Rihanna begins the R8 era with her most unexpected single yet…

After months of exciting rumors and torturous waiting, Rihanna has finally released the lead single from her upcoming eighth studio album. However, this isn’t the track everyone was expecting from her.

Featuring vocals from Kanye West, and instrumentals from Beatles legend Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds” is a stripped back pop track with country and folk influences. A departure from her signature pop/dance/r&b sound, Rihanna fans may be taken aback by her decision to release such a track, let alone make it the album’s lead single.

However, the track gives Rihanna the chance to prove herself in the vocal department like never before. Her voice feels raw and powerful alongside the production, which is kept simple, and to a minimum. Kanye also sounds great, getting the chance to sing both solo, and alongside Rihanna. The two have collaborated in the past on “All of the Lights” (2010).

The track is risky. Rihanna is primarily known for big, mainstream pop songs with memorable hooks and production, and “FourFiveSeconds” doesn’t exactly fit into that category. While the track isn’t terrible in any way, it doesn’t live up to the Rihanna standard that so many have become accustom to over the years.

With it being over two years since her last studio album (Unapologetic, 2012), it may have been wise for Rihanna to release something more expected and striking. Although, if any pop star has a chance of making a song like this a hit, the last ten years proves it’s Rihanna. Could this become her 14th #1 single in the United States?


Watch the music video for the track below: