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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Review: Yeezus, Sir Paul, RiRi team up, underwhelm

    Westbury+Road%26%23160%3BPaul+McCartney%2C+Rihanna+and+Kanye+West+on+the+cover++art+for+their+new+single%2C+FourFiveSeconds.+Despite+the+various+talents++between+them%2C+the+new+song+is+lackluster.

    Westbury Road 

    Paul McCartney, Rihanna and Kanye West on the cover art for their new single, “FourFiveSeconds.” Despite the various talents between them, the new song is lackluster.

    When a legend collaborates with two of the biggest contemporary stars, the expectations are accordingly set high. However, the intergenerational collaboration, “FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney, doesn’t fulfill these expectations.

    McCartney and West had recently collaborated on the brilliant, soulful piece “Only One.” This second release, featuring Barbados-born pop star Rihanna, is disappointingly trite. The country-tinged acoustic-pop track “FourFiveSeconds” is a genre-connecting song and combines current motifs with minimal instrumentation. The stripped-down lyrics are split between West and Rihanna, with McCartney accompanying the duo on the acoustic guitar.

    Next to West and McCartney, credit for the song is, amongst others, given to Ty Dolla $ign and Dave Longstreth of Dirty Projectors. Apparently, the song is to appear on Rihanna’s next record. The song’s lyrics paint a picture of an unsatisfactory everyday life, broken up only by alcohol-fueled weekend adventures that could possibly end in jail. Thus, the acoustic ballad falls in line with modern motifs. After all, for some time now, we have had pop stars telling us to forget our boring and exhausting lives and let loose with booze.

     West’s singing voice is surprisingly sturdy and doesn’t need autotune, while Rihanna’s vocal talent can be fully used for once. She sings about her good-heartedness being mistaken for weakness, but her vulnerability is paired with tenseness caused by the annoying people that surround her. Her next weekend adventure seems too far away when she sings “we got three more days ’til Friday.”

    Rihanna’s bittersweet “come at me” attitude is met by a seemingly misunderstood West singing about his own problems of everyday life. He “woke up an optimist,” but his attitude gives way to his short temper when he realizes that someone was “talkin’ trash” about him.

    West premiered this song at the iHeartMedia Music Summit in California from his laptop last Wednesday, reportedly fleeing the scene to standing ovations afterwards. Admittedly, it is refreshing to see West and Rihanna collaborate with living legend McCartney and deliver such a boldly different song. However, considering the talent in this equation, one would have wished for the collaboration to have a little more depth in lyric and melody than this demo-style bonfire singsong. The production seems sloppy and, overall, pretty flat. The highlight of the song is its soft, yet intense, use of organ à la Sam Cooke or — surprise — The Beatles, which, sadly, is the only hint of McCartney’s involvement.

    While it’s no secret that West is confident, “FourFiveSeconds” verifies again just how uninterested he is with confining himself to one genre. The song shows him bold enough to sing and forego autotune. It confirms West’s eagerness to experiment and makes it hard to imagine him returning to the strict confines of his The College Dropout-era, purist, soul/hip-hop roots. The song’s black and white cover art shows the jeans-clad trio staring intently at the camera with serious expressions. 

    “FourFiveSeconds” lives off its vulnerability and, despite it lacking in depth, is worth a listen.

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    Follow Caren Badtke on Twitter.

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