The wait is officially ova: Rihanna’s “Russian Roulette,” the first single off her upcoming album Rated R, debuted this morning at approximately 11:23 a.m. EST at the official RihannaNow Website. “Roulette” opens up with a desperado guitar lick that hints at an impending shootout before the throbbing and foreboding bassline that carries the track settles in. The dark ballad, which Ne-Yo wrote and produced, seems to find Rihanna singing about enduring a tumultuous relationship and keeping faith in a dangerous boyfriend. “You can see my heart beating, you can see it through my chest/I’m terrified, but I’m not leaving/Know that I must pass this test,” Rihanna sings on the chorus, “So just pull the trigger.” The song ends with an ominous gunshot. The song’s title and lyrics echo the singer’s recent interest in guns; in March she had a tiny gun tattooed on her side.
Rated R, the follow-up to 2007’s multiplatinum Good Girl Gone Bad, arrives physically and digitally on November 23rd, the same week as Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster, Adam Lambert’s For Your Entertainment and Britney Spears’ The Singles Collection hit stores.
Ne-Yo’s partnership with Rihanna has been fruitful in the past, generating hits like “Unfaithful,” “Take A Bow” and “Hate That I Love You.” Rhianna also recruited producers The-Dream & “Tricky” Stewart, Chase & Status, Stargate and Justin Timberlake for Rated R. As Rolling Stone reported yesterday, Stewart called his and The-Dream’s track for Rihanna a “monster” edgy club banger, and Chase & Status also talked about collaborating with the “Umbrella” singer on her new album.
“Russian Roulette” is the first Rihanna standalone song since her altercation with then-boyfriend Chris Brown before the Grammys on February 8th. Rihanna appeared in Kanye West’s “Paranoid” video and recently featured on Jay-Z’s “Run This Town,” but “Russian Roulette” marks the first time since “Disturbia” that she’s not sharing the spotlight. According to a press release, a video for “Russian Roulette,” which Rihanna was spotted shooting this past weekend with director Anthony Mandler, will debut in prime time on ABC at an unspecified time.