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Track Review

If you were crazy enough to think of asking yourself the hypothetical question, "I wonder what Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney might sound like if they all made a song together?" I doubt you'd come up with the answer this unlikely trio has given on "FourFiveSeconds."

Oh, I suppose Rihanna's voice is kinda recognizable on this lead single from her eighth studio album. And perhaps Kanye's is, too. (As for Sir Paul, the Beatle who co-wrote the song lurks unassumingly in the musical background playing guitar.)

Still, just because you might recognize a voice or two doesn't mean you'll comprehend the sounds they're making. Because this is unlike anything any of them has ever done before. There's no rap. No throbbing club beats or 808s. No anthemic retro-pop harmonies. No shiny electro sheen dripping with steamy, smoldering sensuality. This is not the kind of song that's going to be thumping out of people's subwoofers and rattling loose plastic panels in their cars. Instead, Rihanna's plaintive vocals showcase a stripped-down acoustic offering that sounds like a hybrid of folk, rock, gospel and country. It's something you might expect from Natalie Maines, Emmylou Harris or maybe John Mellencamp on a languid day.

Lyrically, the song seeks out angst and the nearest party as Rihanna and Kanye yearn for the weekend. "I think I've had enough," she begins. "I might get a little drunk." And in the chorus, she reiterates that she's on the verge of cutting loose ("Now I'm four, five seconds from wildin'/And we got three more days 'til Friday"). Said "wildin'" sounds as if it might last the entire weekend, just so you know ("I'm just tryna make it back home by Monday morning"). Maybe it'll even land them in a cage (Rihanna sings, "I say what's on my mind, I might do a little time," while Kanye adds, "If I go to jail tonight, promise you'll pay my bail").

But just when you think "FourFiveSeconds" might morph into a straight-up party song, it gets tempered by lines more subdued and confessional. We hear the regretful, "All of my kindness is taken for weakness." And it seems Rihanna knows she's behaving badly ("I know that you're up tonight/Thinkin' how could I be so selfish?/But you called 'bout a thousand times wondering where I been/ ... Thinkin' how could I be so reckless?") even if she can't quite bring herself to say sorry to her frustrated beau.

It's a truly not-true-to-form musical adventure for Rihanna, that's for sure. Still not positive. But certainly not Rated R.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

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Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range







Peaked at No. 4.

Record Label

Westbury Road,Roc Nation




January 24, 2015

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

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