Anti is not our adult Santa, as we’ve come to fear; Anti may, in fact, be real, and at the very least “Work,” featuring Drake, is incredibly real, insofar that downloading something off Tidal for $1.29 after three attempts to pay is “real.” Never mind that, though: here’s a new freakin’ Rihanna song!
“Work” kicks off with a light-footed synth melody and the breathy sample that’s been a stand-in for a kick-drum on so many dancehall riddims of the past several years. But unlike “Bitch Better Have My Money,” there’s no sub-bass whomping all over this single, giving Rihanna’s terrific-sounding vocal—a slack-mouthed, very mild patois—room to breathe as she sings alternately about a conflicted love-down and getting ready for work, when that work may in fact be “work,” or Drake, or Rihanna herself, or—Lord willin’—a very controlled slow wine on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean. (When is Spring Break, again?) It’s got the tenderness that made Riri and Drake’s “Take Care” so resonant and on the first five listens, it’s immediately better than “BBHMM,” particularly if you’ve spent the last eight years wishing for a “Rampin Shop” part two, G-rated or no. Now, where’s the Popcaan/Spice/Gyptian/Mavado remix?
You can hear/download “Work” now over on Tidal (don’t shoot the messenger). Video, apparently, coming soon, and it’s not likely be short on horses painted with the Louis Vuitton logo a la Lil Kim.