Anyone who witnessed Rihanna’s BRIT Awards performance saw that she came a little weak last Wednesday. Fans and haters alike tuned in to watch Rihanna showcase her naturally addictive song “Work” and saw what I saw: the Bajan beauty struggled to sustain notes and barely sang at all.
Before “Work,” Rihanna gave us a snippet of the SZA-assisted “Consideration;” the opening track on her recent album, ANTI. Like most of the tracks on the album, the recorded version of the song is magical. Fans appreciate the way her voice trickles on it. But her voice didn’t exactly trickle in London. Instead, Rihanna presented a choppy, breathy rendition of the vocally simple song. Even “Work,” a song that bears no vocal difficulty, seemed to be a struggle for Ri Ri.
Maybe she had an off day. Maybe it was the same bronchitis recovery that kept her from performing at the Grammy’s and made her vocal range more limited. Either way, social media didn’t take her struggle lightly. Facebook comments and tweets that followed showed that people were generally disappointed.
Perhaps the people that ranted on social media are just coming to the realization that she isn’t the best live singer. However, the performance was less traumatic on people who already accepted Ri Ri for what she is; an easily lovable recording artist.
Whether you hated or loved her recent performance, you love Ri Ri because she is a bad ass. She presents herself in an unapologetically free way. I can think of countless Rihanna quotes and lyrical snubs that make you gasp, or turn red. The best thing about Ri Ri is she’s got the nerve to say the things we feel but don’t say. Whether it’s sexy, bitchy. or straight up blunt, she expresses the human emotion through her aura and her music.
While her voice may not be so powerful, its playful and sweet texture make her songs easily tangible. This is one of the reasons why we can’t stop playing “Work.” Another is it’s right up Rihanna’s alley. It’s fun, blunt, and not too hard to sing. This formula is clearly a “major key” as she’s dropped several sucesful albums and has sustained a solid fan base.
Say what you want about Ri Ri but she caters to her fans. One weak performance in London might affect her non-fans. But because her fans accept her for who she is, we are rarely left disappointed. Artists who recognize their strengths rarely disappoint, because they always give their absolutely best. Rihanna gives us freedom, excitement, and confidence (and her music is dope). As long as she continues to do that, we ‘ll be here.