With “Diamonds” still shining brightly on the Billboard Hot 100, Rihanna’s label has chosen “Stay” as the second pop single from “Unapologetic.”

The quiet, plaintive ballad caused a ripple when she debuted the tune on “Saturday Night Live” in November, bolstered by her stark performance.

[More after the jump...]


“Stay,” which features Mikky Ekko and was co-written/co-produced by Ekko, Elof Loelv and Justin Parker,  is a good choice for several reasons:

*“Stay,” shows off Rihanna’s softer side and for an artist who sometimes seems like she’s all hard edges and blunt attitude, it’s a nice change of pace.

*It’s been a hot minute since Rihanna’s had a hit with a romantic ballad. IDJ tried with “California King Bed,” as the fifth single from 2010’s “Loud,” but the song peaked at No. 37. “Stay” has the makings of a “Take A Bow,” which reached No. 1 or “Unfaithful,” which peaked at No. 6.

* “Stay” focuses on Rihanna’s voice. And for an artist who can sometimes get lost the busy production and arrangement of her own songs, the stripped-down piano ballad is a good reminder that she can sing. 

*The track will fit in well in concert. Rihanna performed “Stay” several nights during her “777” tour (seven shows in seven countries in seven days) and the song received a strong reception each time and was a good break from the relentless dance beats.

The track goes to pop, adult contemporary, adult pop and rhythmic radio formats on Jan. 28, according to Billboard. “Pour It Up,” also from “Unapologetic,” will be worked at R&B/Hip-hop stations at the same time.

What do you think of “Stay?”