For the last couple of years Rihanna has become an unstoppable pop juggernaut, hitting the top of the charts many times over. She’s managed to do this by riding the wave of new trends in music – back in 2009 she was one of the first popstars to flirt with dubstep by working with Chase & Status on the ‘Rated R’ album. Last year she scored her third million-seller in the UK with the Calvin Harris collaboration ‘We Found Love’ which shot the Scottish producers’ career into the stratosphere as well as spawning many copycats. Rihanna is now in a position where her star is so big that she can pick and choose songs and producers (although artistically, she doesn’t actually write any of her own material), simultaneously setting the tone for subsequent pop releases as lesser stars desperately scrabble to get their hands on their own slice of the Rihanna pie.
It’s fair to say dance music has been a massive influence for the last four years and when it was announced that Rihanna would be releasing her lead single from her seventh album that it would be another club stomper. The team behind it are all contributors to the dance craze as ‘Diamonds’ was produced by Benny Blanco (We R Who We R, California Gurls) and frequent collaborator Stargate and was written by the current queen of dance music Sia. Instead, Rihanna surprised everyone with a subdued mid-tempo and declared that her album would be more “hippy and happy” – whatever that may actually mean. This change in direction has had no impact on sales as she zoomed to the top of Itunes knocking off favourites One Direction. Will other popstars copy this change in direction and usher in “The New Boring”? Already singer-songwriters are becoming more and more popular with Ed Sheeran and Adele leading the pack. I for one would be sad if dance-pop totally disappeared but if I never heard a dubstep middle-eight again, I would die a happy man.