Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Single and Music Video Review: Rihanna - American Oxygen

Rihanna has long been accused by YouTube commenters as being one of the leading figures in the stereotype that pop stars are generic label-directed puppets. With the American Oxygen, Rihanna has finally spoken up, and seamlessly and effortlessly delivered the most artistically genuine piece of work she has ever made. Not only does she look beautiful, but she made a beautiful statement and body of work.

The Stay hitmaker takes shots at American society and how it proclaims greatness atop a history of destruction and oppression. With scenes from the death of Martin Luther King Jr., to 9/11, the Occupy Wall Street protests and Hurricane Katrina, Rihanna shows the despair and cruelties that are swept under the rug for the advancements of patriotism. As a non-American herself, her view as an outsider that has become a staple of American pop culture makes her points seem even more valid.

With all the brutal imagery that she lays out in the first few minutes, she does seem to point towards hope at the end. With images of what appears to be the next generation or the "new America," Rihanna seems to be asking the next generation of American's to do great things, and live up to the patriotic notion that 'America is the greatest nation on earth.' The United States talks that the talk, but it needs to walk the walk.

The song itself is fairly simple melodically and production-wise, which seems to be a characteristic of the "new Rihanna." With 4 5 Seconds and Bitch Better Have My Money straying far from the radio-friendly-electro-pop formula she has been using since her debut, Rihanna is really tapping into her potential. That being said, while she is using more of her potential, it's clear from the video that this was not the end of her prowess. The statements made in American Oxygen feel like they could say more and use more development, she can still more brash and thoughtful with the next album, or the newest material we see from her.

Music Video: 9.5/10
Song: 8.5/10

Watch the video here.