Rihanna is haunted by demons in the artfully shot video for “What Now.” The two-sided mirror she speaks of in the first verse seems to actually be her own emotional issues. The good side, in white, keeps getting taken over by her dark side.
It’s a compelling video and a testament to Rihanna’s star power that her face and performance are so mesmerizing that she keeps you glued to the screen. There are a few cutaways to animals and insects during the bridge when it appears that some sort of exorcism or emotional breakdown is happening (that and the shaky cam give it away), but this video relies almost solely on Rihanna’s charisma. And that’s saying something. She talks about making the video here.
Plus it shows how easy it is to change the narrative. This could have been a straight-ahead video about a complicated love story, but instead she turns it into something much more complicated and menacing.
The song is a intriguing ballad and deserved to be a single earlier in “Unapologetic’s” life, but her mega-ballad “Stay” probably kept that from happening.