A Closer Look At Rihanna’s ‘#R8’ Album Era — What Is Going Wrong?

Bianca Gracie | May 1, 2015 6:30 am


On January 24, Rihanna dropped her first single “FourFiveSeconds” — which features Paul McCartney and Kanye West. The guitar-laden, folk-inspired downtempo was totally unexpected from the singer, who usually stays within the pop and R&B realms — and the change translated on the charts. The tune debuted at No. 54 on the Hot 100 in its first week, and peaked at the fourth slot in its fourth week. It also had a blockbuster first day on radio, with an impression of 11.226 million. Currently, “FourFiveSeconds” is currently sitting pretty at No. 26. But my problem with the song is obviously not its fairly great chart positions or its sound (which is completely subjective). The issue arises from Rihanna’s carelessness.

This trio of artists has an insane amount of talent and cultural impact, so it was a definite shocker when the folky tune did not continue to make strong waves. Ever since its release three months ago, the song seemed to have vanished into a dark abyss. Not even the bland black + white video and a Grammy performance could save it. Once the song dropped, the Bad Gal failed to keep giving “FourFiveSeconds” life and simply moved on to the next song. If Rihanna has forgotten about the tune, then why should we as listeners care?

“Bitch Better Have My Money”

This next tune was released almost two months after “FourFiveSeconds,” and I’m still confused as to whether it’s the official second single or not. If you kept up with our Pop Perspective of “Bitch Better Have My Money,” then you’ll know that I’m nowhere near a fan of it:

“The tune is meant to be a rugged, thug-nasty track but it just falls flat. From the overly high-pitched vocals, the weak bassline to the try-hard lyrics (‘Shit, your wife in the backseat of my brand new foreign car/Don’t act like you forgot/I call the shots, shots, shots’), ‘BBHMM’ doesn’t pack enough punch that we know the popstress can bring. She is no stranger to this game, after all.”

Fast forward to a month later, and my feelings have remained the same! Rihanna is no stranger to shit-talking bangers (Rated R’s “Wait Your Turn” and “Hard,” Talk That Talk’s “Cockiness (Love It)” and Unapologetic’s “Phresh Off The Runway” and “Pour It Up“), but this one does not compare. But as stated before, my taste is subjective. Let’s discuss the stats instead!

“BBHMM” dropped on March 26 and debuted at the No. 23 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, and guess what — it is now stuck at No. 22! Rihanna tried to promote the song during the iHeartRadio Music Awards, but even that did not wow me due to the phoned-in dancing segment. Many seemed to agree with me, as the performance failed to push the “single” further up the charts. It’s sad when the two remixes released of “BBHMM” so far (check out the ones from Krs and P. Morris) are better than the original song! If the singer’s team was smart, they would have unveiled an accompanying video to help boost sales and interest. But what have they decided to do instead? Drop yet another song just three weeks later…