The Bottom Line
Rihanna has made a welcome shift in direction on "Diamonds," the first single from her upcoming seventh studio album. The tempo is slowed and the lyrics are those of a simple, straightforward love song. It is instantly catchy, but the overall effect is of something rushed and not quite finished. By the time the song ends, the repetitive nature of the hook causes the welcome to wear thin.
- Sounds different from other Rihanna songs
- Full-throated Rihanna vocals
- Sounds unfinished
- Overdone repetition
- Written by Sia
- Produced by Stargate and Benny Blanco
- Released September 2012 by Def Jam
Guide Review - Rihanna - "diamonds"
For the fourth year in a row, Rihanna will release a new album in November. This pace is well ahead of that of any other of today's major pop artists. "Diamonds" is the first single from the 2012 project which will be her seventh album overall. A drawback to this rapid release schedule is that Rihanna's songs are beginning to sound unfinished and rushed. A catchy hook is fleshed out with throwaway lyrics or repetition that quickly wears thin.
"Diamonds" has elements that hint at what the record could have become with more polishing. Rihanna's full-throated vocals stretch the sound of the recording in a more timeless pop direction. The concept of, "We're beautiful like diamonds in the sky" by the songwriter Sia echoes the success and soaring feel of her other recent pop hit contributions on "Titanium" and "Wild Ones." However, the repeated "Shine bright like a diamond," while at first hypnotic, becomes annoying when listening to the song multiple times. The final almost two minutes of the song, aside from a brief a capella break, sounds like the idea well has run dry so the song's hook must simply be repeated over and over.
"Diamonds" stands a good chance of becoming yet another top 10 pop hit for Rihanna. However, it is the weakest of her album lead singles lacking the powerfully arresting feel of such recent lead singles as "We Found Love," "Only Girl (In the World)," and "Russian Roulette." The most obvious strength of Rihanna's music has been her refusal to endlessly repeat the same sound and formula. She continues to explore new directions here, which makes the record distinctly a Rihanna release, but more time should have been spent fleshing out and polishing "Diamonds." It is a song that goes down easy, but unfortunately it never truly shines.