Sunday, May 26, 2024

Music Video Thunderdome: Rihanna

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Let’s face it. Certain things aren’t terribly happy right now and many of us have had several parts of our life come screeching to a halt. While we could do some deep dive praxis analytical scope of the socio-economic effects of the shutdown, well, everything sucks and we want to have some fun for a little bit. To that end, we’re going to spend the next several days doing a top-five ranking of our favorite music artists’ music videos. But, there can be only five, which means we’re gonna have to kill some darlings. Today’s artist is Rihanna, so the choosening was particularly painful. Below are our top five music videos for RiRi. Let us know in the comments if you agree with us, or tell us what your own top five Rihanna list looks like!

Bitch Better Have My Money (EXPLICIT VERSION)*

I love everything about this video. From its bonkers premise and hilarious behind the scenes anecdotes to “BBHMM’s” real-life inspiration, this is Rihanna owning herself and her power in its best, most undiluted form. Need I say more than I am high key here for all of this?

American Oxygen

I know, talk about a tonal shift. That said, it’s still a fantastic video. Here Rihanna takes a more somber note, juxtaposing white Americana and its more Norman Rockwell-ish prosperity with riots, pollution, and Black and other PoC racial injustices that either have happened or are currently happening… and the solidarity these groups show as they come together all as she croons a refrain: We are the New America.

Disturbia

I will never not love Rihanna’s embracement of camp and dark cabaret out of a seemingly genuine love of the art forms. Her video for “Disturbia” is one of the perfect showcasings of the aesthetic. Also, the song is just a bop, and the music fits perfectly.

We Found Love

Contrasting a wildly upbeat dance number, the music video starts with a British woman’s lament of a lost, albeit toxic love. Then queue the Rihanna rhythm and Calvin Harris’ pulsing beats laid over an exploration of a troubled, doomed young romance that never had a chance.

S&M

I mentioned I love how Rihanna wholeheartedly braces an aesthetic, right? The symbolism in this video alone, as she’s saran-wrapped against the wall of a press conference like she’s an object, only to contrast that the reporters themselves are all strapped into ball gags? *Chef’s Kiss* Rihanna embraces many visceral and in your face aesthetics in her videos, but her commentary is always pointed, and well thought out.

Honorable Mentions: Rude Boy, Umbrella, Man Down

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