Despite the unease that comes with saying this, it seemed like it was only a matter of time until Rihanna and Chris Brown were collaborating on good terms again in the music business. They each released a remix featuring the other on February 20th, Rihanna’s 24th birthday. The songs were Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake” from her album Talk That Talk and Chris Brown’s “Turn Up the Music” from his upcoming album Fortune.
Even though Rihanna and Chris Brown are entertainers, not role models, it’s still incredibly awkward to see them come back together in the music world. While some fans wish to leave the domestic assault incidents in the past and others don’t care, some feel like Rihanna is letting down those who look up to her by working with Brown and that Brown’s arrogance and transition back into the charts is disgusting. It’s also just nearly impossible to listen to the music without thinking of the context of the singers’ lives.
But how is the actual music?
It’s no surprise that either song is doing respectably on the charts, but considering the general scope of music, both songs are pretty awful.
While you can clap along to it, “Birthday Cake” is repetitive and awkwardly vulgar. The cake/ sex metaphors and similes are painfully uncreative and having Chris Brown sing “I wanna f— you right now,” dredges up the very uncomfortable and horrible domestic violence acts he committed several years ago.
“Turn Up the Music” is only a little better. Rihanna sounds comfortable on this track unlike Brown who sounded completely obtuse on “Birthday Cake.” However, while it may be catchier and more palatable than “Birthday Cake,” “Turn Up The Music” has the lyrical creativity of toast. The beat is danceable, but is a popular, generic dance song that will inevitably be usurped by the next popular, generic dance song. Anything to get excited about? Of course not. What’s mainly driving the popularity of both songs is the controversy of Rihanna and Chris Brown working together again.
Still, love it or hate it, entertainers will do what they do, even if it produces subpar music.