Rihanna and Kanye West and Paul McCartney
FourFiveSeconds Track Review
Westbury Road/Roc Nation
Released January 24, 2015
“FourFiveSeconds” is a fully executed, well thought out piece of country-tinged, minimal pop. Stripped to simple guitar parts, bass, and the versatile vocals of Rihanna and Kanye West, this track is simple, melodic, and confessional at its core, and showcases a different side to the artists’ usual club ready hits.
Right as it begins, the song hits us with an incredibly simple, and incredibly catchy, chord progression. Once the chorus rolls in, the song’s full potential becomes recognized, led by Rihanna’s emotive and wonderfully strained vocals. The song does a wonderful job at showcasing a new side to Rihanna’s voice with its distinctive timbre and delivery. Rihanna’s lyrics are empowering, wonderfully bringing out the same emotional themes last revisited on tracks like “Stay”. While it still revolves around the “sorry for partying” motif, you can’t help but feel her conviction.
Kanye’s vocals, on the other hand, are perfectly juxtaposed with the acoustic simplicity, riding the fine line of “being out of key” as he delivers lyrics that basically explain why he needs auto tune. In many ways, having auto-tune on this track for him would’ve helped balance out his choppy singing, but that would’ve added some superficiality to this wholesome track.
“FourFiveSeconds” finds two artists, delving into a minimalistic field of their career with one of the most important musicians ever. While the song can be forgettable for some (not me), the song is held up by two things: vocals and power. Despite having two heavy weight musicians tagged onto the song credits, THIS is nonetheless Rihanna’s song. And she owns and delivers on every level.