It's like Rihanna has to prove something. We know she can do serious, and sexy, and frightening, and strong, and addicted. But now, in one of her less controversial music videos post-Chris Brown, she really wants to remind us that she can dance. And Rihanna can dance if she wants to. Hell, she can even look frighteningly like Diana Ross if she wants to. However, "Where Have You Been," RiRi's second Calvin Harris collaboration and third single from Talk That Talk, had so much visual potential, it's a shame "Where Have You Been" has gone to her waist.
The lyrics, along with Harris' production, begged for a more controversial creative treatment -- something like more drugs, sex and torment like "We Found Love" -- but, instead, it walks the path of least resistance. We get multiple sequences of Rihanna dancing and little else, since her slithering in a lake like a man-eating snake does little more than prove she can do The Worm.
Even if Rihanna can dance, which she can, she doesn't need to prove it -- at this point in her career, it's an expectation that, as someone who releases dance-pop music, she can, you know, dance. It comes with the territory. What Rihanna needs to prove is that her art has substance and that she and her team can come up with more creative ideas than film references -- she did Clockwork Orange for "You Da One" and now she's doing Anaconda and Apocalypto. For once, she should just do Rihanna -- drug-addled, love-hungry, "We Found Love" Rihanna. Storyline, that's what we want. We don't care where Dance Rihanna has been, that's where she should stay -- at least for another few videos anyways.
Perfect Timing: Calvin Harris has also been working with Cheryl Cole -- you may remember her from her brief stint as a judge before Nicole Scherzinger filled in on The X Factor USA last year. The music video for the lead single from her third album, A Million Lights, also dropped this week.
Marijuana Deals Near You
"Call My Name" is more poppy than Rihanna's "Where Have You Been." It's also distinctively Calvin Harris. What's interesting, though, is that the "Call My Name" music video is also dominantly dance-based. So Rihanna, take note: If you're going to do a choreography-heavy video, it needs to commit fully to the steps, forgetting about storyline, or lack thereof, entirely.
"Call My Name" doesn't have a point at all -- Cole dances around with some guys she meets in a waterway, then she drives her BMW around, looking all sexy like. No message, just moves and some well-placed eyes at the camera. That's all, and that's all it needs to be -- Dance-Pop 101.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music