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“FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna & Kanye West & Paul McCartney

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“FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna & Kanye West & Paul McCartney


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“FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna & Kanye West & Paul McCartney


     
 

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    “FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney (official video) is a pop song.

    Song Title: FourFiveSeconds (official video)
    Artist: Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney
    Genre: pop, urban, R&B, rhythmic, adult pop
    Composer: Copyright © 2014 Kanye West, Paul McCartney, Kirby Lauryen, Mike Dean, Tyrone Griffin (Ty Dolla Sign), Dave Longstreth, Dallas Austin, Elon Rutberg, Noah Goldstein
    Lead Vocals: Rihanna, Kanye West
    Acoustic Guitar: Paul McCartney
    Organ: Paul McCartney
    Director: Inez and Vinoodh
    Producer: Kanye West
    Recorded: 2014 Mexico
    Released: 24 January 2015
    Format: CD single, digital download
    Label: Westbury Road / Roc Nation
    Number of listens: 19015
    Current rank: 193 (updated weekly)
    Highest rank: 193 (play the video all the way through to register a vote for this song)

Translations courtesy of Apple and Google.

 
     

    Summary quotation from Wikipedia:

    “FourFiveSeconds” is a song recorded by Barbadian singer Rihanna, American rapper Kanye West, and English musician Paul McCartney for Rihanna’s upcoming eighth studio album. It was written by West, McCartney, Kirby Lauryen, Mike Dean, Ty Dolla Sign, Dave Longstreth, Dallas Austin, Elon Rutberg, and Noah Goldstein. Previewed by West at the iHeartMedia Music Summit on January 21, 2015, it was posted on Rihanna’s official website on January 24. The same day the song was released as the lead single from her upcoming album being made available for digital download via the iTunes Store. “FourFiveSeconds” is a pop song with country and folk music influences and an instrumentation consisting of an acoustic guitar, organ and cello.

    “FourFiveSeconds” received critical acclaim from music critics, who praised Rihanna’s and West’s new direction, their vocals, and the song’s minimalistic production. Upon its release the song peaked at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Internationally, the song reached number one in Australia and the top five in Canada, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The song’s accompanying music video was directed by Dutch photographer duo Inez and Vinoodh in New York City. Shot in black-and-white, it was met with positive reviews from critics who commended the video’s simplicity and compared it to the works of Herb Ritts and Xavier Dolan. Rihanna, McCartney and West performed “FourFiveSeconds” for the first time at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards on February 8, 2015.

Background and release

    On January 21, 2015, Kanye West made a surprise appearance at the iHeartMedia Music Summit, where he spoke about his career, sang a few songs, and concluded with a collaboration with Rihanna that “featured acoustic guitar and a big, soaring chorus and melody with a massive hook. He then slammed his laptop shut and walked offstage to a standing ovation”. Earlier, on January 2, recording artist and producer Ty Dolla Sign gave an interview to Billboard magazine where it revealed that he, West, Rihanna and Paul McCartney worked on a track together, which was yet to receive its final title.

    On January 24, Rihanna posted the song on her official website, Rihannanow.com and wrote on her Twitter account, “First Glimpse At My New Music!!!” The song titled “FourFiveSeconds” was released as the lead single from Rihanna’s upcoming eighth studio album being made available for digital download on January 24 via the iTunes Store. It was written by West, McCartney, Kirby Lauryen, Mike Dean, Ty Dolla Sign, Dave Longstreth, Dallas Austin, Elon Rutberg and Noah Goldstein. On February 8 during his Grammy Awards red carpet interview, West explained how the collaboration came to fruition, “I’m executive producer of Rihanna’s album, and I said I’d done a few songs with Paul McCartney and she couldn’t get past this record. She had to have it on her album… So now we at the Grammys doing it.”

