The Bottom Line
After spending much of spring 2007 on top of the pop music world with her megahit "Umbrella," Rihanna tried on more of a rocker chick persona with the next single "Shut Up and Drive." Despite the sleek production, it stalled out just inside the top 10. Now Rihanna heads to the Stargate hit factory with Ne-Yo in tow. It sounds like a nearly guaranteed major hit.
- That easygoing Stargate sound
- Comfortable blend of Rihanna and Ne-Yo on vocals
- Almost too light
- Strummed guitar opening
- Soulful support vocals from Ne-Yo
- Singalong chorus
Guide Review - Rihanna featuring Ne-Yo - Hate That I Love You
Perhaps the most significant stroke of genius in Rihanna's music is the sense of never-ending variety. She has taken us from uptempo pop-reggae ("Pon De Replay") to 80's new wave fueled club banger ("S.O.S.") to a whiff of gothic horror in a love song ("Unfaithful") and on and on. That reedy warble of Rihanna's has become familiar, but it is impossible to pin down her style of song in a few words. Despite the fact that she has worked with Ne-Yo and Stargate in the past, "Hate That I Love You" is yet another new sound for a Rihanna single.
The best description for the song may be "Irreplaceable II." That strummed guitar sound is unmistakeable from the Beyonce smash. The good news is the sound is nearly as good as it was the first time around. You'll be singing along before you know it. There is nothing as memorable as "To the left," but the breezy, uncomplicated style is comforting.
"Hate That I Love You" certainly does not have the songwriting power of "Umbrella," possibly the most covered new song of the year. However, it should have more than enough hitmaking potential to give Rihanna her amazing 7th top 10 pop single in the space of 2 years.