The Bottom Line
There are better songs on the album Good Girl Gone Bad, but "Shut Up and Drive" captures the spirit of summer just as well as Rihanna's first hit "Pon De Replay." That's not surprising since the songwriting/production team of Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers were primarily responsible for shaping both. There is an air of 80's pop nostalgia about the song that would make "Shut Up and Drive" fit perfectly with classics of that decade on a mix tape.
Listen to "Shut Up and Drive"
- Crunchy pop-metal guitars
- Fun, summer singalong atmosphere
- Sexy and sleek sportscar feel
- Pure fluff lyrically
- Begins with huge guitar power chords
- Settles into a buzzing, poppy bounce
- Rihanna's now familiar voice a constant throughout
Guide Review - Rihanna - Shut Up and Drive
2 years ago it was easy to suspect Rihanna might be a one-hit wonder. Her first single "Pon De Replay", with its peppy mix that focused more on the percussion than Rihanna's admittedly thin vocals, seemed destined to be a fun summer memory, but not really a song to build a career around. Now, with a series of distinctive top 5 hits, Rihanna has established herself as the most consistent pop hitmaker of the moment.
One of the big keys to her success is that every single has genuinely sounded different. Whether it's the moody drama of "Unfaithful," the peak hour dance heat of "SOS," or stately urban pop of the #1 smash "Umbrella," Rihanna's sound and style seem to be reinvented for every record. This time she follows on the heels of "Party Like a Rockstar," the smash rock and hip hop collaboration by Atlanta's Shop Boyz, with a roaring blend of hair metal guitars and 80's style synth effects.
The lyrics are pure fluff, and the vocals have the now familiar thin and reedy quality common to many of Rihanna's efforts. However, like any successful sports car, the look, feel, and speed of "Shut Up and Drive" pull you in despite the model's shortcomings. Tuck this one away on the iPod beside 80's classics like Pebble's "Mercedes Boy," Natalie Cole's "Pink Cadillac," and Aretha Franklin's "Freeway of Love" and head out for a hot summer drive.