Katy Perry has her “Firework,” Nicki Minaj has her “Starships” and now Rihanna has her “Diamonds.”
On her sparkly new Stargate-produced single, she revels in the love she’s found and how together, she and her man, “are beautiful like diamonds in the sky" as they see "eye to eye." It may be her most optimistic single since "Umbrella."
At this point, Rihanna has become a hit factory, predictably churning out an album every fall, from which a handful of singles tumble out. There’s a consistently there that is admirable, but more so, she and her phalanx of producers have kept up a level of quality and diversity.
“Diamonds” is bolstered by a military beat that builds and the refrain “Shine bright like a diamond,” that Rihanna robotically sings between the choruses. There’s no rapping, only Rihanna singing against the drum beat. Her voice remains limited, but effectively expresses the hope that she feels in the relationship. Toward the end, her delivery of the refrain breaks free to soar over the other elements in the song, effectively ending the song on an upbeat note.
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Stargate’s production is the star of the song. From a light piano and drum start, the production team consistently starts slowly adding in other layers, never overwhelming Rihanna’s voice as they build. The drum beat becomes more insistent, the backing vocals increase and Rihanna sings full out and then it just ends....as if a star has suddenly gone out.
“Diamonds,” the first single from her forthcoming studio album out later this year, doesn’t have a particularly catchy chorus, but it’s striking in its construction.
What do you think?