Anyone thinking Rihanna was going to play it safe with the lead single from her next album- yes, another one is coming already- will be shocked by her new song Diamonds.
Rihanna called the Sia penned track "hippy" and "happy" and though that might be the case lyrically (it's a love song after all); musically, it has a surprisingly sombre mood. The production, provided by Benny Blanco, sounds simple and understated but it's a multi layered affair, with elements weaving in and out as the song progresses- my favourite being the Arabesque strings. Ultimately it offers a soft contrast to Rihanna's direct tone.
After you get over how different this sounds to any of Rihanna's other lead singles, the next thing you'll probably notice is the improvement in the vocal department (bar that annoying, repeated line "shine bright like a diamond" spoken over the chorus). There are strong midrange belts to be found littered throughout the song, and as it closes Rihanna impressively pushes her voice more; stretching up into her upper belt and indulging in a little vocal gymnastics. Her vibrato has also been improved somewhat, being spaced out better to eliminate that...well, goat like bleat that many dislike. Diamonds definitely features one of Rihanna's strongest vocal moments to date.
Despite the good things about Diamonds, overall it's just missing something to make it "single" material- a strong visual may just remedy that. It's a nice enough song, but with no massive hook, or power production, I'm just not sure it was the right fit for Rihanna's voice, improved as it is.
Either that or my turnip heart is just too vegetated to connect with the romantic sentiments of the song and its true beauty has gone way over my head. What do you guys think? Hit or miss?