In the past, Rihanna has given us some of the most seductive videos (see "Pour It Up") of the 21st century. Her new release, "FourFiveSeconds," goes in a completely different direction. The same goes for Kanye West, who is often creating grandiose videos and concepts like "Power." Only recently have we seen his softer side in videos like "Only One" starring his daughter North.
And for the big surprise, in comes Paul McCartney (who was also featured in "Only One", but did not appear in the video), stepping back into mainstream rotation with this pleasing, if unlikely collaboration.
All three performers seem quite at home in the ambience created by this "coffeehouse-esque" song. Shot in black and white, with some very slick cinematography and direction by Inez and Vinoodh, the new video almost looks like a collection of self portraits.
McCartney is seen throughout the entire video, playing smooth chords on his acoustic guitar.
In a strange way, when those organs hit during the chorus, it feels as if we've been transported back to Paul's "Sgt. Pepper's" days, even if he doesn't sing on this track, but only lends instrumental backup.
For Rihanna, we don't often get to hear the songstress' vocals stripped down, with a simple beat as we do here.
It's also a nice change of pace as we can hear the raw emotion and power in her vocals, mirrored in her simple denim outfit.
As for Kanye, who is always a pleasure to watch regardless of what he is starring in, delivers his rhymes over that sweet McCartney guitar loop.
As much as we love Ye' when he is swagged out, this time he is not showy in the least bit. He is just pure talent in its finest form.
Overall, "FourFiveSeconds," with its simple tenderness and yearning melodies, highlights the sheer talent that made us fall in love with these three musicians in the first place — something that, all too often, the glitz and glamor of celebrity life hides from view.