Rihanna’s newest video is a piece of Pop-Art Brilliance, but did she rip-off M.I.A.?

Posted on February 19, 2010 by


Anyone who has ever talked to me about Rihanna will know that I’m pretty lukewarm on the singer.

I don’t love her. I don’t hate her. I don’t really care about her.

Yes, I think that she’s a fine singer who makes interesting fashion choices. Sure, I respect her for breaking out of the Beyonce-clone label that plenty of people stuck on her. No, she doesn’t make my blood boil like some other new-ish female pop singers. I’m pretty indifferent about her.

But then I saw her new video for “Rude Boy” and now I LOVE HER.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Rihanna – Rude Boy“, posted with vodpod

Seriously, I love everything about this. The Caribbean color palette. The dated, lo-fi animation. The overt nods to the Pop-Art Movement and enduringly-relevant 1980’s artist and activist Keith Haring.

It’s simultaneously throwback (think early Run-DMC) and progressive, and it feels completely different from everything else pop artists are putting out.

I mentioned this to the Q last night – that I loved the video and that it stood in stark contrast to other contemporary music videos – and while he dug it too, he made the point that it seemed done before.

And it turns out that he’s right. Check our M.I.A.’s “Boyz” video:
Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “M.I.A. – Boyz“, posted with vodpod

You can’t say that the former didn’t take some cues from the latter. But so what? Both of these are a break from the tired boy-girl-romantic/sexual-plotline motif that has dominated music videos, and I for one will be watching both of them over and over again for a while.

It also doesn’t hurt that the artists in both videos are two kick-ass women confidently owning their sexuality, and looking awesome while doing so.