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Rihanna ft. Young Jeezy - 'Hard'

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Fraser McAlpine | 12:44 UK time, Monday, 9 August 2010


"That Rihanna rain just won't let up"

Tell us about it, girlfriend! It's starting to seem like every month or so, there's a new jam from 'Rated R', or an astonishing collaboration from someone else's album starting to wander up the charts, all cocky, like it owns the place. As it rises, it tips a confident wink to its song-mates - 'Te Amo' to the left, 'Rude Boy' to the right, 'Russian Roulette' at the back - before leaving them behind and strolling, cool as you please, right the way up to the Top 10.

This song is already on its second go at it, even though it isn't officially 'released' released until next week.

And because Rihanna hits are stick-around hits, there can't have been many weeks in 2010 where our - what, Top 40? Top 30? Top 20? TOP 10!? - hasn't featured one of her songs. And she hasn't officially put out 'Rockstar 101' over here yet, and Slash is on that.

People love Slash. He's got a funny hat.

(Here's the video. It's dirty.)

Now, speaking of collaborators, what is the fascination with rappers and wheezing? Does it add a lot to your hip hop credentials if you sound like you stayed up all night gargling a hedgehog and a swallowed frog? Would it be a horrendous imposition to ask Johnny Hack-throat to have a good cough before lifting microphone to lips?

It's just hard to picture the creative impulse at work: you've got your singer and her production team, all pleased because they've constructed something utterly monolithic and scary out of the bass line to the Jackson's 'Can You Feel It'. The singer has just delivered her imperious vocal - half Queen Of All Things, half cat-calling street scamp - and everyone is sat rubbing their chins and trying to come up with a compelling *something* to stop the song from sagging at the two-thirds mark.

They need something stubbornly tough: clearly physically affected by bad things, but not giving much of a stuff about it. Sadly, nothing has quite fired their imaginations so far.

It's all getting a bit hot and tense, so Rihanna opens a window. From the street outside comes a conversation between two life-dried and raddled men, bragging about how much they can party before they collapse. It's more of a monologue, really. Actually, looking closely, they realise it's just one man talking into his shadow.

Soon the entire room is straining to hear how it ends. And suddenly, as if by magic, lightbulbs ping over everyone's heads at once.

"Call Jeezy!", someone yells, "actually, better text him. I can never understand a word he says..."

Moral: One day, even Michael Mcintyre will end up as the guest rapper on a R&B song.

Four starsDownload: Out now

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

PS: Spotify users, is this the worst musak-ed version of a song you've ever heard?

Pitchfork says: "The song does what it needs to do: It turns Rihanna back into a force of nature.."

Desi Hits says: "The track is described as a ska tune with strong percussion and hard beats."

The Singles Jukebox says: "Even with Jeezy's encouragement, her bravado doesn't convince."


  • Comment number 1.

    Has this song not already been realsed? Excuse my ignorance.

    Also I would love a rap by Micheal McIntyre..he is ace.

  • Comment number 2.

    I really could do without Rihanna at the moment.
    Most of the time, she just annoys me with her dreadfully monotone voice. The only time I've been able to cope with her voice was in 'Love The Way You Lie'

    I hope this is the last single, but knowing Rihanna, she'll release about 8/9 singles to really milk the album and we'll be praying for her to disappear, just like in the 'Good Girl Gone Bad' era (which really should have been called 'Bad Girl Gone Worse')

    If this is a four star song, then I'm Lady Gaga.

  • Comment number 3.

    P-P-P-Poker Face! Orly?

    Yeah, I'm not really feeling this song... it's not as instantly catchy as 'Rude Boy' or 'Te Amo', which never really floated my boat in the first place.

    And the chorus, which is the only redeeming quality, take foreverrrrr to get going. 3 stars.

    @ Courtney, yes it has released in America I think, and it's video got a bit of airplay over here and made it onto some radio stations resulting in it charting at... #44? I think it was #44-#40 or something like that.

  • Comment number 4.

    Personally, I loving the new Rihanna. She's actually evolved her music from Reggae/Danchall to girly Pop to R&B and now evolving her R&B by adding elements of Rock, Dubstep, Latin and Hip-Hip. A True Star.
    4 Stars.

  • Comment number 5.

    Agreed with Adam. I thought 'Good Girl Gone Bad' was a great pop album and 'Rated R' showed a huge growth in style and maturity. The album was a risk in my opinion. I'm not happy with the release of 'Hard' over here, it already got plenty of airplay back in February on the music channels so this just feels like a re-release and we all know how I feel about re-releases.

    Some of the best songs ('Fire Bomb', 'Cold Case Love' and 'The Last Song') are still stuck on 'Rated R' while tripe like 'Rockstar 101' and 'Wait Your Turn' (only a promo single I know) was released instead. No need to worry, Haducon, Rih won't be releasing anymore singles from the album as she's moving onto her fifth album which is supposedly out at the end of this year but I'm sure will be released next year instead.

    And I believe it's Beyoncé who releases 8/9 singles per album, re-issues her album about 5 times, stars in a film, releases random music videos, features on 4 other singles, stars in ad campaigns, makes random public appearances, promises to take a break and refuses to STAY AWAY! I like Beyoncé (boy do I like Beyoncé ;) ) but she needs to disappear a while.

  • Comment number 6.

    I think 'Why Don't You Love Me?' tops most things she's ever done. But hey, I love comedy.

    "Baby, you need to sit down... 'cause you must've bumped yo head".

    Brilliant. But yes it is random.


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