Rihanna’s Trying

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Rihanna has a history of performing at the same energy level as a sedated Britney Spears. But, to her credit I think she’s trying to do better as evidenced by this performance at the Echo Awards. Has she completely succeeded yet? No, not really, but in this instance I think we should give her an A for effort. If an A is too much, just don’t give her a D for deportation.

Before your eyes shift sideways, let me make my case.

Look at how she opens the performance. She’s actually moving, ya’ll. Like, not just her lips but her actual body.¬†Granted, she’s bending over and busting it open for a Transformer, but I’m sure Jimmy Neutron is somewhere smiling because of it. She gave robot boy hope and potentially a hard on, folks. Does that count for something?

More times than not Rihanna simply stands there, looks pretty, and tries her best to sweep you off your feet with her vocals. This time she’s trying to shake a tail feather and those bad nerves that used to shake her. How ’bout a round of applause?

I didn’t mention it when it dropped, but I love her video for “Rude Boy.” So much that there’s one move I already hope to duplicate in the club soon. I get that most of her videos are going to be nothing more than self-indulgent odes to how sexy and well-styled she is, but at least in videos like “Rude Boy” she can also show off her playful side in addition to all of the ass and tags present.

I mean, I dig the Elvira meets Elkeisha angle she has going to push¬†Rated R — so much that I scooped her album for .99 cents when it was on sale (I bought the one that dropped before that for full retail price, so there). Unfortunately, others chose to use that money for their value menu selection at their fast food restaurant of choice. That’s probably why Def Jam has seen the quick success of this song and has already started writing the narrative that her next album (which will likely drop in three days) will be more upbeat and fun.

And if that truly is the case it’s good that she’s trying to step it up as a performer. I’m sure an employer waving your work visa in front of you will motivate anyone to get on the job training.

Just so we’re clear I’m not saying this performance is the greatest thing ever. It is an improvement, though.

Look at where she used to be:

This sounds like her introduction ceremony into the Illuminati. Her voice is doing the ratchet throughout the entire performance. If nothing else I said was convincing, do we finally have an understanding now?

I don’t think I’ve ever said this on the site, but I do like the idea of Rihanna and I appreciate what she offers musically and aesthetically as it relates to what it means to be a pop star. She’s necessary because she has that sort of polish even some of my favorites don’t have.

I just wish she had the other important element of being a pop star — performance skills. But, she’s trying. I have to keep saying that to myself.

I genuinely hope she starts watching MC Hammer and Madonna clips to boost up her stage act. She looks like she’s actually having fun on stage in this clip. If she could get the audience to join in on the fun more often she’d be a lot better off professionally.

With that said, do you all think I’m caught in the wave of Rihanna or maybe, just maybe the girl really is improving?

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