The Bottom Line
"Rude Boy" would have been a fantastic first single from Rihanna's album Rated R. It is the most directly engaging song out of the entire collection. However, that icy feel from the project is wearing thin. Rihanna sounds like she has taken a few steps back to distance herself from the whole song. There is a pleasing swagger, but we're never quite engaged.
- Rihanna's swagger
- Touch of Rihanna's Caribbean roots
- Static, icy feel
- Written by Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Ester Dean, Makeba Riddick, Rob Swire, Robyn Fenty
- Produced by Stargate and Rob Swire
- Released February 2010 by Def Jam
Guide Review - Rihanna - "Rude Boy"
There is talent to spare in the team that helped put together Rihanna's "Rude Boy" single. She continues her fruitful collaboration with the songwriting and production team Stargate. In addition, drum and bass master Rob Swire of the band Pendulum helped write and produce. Upcoming singer and rapper Ester Dean also gets a songwriting credit. Perhaps it is the abundance of talent working on one song that resulted in something that sounds like it was put together by a committee. The whole seems less than the sum of the parts.
However, there are things to like here. Rihanna's swagger taunting the boy, "Boy can you get it up?" has appeal. She projects a dominant female image that is exactly what was needed to move past the unfortunate Chris Brown chapter in her career. There is also a nice touch of steel drum in the production that gives that Caribbean feel reminding everyone of Rihanna's Barbados heritage. The accompanying colorful video is the best visual feast from Rihanna in some time.
"Rude Boy" is already a 14th top 10 hit from Rihanna. It is the most instantly engaging song from the album Rated R. However, a hint that there may be something fun going on here could have carried the song into the company of the best of Rihanna's work thus far. As it stands, "Rude Boy" is an icy, distant groove that you can sing along to, but it's unlikely to make you smile.