Rihanna career started in 2005 in which she released her debut single, ‘Pon de Replay’, exhibited her, ‘girl next door’ viewpoint, although she had a transition to her new insight. However, ‘Good girl gone bad’, broke this stereotype in order to show her versatility. Rihanna became well known for the single, ‘Umbrella’, which was featured in her album, ‘Good girl gone bad’, which was realised on the 29 th March 2007. The single was a successful chart performance world wide and positive remarks from critics left, ‘Umbrella’, listed number three on the 100 best songs of 2007 published by, ‘Rolling stones’, magazine. Later, in 2008, ‘Umbrella’, gained the admiration it deserved, as it received a Grammy Award for Best rap/sung Collaboration. This very successful R'n'B hit became the result of Rihanna’s world wide success and the great step up she needed in her career. ‘Umbrella’, is a complete performance and uses the microelements: Editing, Camera angles/movement/composition and Mise-en-scene to its advantage by displaying a lot of versatility.
Rihanna started her career with her first album “Music of the sun” with her first single ‘Pon De Replay’ going into the top 10. This was her first top five single- with it becoming number 2 in the UK and USA and becoming no.1 in 3 countries. The image of Rihanna on the album cover, is very R’n’B by the colour’s (gold, bronze, brown’s and Dark deep purples) and the close up shot which is often used on the R’n’B genre. The song ‘Pon De Replay’ musically, is a pop sing which contains the R’n’B beats
At this time Rihanna was very simplistic in her looks, and she obtained the natural look. Her hair and make up were usually simple in the videos and album covers, they had a natural effect to them. She also used to wears casual clothes adding to the simple and natural look she portrayed which made her look and seem like a ‘normal’ person.
Rihanna released her second album in 2006 called “A Girl Like Me” which contained her hits “SOS”(which was Rihanna’s first number 1)
and also “Unfaithful”. Rihanna carried on with her R&B image with this album and her music was marketed with reggae genres as well because of her Caribbean background.
The album cover creates a sense of naivety on Rihanna. This is done using a close up of her face looking straight into the camera but mainly with her gripping onto her sleeve as it make her seem to have insecurities. Her make up hair looks natural which also adds to her innocence for example with the way her hair falls making it not look placed /styled . The back cover shows that Rihanna is having fun and is free as she is dancing. The long shot shows this as she is playing with the dress making it flow just like her hair is flowing adding to the freedom look as we see the movement.
In 2007 Rihanna brought out her third album “Good Girl Gone Bad”. This album had re-imagined her album musically containing more up-tempo dance tracks . This album featured a more dance-pop music instead of the dancehall, reggae and ballad styles compared to her previous work. The album contained four hits all reaching the top twenty– including the worldwide number-one hit "Umbrella," featuring Jay-Z and other songs such as "Shut Up and Drive", "Don't Stop The Music" and "Hate That I Love You”.
Rihanna’s image changed in this album as she dyed her hair black and cutting it short. This gave her more of an edge and her dress sense also started to become more fashion forward. The album name itself showed that there was a new rebellious Rihanna. The videos also started to have more edge to them compared to her previous work.
The hits carried on with the re-issue of Rihanna’s third album, Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded. This album included “Take A bow”, “Disturbia” and "If I Never See Your Face Again” with Maroon 5. There were mix reviews about this album and the original with The guardian saying “the summery reggae of her first two albums is sorely missed.” However another review said: “An album of class, depth and seriously hard grinding, it's a major transformation from pretty girl with potential to star turn.”
The album Rated R , was released in November 2009 making it Rihanna’s forth album. Rolling Stone liked this album and said – “Rihanna has transformed her sound and made one of the best pop records of the year .” The singles on this album included "Russian Roulette", "Hard" and "Rude Boy“ which reached number-one. This album also contained singles “Wait Your Turn”, “Rockstar” and “Te amo”. Rated R was a more dark and angry tone when it came down to both musical and lyrical. It was however mainly an R&B and pop-oriented album, but also contained elements of hip hop and rock.
The Rated R album cover shows a different side to Rihanna. With it being black and white we can tell by just looking at the cover that it may involve more of a darker and more sinister side to her and the music. We can also tell it might involve rock as she is wearing what looks like leather, but also her heavy eye make up and hair also adds to the image. With her hand over her eye also makes it more unusual and make her seem mysterious but it shows her accessories which also adds to the rock theme as they have an edge. Even the back has black running through it and her pose makes her look mysterious and strong. With this album cover she doesn’t have her name on the from cover but instead the letter R in a rock and dangerous font.
