Rihanna Packs Heat and Pain in Her Disturbing New Song

Rihanna's "Russian Roulette" is far from her bubble gum pop hits like "Umbrella" and "Shut Up and Drive." Listen to it here. This mid-tempo ballad is cold, eerie and dark. It's a song I could see Heath Ledger's Joker feeling. Ri Ri sings about playing a game of "Russian Roulette" with a guy. Ne-Yo wrote the haunting lyrics:


Take a breath
Take it deep
Calm yourself
He says to me
If you play, you play for keep
Take the gun and count to three
I’m sweating now
Moving slow
No time to think
My turn to go

Chorus
And you can see my heart beating
You can see it through my chest
Said I’m terrified but I’m not leaving
I know that I must pass this test
So just pull the trigger


Say a prayer to yourself
He says close your eyes
Sometimes it helps
And then I get a scary thought
That he’s here means he’s never lost

Chorus
And you can see my heart beating
You can see it through my chest
Said I’m terrified but I’m not leaving
Know that I must pass this test
So just pull the trigger


As my life flashes before my eyes
I’m wondering will I
Ever see another sun rise
So many won’t get the chance to say goodbye
But it’s too late to think of the value of my life

Chorus
And you can see my heart beating
You can see it through my chest
Said I’m terrified but I’m not leaving
Know that I must pass this test

You can see my heart beating
You can see it through my chest
Said I’m terrified but I’m not leaving
Know that I must pass this test
So just pull the trigger


The song literally ends with a bang. Of course the question remains: is she referring to Chris Brown here? Staying in a violent relationship is playing with your life because you don't know when your abuser will take it one step further and kill. Then there's the line
"And then I get a scary thought. That he’s here means he’s never lost." Which also means the people he plays with lose, their lives. See the single for the cover above? She's bound in barbed wire, hanging on to a chain with an open-patch over her eye. She's in pain, constrained but not blind to what's going on. Which says to me to chose to play this dangerous game, she chose to deal with the pain.

Another interpretation is "Russian Roulette" is publicity bait that we've been sucking on like a good neckbone. The hype will make us listen to the song repeatedly to figure out the meaning behind the lyrics. Then the song will grow on us and we'll buy the album. I'm not crazy about the song because it's so bleak and clearly someone dies at the end. As a writer I like the flow and Ne-Yo's use of storytelling. In light of what happened earlier this year, putting out a dreary and mysterious song was not a bad move. Releasing it near Halloween was also clever. It's definitely not a song for kids. Hopefully, some of these crazy teens don't romanticize the song's story and try to play Russian Roulette. I love the sexy and edgy single cover. It should be the cover for her album "Rated R" which drops Nov. 23rd. Bring the pain RiRi.

Do you like the song?

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