Rihanna’s song “Diamonds” is from Unapologetic – the moth-girl’s seventh studio album ( by Rick Rubin’s Def Jam Recordings).

This album has some smanging guest vocals from Chris Brown (on “Nobody’s Business”.) We like to think that forgiveness has always been part of the business for Rihanna. It’s in her nature. It’s like her nocturnal lifestyle. She learnt the value of grace from her Grandma Dolly – and she learnt to forgive her father for all the things that he did to her in her childhood. She grew out of that.

Rihanna revealed during an interview with GQ’s “Men of the Year” that she wanted the music [on Unapologetic ] to be uplifting – saying “I want to make music that’s hopeful […] Nothing corny or super-sentimental. I just want it to have the feeling that brings you out of whatever you’re going through. I want it to spark that fire. I want it to be real, authentic, and raw.”


So, the first half of the pop album was set aside for EDM. Dubstep is a big influence on these tracks. Unapologetic’s ballad-oriented second half incorporates disco, reggae, and rock style.

The dance tracks seem to celebrate the hedonism and extreme partying sphere of her flitting existence. The slower tracks seem to explore a dysfunctional love life.

But Diamonds is a mid-tempo ballad that is stuck between the two ends of the playing field. It incorporates electronic, soul and pop. The song starts with spinning moth-eggs of sound. Then, set against thin sheets of silk, the rising vocals flap like lacy wafers into the dance-hall air.

The song was co-written by Australian singer-songwriter Sia Furler (“Titanium” with DJ David Guetta and “Wild Ones” with rapper Flo Rida), in collaboration with Benjamin “Benny Blanco” Levin ( Maroon 5’s “Moves like Jagger” and Ke$ha’s “Die Young”) and Norwegian production team StarGate – Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen- (“Irreplaceable” by Beyonce); the production was completed by the latter two.

Soothing keyboards prelude a sucky-teeth vocal that seems to seep out of Rihanna’s fruity gitchies. A throbbing beat looms from some fuzzy, moist corner. The fabric of the song is built up charmingly, with small strokes of effective voice. These seem like pointillism for the ear. The principle Sampo of this song is babyish: The “Shine bright like a diamond”  lyric ( not ‘ Shine bright like Vagina … as some have misheard it) is about as guileless as a ‘Friendship is Magic’ vibe . Some may hate it. Others may cling to it. But it’s charming. It’s baby powder and sparkle.

And if this was meant as a note to her boy – then we should like to remind her that diamonds do not shine, (they reflect).  And that means, dear one,  that your other half is mirroring your own love back. We are sorry to reveal this to you – but they are not transmitting their own rays.  So the “I choose to be happy” lyric is a bit worrying … because we cannot force someone to shine their love on us,  can we RiRi?

You may be able to discover contentment as you spasmodically loop the artificial lights in ever decreasing circles … But they won’t ever make you feel like you ‘Shine’.  Just a thought.

-© Neil_Mach January 2013-