It would have been very easy for her to phone it in and crank out another dancefloor slammer that without a doubt would have hurried up the charts in no time. But Rihanna defies the burden of expectation and decided to do things differently. She teamed up with her old pals of Stargate, Benny Blanco and singer/songwriter Sia to craft something a little more unexpected, yet still extremely potent.
It's the very first piano chord of "Diamonds" that captures the bittersweet sentiment that lingers throughout the track. The glowing M83-ish opening leads straight into Rihanna's singing bit that highlights a vocal inflection we haven't heard from the singer before. I wouldn't be surprised if Sia (who wrote the song's melody) was in the studio with the pop star and coached her to give that memorable "shine bright like a diamond" a bit of a quirky delivery to help anchor the chorus. Following the opening, the song further develops into a shimmering mid-tempo ballad that is a proper piece of pop euphoria (or "vision of ecstasy" if you will) from start to finish.
"Diamonds" doesn't have that jaw-dropping element of surprise like "We Found Love" did when it first premiered on radio about a year ago. Rihanna's teaming with Calvin Harris was a marriage made in dance-pop heaven and blazed a trail for many others to follow. Plus, that brilliant line, "we found love in a hopeless place," conveyed everything the track was all about and made it a pop classic.
But regardless of Rihanna's past accomplishments, this new "Diamonds" is an incredibly well-crafted pop gem that introduces another exciting phase in Rihanna's ever-evolving career. Refusing to take a well-deserved vacation, Rihanna is tireless and simply unstoppable if she keeps serving up tracks like this. Also kudos to her team for keeping this single so tightly under wraps and serving it to radio in a very well-orchestrated campaign while making it available on iTunes around the world the second it was first played on radio. It's an impressive execution all around. (Download Rihanna "Diamonds" on iTunes.)
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