The Problem With... Rihanna's "S&M"
It's good to see that the love of my life, Rihanna, is still on the charts. At the tail end of last year, she showed up in a tame duet with Drake in "What's My Name" then ended the year appearing in the impressive Kanye track "All Of the Lights." But Ri just had to go whip me up again with a traumatic single "S&M".
How is this track traumatic? Well, because "S&M" takes me back to growing up in the '90s. And not the good parts.
Mostly, "S&M" brings to mind '90s Eurodance groups like La Bouche and SNAP! That stuff might have been good pop music, and it might have influenced a lot of good music along the way, but the simple fact that they're so easily associated with MTV's The Grind leaves a bad mark.
"What's The Grind?" you ask?
Well, kids, if you wanted to know the specific moment when MTV started to decline, it's about the time that stuff like this started appearing. That killed a few brain cells, didn't it? Now imagine a generation of kids exposed to that.
Even the video for "S&M" takes us back to the mid-'90s -- queasy fisheye shots, wide angles and all. Is this a Rihanna video? Or a Busta Rhymes video?
Lyrically, the song coasts on repeating tired verses. The line "The affliction of this feeling" doesn't roll off the tongue too well. "Affliction" sounds like Rihanna picked up a thesaurus and... sorry, I just pictured Ri as a librarian.
What's more about the video is the trope about musicians striking back at the hostile press.
Man, why does Ri have to make it out like that? I mean, I'm a music writer, and I love Rihanna. Then again, I wouldn't mind getting taped up to a wall like in the video.
Unfortunately, though, a track like"S&M" makes it that much harder to love Ri.
And I'm still not feeling the straight red hair either.