Rihanna is at a career crossroads now. Her singles are no longer immediate hits, and she is no longer the new girl on the block. Her album Anti was supposed to be released by the end of the year to take advantage of Christmas sales. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
The Los Angeles Times describes how frustrating the wait for Rihanna’s Anti has been.
“The wait for the pop diva’s long gestating album, ‘Anti,’ has become frustrating enough to be laughable. Despite releasing a handful of new songs and teasing collaborators, the singer has remained impressively tight-lipped about specifics.”
Rihanna’s album campaign started off well at the beginning of 2015 with the hit “FourFiveSeconds,” a duet with Paul McCartney and Kanye West. That song hit the top five but became the first time a brand new single from Rihanna hadn’t hit number one in years.
Then, things got worse as Rihanna’s “new album” kept getting delayed. She released her next single “B***h Better Have My Money,” which received mixed reviews. After the song performed poorly on the charts, Rihanna released a video that helped it hit the top 15. However, the video received mixed reviews. The Guardian detailed the fallout.
“Depending on which commentator or social media spat you choose, the video – viewed 12 million times since its release – is either an empowering challenge to music industry stereotypes or a racist and gory piece of misogyny.”
The Guardian went on to note that a headline of one site read, “Not Safe for Work or Feminists,” while Twitter users said Rihanna was glorifying violence against women. There were also a lot of people on Twitter who thought Rihanna’s video was racist.
Rihanna also released “American Oxygen,” a song that became her lowest charting song on Billboard’s Hot 100 to date by only peaking at No. 78. A lot of people liked the song but blame the failure on the fact that it was launched on Tidal, Jay-Z’s much-maligned streaming service. Many people compared Rihanna’s new song to Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” but it obviously didn’t have the same impact.
The pop music world loves to pop out big stars and then flush them down the toilet. Lady Gaga learned this when she released ARTPOP in 2013, although she could easily make a comeback in 2016. Remember Iggy Azalea? One year ago, she was one of the most successful pop stars on the planet. Now, she has become one of the biggest jokes, although some may say it’s not deserved. Remember when Kelly Clarkson was the hottest voice on the radio? In 2015, her album Piece by Piece debuted at the top of the charts but fell into oblivion almost immediately afterwards.
Rihanna’s new album campaign could be helped my major appearances. According to the Daily Mirror, Rihanna could perform with Beyoncé and Coldplay at the 2016 Super Bowl.
“After landing the biggest gig of their careers – the Super Bowl half-time slot – Coldplay are determined to fix you the best show yet. And the Brit rockers are calling on Rihanna and Beyonce to help out. 3am can reveal frontman Chris Martin, 38, is in advanced talks with RiRi, 27, and Beyonce, 34.”
Since Coldplay will be running the show, Rihanna most likely won’t be able to debut a new single at the big event, which would lead to a lot of sales and airplay. However, let’s hope that Rihanna’s new music can stand on its own just by being good and reminding listeners why they loved Rihanna in the first place.
[Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]