Rihanna releases catchy, irritating track


Danny Licht, culture editor

From Nov. 30 print edition

In “Diamonds,” Rihanna’s Billboard-topping song from her latest album, “Unapologetic,” the singer and her cast of writers and producers fashion a catchy, familiar tune that, owing to its merciless repetition, drags on longer than it should.

Its motif, the simile “like a diamond,” is overused until it becomes trite and meaningless and repetitive. Sia Furler, the song’s lyricist, borrowed clichéd comparisons — beauty and diamonds, radiance and diamonds — and ruthlessly hurls them at the listener.

At the start of the song, Furler juxtaposes three thoughts — “Find light in the beautiful sea / I choose to be happy / You and I, you and I / We’re like diamonds in the sky” — in what seems like an at- tempt to feign poetic depth. (“I choose to be happy, too!” the line begs the listener to respond.) This malarkey is just outside the realm of substance — it has everything but that — so it is powerful enough to trick the listener into falling into its trap.

But to be totally fair, the song fulfills each of its vacuous pop-song duties: its lyrics are memorable, its beat is repeatable, its singer is notable. And if iTunes, Billboard and KIIS-FM are indicators of financial success — and they are — then I applaud Rihanna and her cast. Their success is repetitive, just like diamonds in the sky.

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