Rihanna - 'Te Amo'
Say what you like about Ms Fenty and her apparent lack of an easily-understood public persona, but as anyone who was at Big Weekend will attest, she can SURE put on a unique show.
I mean to say...Look at this! Just LOOK at it! There are dancers in German WWII helmets - with WWI spikes coming out of the top - dancing about and carrying pink rifles. And that's just the first song. Pink rifles though! It's like war, only for girls!
As for the music, well, she's stripped out the icy robotic central nervous system of her songs and replaced it with a hot-blooded, meaty rock band, including Nuno Bettencourt on widdy-widdly guitar. I know!
(Here's the video. 'Te Amo' is around the 12 minute mark.)
WHO-no Bettencourt, you ask? Well, way back in the lost rock hinterland between Motley Crue and Nirvana, when metal wasn't metal unless it came dressed like an S&M poodle with clown fetish, there was a band called Extreme. They weren't particularly: extreme, that is. But they did have this one song called 'More Than Words' which was a pretty acoustic ballad, in an Everly Brothers style (srsly, I can't keep explaining all these references, look 'em up). A tad rambly in the lyrics, perhaps, but a big hit nonetheless.
Anyway, their guitarist was Nuno Bettencourt. He wore black nail varnish, had long flicky hair, and could do widdly-widdly guitar until the first rays of the morning sun. Someone even made a Nuno Bettencourt signature guitar, a mint condition of which would probably be worth literally POUNDS these days.
20 years on, he's STILL wearing the black nail varnish, still has the flicky hair, still plays the widdly-widd, but instead of being in a second string rock band, he's blowing minds on a nightly basis with Rihanna. Which HAS to be considered a massive stroke of good luck on his part.
She, after all, has the songs (and the fans). Hell, he even gets to play Spanish widdly-widdly guitar on this mournful tale of doomed love across gender AND language barriers. A song which manages the rare feat of beating Extreme's best song in both emotional impact and lyrical silliness.
It's that old, old story: Girl meets girl. Girl speaks different language to girl. Girl loves girl. Girl doesn't love girl. Girl sad. Girl sad. We've all been there, right? And Rihanna's captured that feeling beautifully (she actually has, even though I sound incredibly insincere about it).
That's got to be better than trotting out a fistful of damp funk rock to a not-getting-any-younger crowd who just want to hear Their Song so they can smooch, right?*
Digital Spy says: "Rihanna's taking a well-deserved break from titillating the blokes here."
Tiny Mix Tapes says: "An Ibizian bit of sapphic role-playing"
Unreality Shout says: "['Te Amo'] takes her back to her origins but still sticks to her new and modern sounds."
* Yesyesyes, Nuno fans, I know he's done other things since Extreme.