STOP ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.
Tonight, “Princess of China”–Coldplay‘s hotly anticipated collaboration with Princess Rihanna as featured on their upcoming fifth studio album, Mylo Xyloto–has finally surfaced.
And now, here’s the thing…it’s INCREDIBLE. Like, thoroughly so.
Much like Coldplay’s 2008 collaboration with Kylie Minogue, “Lhuna,” “Princess of China” takes the song’s leading pop diva and places her completely out of her own element–musically, that is. The song itself is nothing even close to the radio-friendly Stargate-crafted booty jams that RiRi churns out on the regular: Instead, “Princess of China” drifts along on a hazy mixture of lush, dreamy synthesizers and a progressive stomping beat that come together to form something as fantastically strange and mystical as an ancient Mayan ritual anthem.
In some ways, “Princess of China” is the indie-rock response to RiRi’s stormy 2010 duet with Eminem (“Love The Way You Lie”)–but this time, the heartbreak’s being dealt against the sound of a thousand blaring, bleary synthesizers.
“Once upon a time we fell apart / You’re holding in your hands the two halves of my heart,” Coldplay lead Chris Martin sings during the fairy tale gone terribly wrong. Soon the song’s searing synthesizers drown into the speakers, making way for Rihanna to tell her side of the story. “I could have been a princess, you’d be a king / Could have had a castle and worn a ring / But no, you let me go,” the Bajan beauty fires back.
But it’s one shiver-inducing lyric that remains most poignant as the two singers sadly, almost deliriously sing-song in unison: “You stole my star.”
Vocally, Rihanna has never sounded better than in this moment: From the opening battle chant to the woeful cries on repeat during the tale’s agonizing close (“’cause you really hurt me”), Rihanna’s rarely displayed such versatility in a single song. It’s a testament to her (underrated) range, as well as another sign that RiRi’s still got plenty to offer in terms of emotional depth far beyond her own masterpiece, 2009’s Rated R.
“Princess of China” delivers a painful blow–a stunning victory for all parties involved, and easily one of the year’s best tracks.
Mylo Xyloto will be released on October 24. (iTunes)