« Previous | Main | Next »

Rihanna - 'Only Girl (In The World)'

Post categories:

Fraser McAlpine | 09:44 UK time, Saturday, 23 October 2010


Did anyone else have to suppress an involuntary shudder on first hearing this song? Did it worry anyone? Was anyone else's immediate reaction to wonder where we are going with this imperious pop music thing, and exactly how much haughty, snarling distain you can cram into on three-minute pop song without it causing gas embolisms among the weak-hearted and poorly? I know mine was.

It's not the fault of this song alone, but for some reason, recend developments in popular sound have pushed the humble pop song into scarily intense areas, and the long term health effects have yet to be fully explored. I mean listen to the pneumatic hiss at the heart of this song. Try and endure the pumping thrust without getting winded. There is simply too much pressure being stuffed into our ears, with too much brutal force. Heads are going to blow, you mark my words.

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

And poor Rihanna doesn't sound like she's having a barrel of laughs either. She's all wailing and crying about how she'd like to be treated by her fella, and demanding that anyone who wishes to take the job on be aware of this. She's basically acting the Rapunzel, saying she definitely won't let down her hair to just anyone. And particularly not someone who isn't prepared to make the climb up to her scarily high window. She is very clear on this point.

So why, if the song wants to make us sad and the sound wants to blow us up, does this sound leave such a positive impression? Why is this preposterously dramatic noise something we choose to expose ourselves to on a regular basis, to the extent that we want it on while we're shoppping, while we're travelling, and even while we're celebrating wonderful news?

Well, possibly it's because pop music is supposed to act as a combined face-slap and back-rub. Its job is to electrify and support. This song is imperious and aloof, but it's sung passionately and its message is timeless.

And anyway, whatever else you may think about Rihanna, she is very good at demanding that you listen to what she has to say, even if she has to hurt you in order to do it.

Four starsDownload: Out now

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

The Man Crush Blog says: "All she does is twirl around, play with balloons and explore this red-tinted alien world of hers"

Hot On Internet says: "Sounds better and better every time we hear it."

Common Sense Media says: "The singer's vocals are also particularly strong in this song, finding her belting her heart out in the refrain, especially. "


  • Comment number 1.

    I can't get excited about this song. It will obviously be huge because it's by Rihanna, but with all the bigging-up of this song prior to it's first play, I was expecting something amazing. Instead, it's just a fairly standard dance-pop 'club banger'. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not even the catchiest of such songs. The chorus is pretty good though, and very 'instant', which is important. But I just can't shake the feeling of 'heard it all before'.

    3/5 from me

  • Comment number 2.


    3 stars from me, too.

  • Comment number 3.

    I was initially very disappointed with this. It's very generic and a very safe lead single. However, it does sound good in a club and Rihanna's is really singing her heart out on the track. I also really enjoy the video - it's scenic and it's good to see a playful smiling Rihanna as opposed to her usual icy, unapproachable, modelesque look she sports in videos. 3 STARS

    I also really enjoy both videos for her David Guetta collaboration 'Who's That Chick'. Anyone else seen them?

  • Comment number 4.

    The chorus is a real winner and will ensure top 3 success .
    Great vocal performance by our Robyn .
    That's Robyn Fenty , not the gorgeous Swedish , Body Talk , sex , siren .

    Heaven knows , why Miss Fenty's record company decided to release this , the same week as Cheryl Cole's lead single ?

    Did they not do their research and realise that Cheryl's last lead single , Fight For This Love , sold over 280,000 copies ?

    Whose idea was it to put this song against Promise This ?

  • Comment number 5.

    The people who knew it was an infinitely better song?

  • Comment number 6.

    I doubt Rihanna's marketing team bothered to look into a Cheryl when they choose the release date for Only Girl because, correct me if I'm wrong, I don't believe Cheryl's solo career so far has had much of an impact in the States. So if she's barely touched the charts in the States why would Rihanna's marketing team bother looking at some random British woman who used to be in a girl band.

    Also Rihanna's X Factor performance next week will probably give her the no.1 once Promise This begins to fall down the charts.

  • Comment number 7.

    harrythedog10 makes a good point; but you still can't deny Chezza's got a hold on the country.

    Personally, for me this a miles-better song. I like the build up in the chorus, and I like the fact that she's making a girly dance song to stick two fingers up to the people who jumped on her bandwagon with Rated R, thinking she'd gone cool and serious and whatever. I wasn't keen on Rihanna until now to be honest. I think her voice has seriously improved and she seems to show signs of being an artist, rather than a puppet. She reminds me of Aaliyah, though she hasn't reached her standard yet.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hopefully, Rihanna can beat Cheryl Cole on sunday becuase like MozFoz said, I wasn't keen on Rihanna till now, which is kind of like me really. I thought Te Amo was a bit naf and Rude Boy was average. 'Loud' is going to be a MASSIVE hit.
    4 Stars

  • Comment number 9.

    i agree with massive - definitely a 4 star song.. really works when the beat joins in midway through the chorus... only problem is I feel a bit peculiar singing this outloud...

  • Comment number 10.

    Why ? You are a gorgeous looking girl Flat !

  • Comment number 11.

    I love this song its not overtly original i know but it's well suited to rihanna and the bridge where she sings let me make you rise is such a guilty plesure i so wanted this to be number 1 but that cheryl cole who has a career solely of the back of x factor is also releasing her song which is a blatant rip off of bang bang bang aimed at those who think x factor is cutting edge but well done rihanna cannot wait for loud.

  • Comment number 12.

    Actually a good-looking man. ;)

  • Comment number 13.

    I thought you were talking 'bout me.

  • Comment number 14.

    unfortunately im a dude - and im getting serious deja-vu over this topic..

  • Comment number 15.


  • Comment number 16.

    " Unfortunately I'm a dude "

    Quick Doctor , here is an obvious need for gender re-assignment surgery !


  • Comment number 17.

    Thank goodness she's back to her better self :D
    I couldn't take much more of the rated r style of rihanna.
    This song is soo good, love it!

  • Comment number 18.

    With this now at no.1 on Itunes and with the X Factor performances to night expect to see Rihanna at no.1 next sunday.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.