Rihanna has never been singular in her sound — who would have dreamed up “We Found Love” after hearing “Pon De Replay”? — and so no surprise she’s trying on yet another sound for this seventh round. “Diamonds,” the “hippy and happy” first single off of upcoming seventh album, finds Rihanna taking the tempo down a tic and singing bright like, well, a diamond. Produced by longtime Rihanna collaborators Stargate and written by Sia, “Diamonds” is shimmery and elegant as the title suggests it should be, and without any clear reference to Chris Brown.
Though it’s still built around a hypnotic beat and shimmery keyboard, “Diamonds” sounds more like the kind of song you would put on after the club, as you stumble out and into the moonshine to “find light in the beautiful sea.” More spare and understated than the yellow diamond strewn “We Found Love,” it gives Rihanna space to take the lead and play with the vocals. And so she sort of adopts Sia’s enunciation — especially so when she hits the “shine bright like a dia-mooond” bit at the end of the chorus — and even gets sort of throaty and affected points, like the more theatrical and self-aware Mariana and the Diamonds or Lana Del Rey. This sort of light experimentation makes us wonder if this seventh might be an album where Rihanna takes the reigns of her sound and does more than just make us dance.
And anyways, she’s happy with it.