As a writer, it is very difficult to find anything to say about Rihanna that hasn’t been said already. Whether you love her or hate her, nearly everybody has an opinion on her. For better or for worse, it is often not the music itself that attracts attention to her, and controversy tends to follow her around like an overly-enthusiastic car salesman. Perhaps this is just part of the parcel when you happen to be one of the biggest pop stars in the world. So what of her latest offering, Where Have You Been?
Well to kick off, nobody can speak of a new Rihanna single without mentioning the video. Comparatively, this one is pretty dry. Don’t get me wrong, she still wears so few clothes in it that any responsible mother would warn her that she’d catch her death if she didn’t wrap up more warmly. However, that aside, it’s fairly uncontroversial. There are no whips or chains and at no point is she tied up, beaten or even abused. Instead, the video starts with her crawling out of a swamp like a hippo on an intense mission (a very aesthetically pleasing hippo at that though). From there, proceedings pretty much degenerate into a perplexing tribal dance routine and a few minutes later the song is over. As videos go it is not bad, but with a Rihanna video you can’t help but want for something that will enrage grumpy Daily Mail readers within the content, and this is sadly lacking here.
As for the song itself it is another of Rihanna’s dance numbers. It is listenable enough but doesn’t really contain any noteworthy hooks or “sit up and listen” moments. It is also quite difficult to make out a clear-cut chorus in this number too, which for a pop song tends to be something of a cardinal sin. In this case, the song doesn’t suffer much from the absence of a big chorus, but one would have been nice nevertheless.
Overall this song is not one of Rihanna’s best. ‘Where Have You Been?’ never threatens the prior brilliance of Disturbia or Russian Roulette, but in my view is certainly a better effort than the ultimately unbearable Umbrella. It is one of those songs that the casual listener is unlikely to remember, but not one that anyone will be banging their head against a brick wall to try and forget.
Worth a listen? I’d say yes, but don’t expect it to blow you away.