It took me an unconscionably long time to listen to Rihanna’s Rated R (and, given my slow pace of blogging of late, even longer to write about it); unconscionable because it’s such a great record, a development of some of the best features of Rihanna’s earlier records. Luckily, the forthcoming release of “Te Amo” gives me an excuse for finishing this half-written post.
It may have taken me so long to get round to this because, for reasons I no longer understand, I wasn’t that impressed with “Russian Roulette” when I first heard it. I think to get it I needed to hear it in the context of some of the other tracks on the album. It was coming across the marvelously bizarre video for “Hard” on MTV that got me to look again at the album. “Hard” encapsulates the theme that is explored throughout the album: objectification as self-preservation, feminine superficiality as a kind of cold armor with which to avoid the pain which comes from interiority. Read more↴