Track 3: “We Found Love” feat. Calvin Harris
Sounds Like: The most popular song in America, apparently. Like Loud‘s lead single “Only Girl (In the World),” Rihanna went the Euro dance-pop route for Talk That Talk‘s first transmission, even going so far as to enlist the help of UK super-producer/songwriter Calvin Harris (and giving him the featured-artist credit he so richly deserves). Harris takes her deeper into the clubs than she’s ever been—even compared to “Only Girl” and 2007′s “Don’t Stop the Music,” neither of which were songs that would be often described as “restrained,” “We Found Love” is complete release, totally giving of mind, body and spirit over to the spirit of dance music. The video helps.
Pros: The main hook is divine, and the escalating synth-alarm build-up that ends up exploding into that unforgettable riff is the best reason to throw your hands in the air as if you did not fear the consequences that we’ve heard so far this year. Meanwhile, Rihanna meets Calvin’s instrumental exuberance without hesitation, and some of the song’s finest moments come even before the pre-chorus build up, with Rihanna ecstatically rhapsodizing “It’s the way I’m feeling, I just can’t deny.” Again—the video helps.
Cons: The one thing holding the song back from being one of Rihanna’s finest moments—a single to match “Umbrella,” “S.O.S.” and “Disturbia” and to absolutely kick the crap out of “Rude Boy” and “Only Girl”—is the chorus. “We found love in a hopeless place” is just kind of a weird statement, one that cries out for further elaboration, but Rihanna’s not giving—the lyric is the chorus entire, and nothing in the verses shines any further light on it. It’s still celebratory-sounding enough that you can sort of get the idea if you divest yourself from the actual words, but it makes for kind of a hollow singalong.
Hard “R” Lyric: Actually, despite the craziness of the video, the lyrics here are innocent enough for even the 13 and unders. “Turn away cause I need you more / Feel the heartbeat in my mind,” feels uncomfortably intense, possibly.
Single-Worthy?: Nah, it’ll never sell.