52: Rihanna feat. Drake – Work

What is one to do on a bus during the Wednesday lunch run other than, a few weeks back, listen to Rihanna‘s return on BBC Radio 1? Merely through curiosity and a desire to while away the time, I tuned in to hear Scott Mills hit play on ‘Work,’ featuring Drake, and end up in what seemed to be a puddle of indifference three-and-a-bit minutes later. Having Rihanna, pop goddess, mumbling her way through incoherent lyrics atop a melody that even a child that hadn’t been born last time she released a record could have mastered seemed like an odd way to finally introduce us to the world of Anti, the most chaotic and delayed album launch until Kanye finally did some shit (and decided to make it last what feels like an entire lifetime).

It’s that simplicity that has really made ‘Work’ grow on me tremendously ever since. Perhaps I was foolish to expect a ‘Pon De Replay’ or ‘We Found Love’ type of scenario, as Rihanna’s apparent maturation as an artist and a human being ever since always suggested Anti would be a bit different. Honestly, I only listened to it because I nabbed a free download from Tidal. Even then, I only pressed play because Madeon said ‘James Joint’ was great and the vaguest sliver of Tame Impala‘s presence was bound to be stunning.

Though I still don’t quite understand any element of what makes Drake so universally acclaimed – more on that if and when he joins the Great 2016 Party of Botched Album Launches on Tidal with Views From The 6 – it all comes together smoothly. Thanks to the incredibly sparse non-vocal elements, ‘Work’ pivots solely around Rihanna, and Anti is certainly her show. Drizzle McDizzle comes in only after a harmonic duplication of Riri in the thirtieth chorus to do his normal singy thing before just dropping into an authentic monotone for a trio of glorious rapped lines. What this babble is trying to say is that ‘Work’ may initially seem like a repetitive squib of moderate moistness, yet if you put in the effort to endure with it (and listen to it, as I do now, at 1:30am) then life will start to explain itself.

And then push a Tidal free trial onto you.

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