    West further compared Rihanna’s vocals and energy of her voice on the song to the one of Scottish singer Annie Lennox, “I feel like she has this type of energy in her vocals. And she even brought it to another level of like soul and heart and artistry.” Although it is a first collaboration by the trio, they have separately collaborated together. West and McCartney had collaborated on the 2014 single, “Only One”, a track dedicated to West’s daughter North. Rihanna and West have previously collaborated on Jay-Z’s 2009 single “Run This Town”—which became a commercial success and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart—and West’s 2011 single “All of the Lights”, a track which featured a backing vocals sang by John Legend, Fergie and Elton John.

Composition and lyrical interpretation

    “FourFiveSeconds” is a “country-tinged” acoustic and “stripped down” pop song with a folk feel and a length of three minutes and eight seconds. “FourFiveSeconds” features a simple instrumentation consisting of only an acoustic guitar and organ, while it’s also accompanied by a cello in the background. Instead of being rapped, West’s lines are sung, while McCartney only plays the instruments. Billboard’s Jocelyn Vena stated that the sound of the single represents a departure from the material present on Rihanna’s 2012 studio album, Unapologetic. Hugh Mclntyre of Forbes agreed with Vena who also stated that it “is a complete departure for both Rihanna and Kanye West, though it does fit McCartney’s style”. Lanre Bakare of The Guardian called the song an “acoustic ballad” and agreed that the song is a departure from Rihanna and West’s previous collaborations. Alex Frank of Vogue magazine described “FourFiveSeconds” as an unplugged version of Rihanna’s 2011 single “We Found Love”, without the dance beats, present on her previous singles.

    Lyrically, it “express emotions ranging from the flip to the resigned”. Sharan Shetty of Slate stated that the song is about “heartbreak and redemption”, while a Yahoo! News reviewer noted that it is about “personal travails and confusion”. Nora Crotty of Elle magazine described the single as an “ode to repenting in the morning for the foolish mistakes you made the night before”. Billboard’s Vena stated that a plucky acoustic guitar accompanies Rihanna’s vocals while she sings the lines, “I think I’ve had enough/ Might get a little drunk/ I say what’s on my mind/ I might do a little time. Cause all of my kindness/ Is taken for weakness.” The lines are followed by West’s part with him singing, “Woke up an optimist/ Sun was shining, I’m positive/ Then I heard you was talking trash/ Hold me back/ I’m about to spazz.” On the later chorus Rihanna and West join vocals as they sing, “Now I’m four, five seconds from wildin’/ And we got three more days ’till Friday/ I’m just trying to make it back home by Monday morning.”

Critical reception

    “FourFiveSeconds” received rave reviews from music critics. Peter Kandunias of Gigwise praised Rihanna’s and West’s vocals and also McCartney’s play of the instruments in the song. Mclntyre of Forbes specifically praised Rihanna’s vocals and wrote that the spotlight is on them and are highlighted in a way they can not be on her “club-ready, bombastic tunes”. Jim Farber of New York Daily News praised the collaboration and stated that it’s better than the previous West-McCartney collaboration. Additionally, he praised Rihanna’s vocals and stated that they are a lot better than West’s, “who could have used more auto-tune to firm his unsteady vocals” Farber further noted, “It’s refreshing to hear Rihanna sing with so little affect, in a setting that’s much less processed than most of her recordings”. Vox’s Kelsey McKinney noted that Rihanna’s voice presents growth in range and tone since her last album, and it’s more vulnerable than we’ve heard Rihanna since the 2013 single “Stay”. According to him, the song hints that her new album could have more confessional slow songs like “FourFiveSeconds”.

    Spencer Kornhaber of The Atlantic also praised Rihanna’s vocals, writing, “Listen to the ragged squeak in her voice in the first verse, and how she maintains control as she alternates between contemplative trills and gospel shouts during the bridge”. According to him, the song showcases the distinctiveness of her timbre and phrasing is, something that wasn’t heard on her previous songs like the 2010 single “Only Girl (In the World)”. Travis Grier of Def Pen Radio thought that the song is a right choice for Rihanna to achieve legendary status, as, “she’s tackled pretty much every genre under the sun and ‘FourFiveSeconds’ just expands her versatility even more”. Crotty of Elle wrote that the song is “awesome” and “sweet”.

