Rihanna and Kanye West are no strangers to controversy. That’s why it makes perfect sense for the pair to release the sublime “FourFiveSeconds.”
The song works on many levels, from the understated production, the compelling lyrics, to the song’s main attraction: Rihanna. She delivers one of her best vocal performances, fully living within the song world she built with Kanye West and Sir Paul McCartney. “Just trying to make it back home by Monday morning,” she sings on the chorus. “I swear I wish somebody would tell me, that’s all I want,” she concludes. With so many people outraged over her relationship choices and her not being the role model they demand her to be, “Seconds” is Rihanna at her most sincere.
Kanye West opens his verse by singing, sans-Auto Tune, “I woke up an optimist,” before the world cruelly reminds him of his status. On “FourFiveSeconds” the trio try a little tenderness, try to recapture that optimism. While they succeed in that regard, they make the more crucial distinction that they’ve had enough of your shit. Luckily, they’ll keep on playing anyway.