Rihanna Just Changed my Life. Again.

Rihanna released the video for 'Work' on Vevo just over three hours ago, and I have so many feelings.

Rihanna at the launch announcement for ANTI

After the 30 second teaser clip she released at the weekend, I was even more keen to finally see what new music Rihanna had for us. Until now, I have been feeling left out of all the ANTI hype: I have neither Tidal nor iTunes, and Spotify is just not a thing in South Africa. All I had was this video of Elmo dancing to 'Work' while on the moon.

This official video was definitely worth the wait:

I loved it before it was even one minute in. The dancehall aesthetic is very early-2000s, calling to mind something by Allison Hinds or Sean Paul, and even Rihanna's own 'Pon de Replay'. In 'Work', Rihanna is, as always, her unapologetically confident, sexy and sensual self. It's beautiful to watch. Seeing Rihanna perform or even just looking at pictures of her in street style or attending events always makes me think "who am I, not to be bad like her?"
But I'm fangirling now. Back to the video.

Rihanna twerks her way around the room in a red, yellow, green and black mesh T-shirt dress with high slits that is made even more "quintessential Rih" by the replica of the flag of Barbados that she wears as a garter. It's too perfect.

The song's use of patois and the gritty drawl of Rihanna's voice over the beat (produced in part by Boi-1da) make it intriguing to listen to. Clearly, Rihanna meant for 'Work' to remind fans of her Bajan roots. (Not that the true stans need reminding, especially since Rihanna makes no secret about the pride she takes in her culture.)

The song is a definite floor-filler, and it makes me want to learn how to really dance. 'Work' also has a story: it is about two people who just can't seem to get it together and carry on a stable relationship. They both have very different ideas: she wants stability and substance, he is really only interested in the booty.

The "he" in this instance is Drake, who is really the only male collaborator that Rihanna should work with. 'Take Care' and 'What's My Name?' are still solid tracks, and it's clear that the two have great chemistry whenever they work together.
In this video, Drake is seen admiring Rihanna's moves, first from afar and then at a much closer distance. Whenever the camera closes in on the two, you can almost hear the fire crackling. It's easy to see why 'AubRih' shippers on the internet will not rest until Rihanna and Drake announce that they are an official couple...

I would have been content with the "two beautiful strangers hit it off at a dancehall party" storyline, but Rihanna puts in a lot more work than that. After the dancehall scenes, the song begins again, this time showing the two stars alone in a deliciously moody pink and blue room. Rihanna looks back over her shoulder as she dances for Drake. Naturally, he is unable to take his eyes off of her.

I don't know why the song needed two videos, but I am definitely not complaining. I prefer the first version, but of course I will be playing the 8-minute video on a loop this whole week.
I cannot wait to hear (and see) the rest of ANTI.


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