Rihanna's upcoming eighth studio album ANTI has been subject to tons of false starts, with the lack of a hit single being the rumored blame. So today (January 27), we got what RiRi is proudly calling the first single. She (read: her label) must finally be pleased with the product. So are we, to be honest. The track is called "Work," and it's all things catchy and cute. Oh yeah, and Drake is in the mix. So yeah, #catchy and #cute.
"Work" is one of those cuts where everything a very specific population of Rihanna's fanbase loves is present. The previously assumed lead single "B***h Better Have My Money" was a hot one, but the international appeal was limited. "American Oxygen" had the same problem, it's "American" (writer/editor note: I loved the s**t out of that song, I'm just saying). "Work" is different. It has all of the Bajan vibes present, where Rihanna gingerly saunters into a Caribbean-sprinkled sound (not unlike her earliest "Pon De Replay" beginnings, only way more fresh...with way less effort), punctuating it with some synths and her knack for repetition ("Work, work, work" is the hook, kind of like "Rude boy boy" on her track "Rude Boy"). "Work" is a break from what we have been used to from the Rihanna of these past two years, but let's be honest, that Rihanna wasn't moving consistent units.
So it was back to the drawing board, returning to a sound with the heavy scent of familiarity. The results thus far have been positive. Cut to a short while back when DJ Akademiks played a snippet of this song, and the Internets blew up, then Roc Nation cut the cord. Somebody knew something was brewing. Now, with Rihanna hinting that once again ANTI will be dropping surprisingly on a Friday (perhaps this upcoming one: January 29) and armed with a favorable single, she can finally have the best accessory to accompany her wold tour. Obviously, a Drake guest appearance helped that cause.
The Drizz is on his pensive cutie tip, dropping more hints on how he's secretly in love with Rihanna still (it's a nice break from his hints about secretly being in love with Nicki Minaj, though she's probably old hat now because of that Meek Mill mess). He traipses in like, "Hey girl, it's me, Aubrey. I said 'Aubrey' and not 'Drake,' because you know the real me." OK, he doesn't say ALL that, but you can tell immediately by his pillow talk that's what the sentiment is here. Add to that lines like "If you had a twin, I would still choose you" and it's like all of the feels. The track is conveniently produced by Boi-1da as well. "I spilled all of my emotions tonight, I'm sorry," Drake says.
So yes, "Work" is quintessential everybody on the track. It's comfortable, but it's still good. Perhaps Rihanna's attempt to take a few hard lefts with her sound shook her global fanbase, but this feels like a more proper ease in. Plus, at least we know now that she's been 'work'-ing this whole time. Check out a rip of the track over at Pitchfork. The real one is available on TIDAL.