(above and two below) from the video single, "Shut Up and Drive"
Ever since I was a teenager in the mid '60s in Bergen County, NJ, I've followed the course of pop and R&B singles with great interest. Dance-pop sensation Rihanna is one of the best of the newest crop, and has a nice automotive-based single workin' for her, "Shut Up and Drive." You might have seen her perform it at the most recent VMA's. In the tradition, it's got some very nice double-entendre content and a hella engaging beat.
"I've been looking for a driver who's qualified
So if you think that you're the one, step into my ride
I'm a fine-tuned supersonic speed machine
With a sunroof top and a gangsta lean
"So if you feel me let me know, know, know
Come on now what you waiting for, for for
My engine's ready to explode, explode, explode
So start me up and watch me go, go, go
"Goes from 0 to 60 in three point five
Baby, you got the keys
Now shut up and drive
(drive, drive, drive)
"Got you where you wanna go if you know what I mean
Got a ride that's smoother than a limousine
Can you handle the curves? Can you run all the lights?
If you can, baby boy, then we can go all night
"I got class like a '57 Cadillac
Got all the drive but a whole lot of boom in the back
You look like you can handle what's under the hood
You keep saying that, you will boy, I wish you would"
The video single itself has gotten quite a bit of attention thanks to YouTube and other viral marketing sensations. It premiered in June of this year, directed by Anthony Mandler, from the album Good Girl Gone Bad. It was shot on location in Prague, Czech Republic.
Rihanna most recently was the opening act on Akon's tour. A rather revealing review of their show (a bit snarky about her, but admiring of Akon, and then putting the two in context, at this point in their careers) at GM Place in Vancouver, on September 15 appears at http://www.rihannaweb.org/2007/09/20/akon-shows-rihanna-how-it-s-done.html.
Rihanna was born in Saint Michael, Barbados. Jay-Z signed her to Def Jam Records. She cites Alicia Keys, Beyonce Knowles, and her Caribbean background as major musical influences. Good Girl Gone Bad (released in June) is her third album, and its title, according to the singer, reflects her growth beyond synthesized Caribbean rhythms combined with basic urban-pop beats. "Bad means cool, bad means funky, bad means having an attitude, bad means being edgy. This is who I am now and where I am in my career."
Most reviewers have given the album high marks, one calling it "first-rate dance-pop, stacked with potential singles and enjoyable from beginning to end." Thus, as I say, solidly in the tradition going back decades, yielding yet another automotive-based hit--yes, as catchy as "Rocket 88" in 1951 or "I Get Around" in 1964. You go, girl. So let's step inside and ride, ride, ride.