dance-pop of LOUD than the moody noir of Rated R, “We Found Love” still signals a musical (and sure enough in weeks to come, a visual) shift for Rihanna–an artist who’s consistently proven herself capable of skillfully reinventing herself in a way not seen since Madonna.
As for that Rihanna reign letting up anytime soon?
Well, the odds of that happening are even less likely than getting hit by a satellite this evening.
“We Found Love” was released on September 22. (iTunes)