Rihanna’s “Work” Featuring Drake Isn’t The Banger We Were Hoping For: Listen
Exactly one year ago, Rihanna‘s collaboration with Kanye West and Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds,” was released. So was that technically the lead single from RiRi’s forever-delayed album ANTI, or is it the light and breezy “Work”? And are we just brushing those other two post-“FourFiveSeconds” singles released early last year under the carpet and pretending they never happened? Oh, who knows.
What we do know is that ANTI could possibly, finally drop this week and “Work,” produced by Boi-1da, made its debut at 8 a.m. EST this morning on London and New York radio. If you tuned in, or already headed to iTunes — or, um, TIDAL? — to listen to or download the song, then you know that Rihanna seems to be practicing a minimalist approach to lyrical content these days. In fact, parts of her work-work-work-wrrnh-W????? refrain seem downright unintelligible.
Musically, the track is a charming, if also somewhat sparse, affair that feels like it blew in on a tropical, warm June wind and nestled up beside our ears. In fact, the instrumentation is like the friendlier, more upbeat cousin of Rihanna’s darker Drake collab from five years ago, “What’s My Name” — though that one had much, much more bite.
And speaking of Drizzy, as always, he compliments Rihanna nicely, knowing when to take a backseat and simply mimic the theme at play. I’m just not sure he was given much to really, um, work with here. (That said, the song took eight writers to concoct. See the full credits here.)
To be completely honest, after this long without Rihanna in our lives, we were all likely expecting her to return with a colossal bang. Alas, “Work” just feels a bit like a slight pop. Maybe it’s a grower?