Commercial performance

North America

    “FourFiveSeconds” debuted at number 37 on the US Pop Songs chart only after less than two full days of airplay. According to Nielsen Music, it was a result of the hourly plays that the song received on Sunday (January 25) on several radio stations owned by iHeartMedia. According to the source it started ranking with more than 1,000 plays on 100 reports that is translated into a reach of 7.4 million in audience. With the feat, it became Rihanna’s 40th entry on the chart, while it is McCartney’s first song to enter it since the chart’s launch in 1992. For the week dated January 31, 2015 the song debuted at number 54 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. with sales of 53,000 copies and became the chart’s top new entry. Subsequently, it debuted at number 12 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The next week, it moved to number 25 on the Pop Songs chart, becoming its greatest gainer. Additionally, it debuted at number 34 on the US Adult Pop Songs chart and number 25 on the US Rhythmic Chart. On the Billboard Hot 100, it moved to number 15 with sales of over 138,000 digital downloads in its second week. It became McCartney’s highest charting single since 1986, when his single “Spies Like Us” reached number seven on the chart. The same week, it moved ten places from number 12 to number two on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart.

    In its third week, the song jumped to number six on the Billboard Hot 100 fueled by its digital downloads; it sold 181,000 copies for the week and peaked at number three on the Digital Songs chart. With the song’s advance, McCartney made history by returning to the top-ten on the Hot 100 chart after more than 29 years, ending the longest break between top-ten songs in the 56 year old history. He passed Santana, who achieved a span of more than 28 years between his top-tens in a range from 1971 to 1999. Furthermore, he has been staple on the chart for more than 51 years; McCartney first appeared on it in 1964 as part of the Beatles and their breakthrough single “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. “FourFiveSeconds” became Rihanna’s 26th top-ten single on the chart and West’s 15th. It also peaked at number 16 on the Pop Songs chart. The same week, it topped the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and became Rihanna’s fourth number one, while West’s seventh. It was McCartney second number one song on the chart following his 1983 duet with Michael Jackson, “The Girl Is Mine”. His wait of 32 years between chart-toppers became the lengthiest in the history of the chart previously held by Ray Charles (23 years). A week later, the song hit number four on the Billboard Hot 100.

    In Canada, “FourFiveSeconds” debuted at number 65 on the Canadian Hot 100 for the week dated January 31. The next week it jumped 56 places to number nine. In its third week it peaked at number four on the chart. The song peaked at number 21 on the Canadian CHR/Top 40 Airplay.

Oceania and Europe

    In Australia, “FourFiveSeconds” debuted at number 13 on the singles chart for the week dated February 8, 2015. The next week it jumped to number three and became Rihanna’s 28th top-ten song on the chart. For the week dated February 16, the song topped the chart and became Rihanna’s ninth song to reach number one. Additionally it became West’s second chart-topper and McCartney’s third (post Beatles). With the feat, McCartney became the oldest artist at age 72 to reach number one on the singles chart, a record which was previously held by Cher; she was 52 when her single “Believe” topped the chart. Furthermore, “FourFiveSeconds” also peaked at number one on the Australian Urban Singles Chart. In New Zealand, it debuted at number nine and peaked at number two for the week dated February 9. It became Rihanna’s 31st top-ten single on the chart.

    In the United Kingdom, “FourFiveSeconds” debuted at number five on the UK Singles Chart for the week dated February 7, 2015. The next week it reached a peak of number four, selling 41,535 digital downloads. In Scotland, the song peaked at number two on the Scottish Singles Chart.

