Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem. This Top 10 is boring. I realize that part of this is the math behind the Radio Rants to Top 10 schematic (reviewing one song a week against a new list every week, factoring in that each song will have more than one week on the charts, etc), but come on. Sure, I could review “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love”, but despite months of airplay, I can only remember one line from it, and most of that line is in the freakin’ title. Or, there’s Pink’s latest song, “Raise Your Glass”, but it’s another “Screw you, I’m Pink!” song. So by process of elimination…
Let’s talk Rihanna. Since “SOS” back in 2006, I don’t think she’s spent more than six months without some sort of chart presence. That actually kind of makes sense in that Rihanna’s always been something of a non-entity as an artist. She always has some hit out there, but no one knows about her as a person (although the whole Chris Brown thing changed that). Anyway, “Only Girl (In the World)” is the lead single off of her new album Loud, which is out just a year after previous effort Rated R.
The song starts with a pretty groovy 80’s style synth and some “notice me” lyrics. Rihanna’s always been able to actually sing, which, when put up against some of the other songs I’ve dealt with recently, is a welcome addition. The synth on the track is pretty sweet, too, it’s not crazy catchy, but definitely gets you moving. “Only Girl” is more club pop than most of Rihanna’s older work, and it really works.
But the chorus is the main selling point for this song. And, to its credit, this is a massive chorus. The music more or less stops while Rihanna proudly proclaims, “Want you to make me feel/like I’m the only girl in the world/like I’m the only one that you’ll ever love/like I’m the only one who knows your heart/Only girl in the world”. And even though the synth blasts under her sound like they’re from 2008 when everyone was trying to copy Timbaland, it’s a good chorus. Rihanna’s confidence and strong delivery are what really sells it; she’s having fun.
Then that momentum stops dead as we go to the second verse, which is more of the same bouncy club beat with lyrics I don’t even care to mention. I think this is why I never liked Rihanna that much as an artist; she’s just too blank, too dull. She’s a pop artist off her admittedly talented voice and some decent producers, but her hits never really stand out. But songs like “Only Girl (In the World)” are good enough to at least last awhile.
Oops, bored’d myself off-track, but we didn’t really miss much. The second verse/chorus are essentially a copy of the first. The bridge’s music actually builds pretty nicely, even with some garbage lyrics on top of it (“Take me for a ride, ride”). A few extra bleeps find their way into the last chorus because it’s the last chorus, and Rihanna holds a few notes for the same reason. It works.
Which is really what I can say about the song in general. The production’s pretty good but not stellar, the song is lyrically passable by virtue of not sucking, and Rihanna’s voice and presence give the song that great chorus that’s the only memorable aspect. If this song/video comes on, I leave it be. Do I like it? Sure. I mean, if you don’t like it, you don’t, but I find it good at best and bland at worst. Works for me.