Rihanna - Pon de Replay
As I mentioned three posts below, I've got the best technological setup of my life to date in terms of finding and acquiring new music as well as music videos. I started an account with the iTunes Music Store a couple weeks back and racked up more than a hundred bucks in download fees within the first 36 hours. I poked around the current charts and the celebrity playlists of a couple dozen A-, B- and C-list public figures and introduced myself to music new and old from across the spectrum.
And somehow the first song I purchased was "Pon de Replay" by Rihanna. I never deliberately listen to Top 40 radio anymore, so I'd never heard the song before. Now it seems like I'm hearing it like two times a day. I'll probably burn out quick - and, yeah, this is the kind of disposable novelty dance pop that'll leave Rihanna lumped in with Snap! and Ace of Base and Next in the annals of pop music history.
Right now, though, I like the song. The beat, vocals and constantly repeated, second-grade-reading-level hook ("Please Mr. DJ / Tell me if ya hear me / Turn the music up" - I mean, that doesn't even fucking rhyme!) all just kind of align into a perfect summer dance single.
You can tell Def Jam didn't want to waste a whole lot of money on the video. You know, just in case it wasn't an immediate surefire hit. Or maybe the song became an unexpected hit and they had to rush a video out. I should do my homework in this kind of situation, but come on - it's my second night back.
In any event, there's not much to the video. On a fairly constricted black soundstage, director X* creates a makeshift dance party, complete with Rihannon (wearing next to nothing and looking pretty goddamn hot) singing from a platform in the midst of it all, a DJ up in his booth, spinning light machines and some kind of weird white cubbyhole alcove no one ever decides to go into.
Shelf life will be short on this one, guaranteed. But while it lasts, this is just the kind of brainless July/August fun we can use when partying, working out, driving, etc. Catchy, catchy, catchy.
BEST SEQUENCE: Walking into the club with her friends, Rihannon is informed that the party has no energy because "the music is low." Rihannon looks into the camera and declares, showing off a sexy Caribbean accent, "I'll make him turn it up." Ten seconds later, Rihannon is twirling in the center of the dance floor, all by herself, and catching the DJ's eye, she jerks her finger up twice in the universal language for "turn up the fucking volume." The DJ, who looks stoned as all hell, nods and reaches down to his soundboard. The music in the video, however, remains at the same volume. Which might be why she spends the rest of the video singing the line, "turn the music up."
* = When reviewing videos where I don't have the director's name handy, I always just write down "X" and plug in the information later. But in this case, the director of the video's name actually is X. Kinda funny, in a dry, inside-joke sort of way.