Music video

Development

    The accompanying music video for “FourFiveSeconds” was directed by Dutch photographer duo, Inez and Vinoodh and shot in late December in New York City. Stephanie Bargas, Jeff Lepine and Jon Barlow served as the visual’s producers, while theCollectiveShift executively produced it. Jodokus Driessen was the director of photography, with Otto Arsenault serving both as editor and cinematographer. On January 30, via her official YouTube channel, Rihanna posted a behind the scenes video from the making of the clip. The video features Rihanna, West and McCartney performing on all-white soundstage. Also, the singer explains the fashion that they used for the video, “Kanye came up with the idea of doing just some real street, denim, all-American-type look. Denim never goes out of style; it’s classic, it’s iconic, just like the fucking Beatles.” On February 2, Rihanna posted a snippet of the clip on her official Instagram account. It features her silhouette while singing the song’s lyrics; she is also wearing a Sean John throwback denim jacket. The video premiered on February 3 on Rihanna’s official Vevo channel on YouTube. The same day, it was digitally released on the iTunes Store.

Analysis and reception

    According to Kreps of Rolling Stone, “The Herb Ritts-esque black-and-white clip finds Rihanna and West just singing their collaborative track while McCartney strums the riff on an acoustic guitar, with the real highlight coming when the three musical titans share the same frame.” Steven Gottlieb of VideoStatic described it as, “vertically constrained to just the center third of the screen, the focus of this silvery black-and-white clip is Rihanna’s emotional performance”, while McCartney and West supported her role. According to Erin Strecker of Billboard the video allows “each of the three superstars their moment in the spotlight. The camera mostly switches between tight individual shots of each denim-clad, passionate performer, although there are also a few scenes of all three together.” Jessica Goodman of The Huffington Post described the video as simple and clean and is reminiscent of the song itself. Similarly, Nolan Feeney of Time praised the video, calling it simple, but also “surprisingly intimate” like the single. He also described Rihanna’s eye-roll in the video as “epic”. Additionally, Feeney noted that the video is shot in a square aspect ratio and compared it to the works of French-Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan.

    A reviewer of MTV UK noted that the video is set in a square frame and resembles the single’s artwork. Sophie Schillaci of Entertainment Tonight called the square “Instagram friendly”. Gregory E. Miller of The New York Post noted that the video is a departure from Rihanna’s previous high production videos and sees her in a simple background. VH1’s Alexa Tietjen called the visual “stunning” and further praised Rihanna’s looks, West’s attitude and McCartney skills. Dee Locket of Slate called the visual is a performance video in which Rihanna and West “appear to be on the verge of losing it”. Billy Johnson Jr. of Yahoo! Music stated that if the intention of the visual is to show Rihanna as a fragile woman on the verge of snapping, it succeeds, “Stylistically, the black and white video finds a happy medium between the look and feel of Abercrombie & Fitch and Gap ad campaigns with Rihanna [baring] just enough cleavage to make censors nervous.” Rachel Maresca of Daily News noted that there are moments in the video where West shows his angry side by kicking the camera at one moment, while Rihanna begins to tear up.

Live performance

    Rihanna, McCartney and West performed “FourFiveSeconds” at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards held on February 8, 2015 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. For the performance, Rihanna wore a black pantsuit and was accompanied by West and McCartney who played the guitar. They performed the song against a white screen which later moved and revealed a curtained backdrop. Chris Payne of Billboard named the performance as one of the best moments of the ceremony and praised Rihanna’s vocals, “Let’s face it- seeing this improbable collaboration in person is the main reason many tuned in. There are so many ways three huge personas can get in the way, but Rihanna, Ye, and Sir Paul knew how to bring this one to life.” Joe Lynch of the same publication listed the performance at number four out of the total 23 performances that happened the night, “‘FourFiveSeconds’ ironically takes time to grow on you, but the presence of three disparate pop stars on stage with each other was one of the most deliriously awesome Grammy highlights.” Isabella Biedenharn of Entertainment Weekly gave the performance an A grade and praised Rihanna and West’s vocals and the trio’s wardrobe. According to TiVo, the performance was the fifth most watched moment of the night.

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