With this album Rihanna’s look was more rocky. Her video’s became more dark and she started to wear heavy makeup plus her hair was more edgy than ever with parts of it becoming blonde and shaven . Rihanna also started to have tattoos . Her fashion on stage also had elements of rock as they were very strong which showed that Rihanna was stronger than ever.
Rihanna’s recent album is called ‘loud’. This album has featured hits such as ‘Only girl in the world’, which reached no.1 in more than ten countries and ‘What’s my name’ , ‘S&M’, ‘California King bed’ and ‘Man down’. With this album Rihanna returned to the dance hall influence sounds just like her 2006 album – ‘ A girl like me’ . This album also includes more dance pop and up tempo songs . Rihanna said that she was not going back but developing her sounds. She said that this album is ‘her’ – flirty , loud and energetic. The BBC said “ Loud certainly lives up to the singer’s promise however lyrics sometimes seem forced.”
Through the duration of the recording of this album Rihanna changed her appearance to totally the opposite compared to her previous album. She died her hair red which made her look soft but also adding that edge again. She also changed her fashion sense and in a way is becoming known for her hair changes and becoming a fashion icon with girls wishing they could be her and have her hair .
This album cover is defiantly more colourful compared to her previous album cover. Even though Rihanna is not giving eye contact she still looks strong but it also makes her look innocent in a way. The colourfulness continues with Rihanna wearing red lipstick which matches her hair. The front cover does not even say Rihanna or have her logo because she has become so powerful and her face has become so recognisable that it doesn’t need it. The back cover pose makes Rihanna look shy because of the pose but still strong because of her hair, tattoo showing and what she is wearing. She also looks simple at the same time in both front and back because of the natural make up and her pose. .
The website always suit the album cover. For example when Rihanna’s latest album was Rated R then there was a lot of black and white. The design also included barbed wire. The website for the latest loud album is mainly pink adding to the soft look Rihanna now shows. It also includes her logo from rated r which is also in pink to add a soft look to it. The whole website has the same house style throughout and allows people to listen to music, watch videos and what’s new with Rihanna. Website
Type of Video Illustration – either a straightforward performance video or a simple narrative video (or mixture of the two) ‘in this particular video it is based on performance only’ that illustrates the meaning of the lyrics and visualizes the music in a straightforward way. It could be called music video ‘denotation’ . The video is based around fast cut, this keep the concentration of the audience and also makes it easy to watch lots of times without making the audience bored Performance
When looking at the music video, ‘Umbrella’, it is a full performance, which states Rihanna’s independence and dominance as a solo artist. By displaying a completely dedicated performance, Rihanna displays a hybrid of RNB and Hip Hop, significantly portraying her new conversion to broaden her appeal. The performance itself demonstrates a lot of female power, as we see the energy given off during the music video. Rihanna shows a sex appeal throughout the whole performance, which males want and females want to have, this again, broadens the target audience among males and females. You notice that this strong performance uses micro elements to reinforce this dominant female role.
This shot establish the particular house style displayed through the effective use of mise-en-scene, a black and white theme with hints of other colours to make them stand out throughout the music video, for example, gold, a colour often associated with RNB and Hip Hop genres.
This shows that Rihanna is comfortable in her own skin, creates a form of dominance because she is comfortable with who she is, a dominant, independent women whom fans idolise. Although, however this shot can also open to everyone as she reveals herself through nudity, this questions whether she is objectifying her self (notion of looking), creating the idea that she may be labelled as a sex icon.
This shot we have a range of mid shots and close ups which display an unusual monochrome effect to reflect the house style. The editing relates stronger lighting which gives Rihanna a glow that makes her stand out in the contrasting black setting. This technique has been used throughout to make her standout in comparison to other characters in the video because she is the main focus. The editing also displays a mirror effect which reinforces the idea that Rihanna is the main focus.
This particular shot was a mid shot, which shows Rihanna’s strong facial expressions mimicked by male background dancers, displaying her significant role in music as she is an idol. The shot is almost going into a low shot to show Rihanna’s independent women power even during her dance sequence. She wears black to reinforce her significance in every costume change, worn in a style that reflects her target audience that listen to this genre of music (Hip Hop and RNB).
Rihanna is propped in the middle of the shot standing up long and is lean in the middle using her prop which reflects the sound (parallel sound), this composition implies that she is the dominant, independent role. Even though Rihanna uses levels to show her importance, both shots have a lot of energy reflected through the electric sparklers, and significance displayed through the black costume and setting. In both of these the shots happen to be long shots which display levels of power and significance. When looking at Jay Z, the composition of the shot has him in the centre, he is in control as the female dancers surround and look up at him performing, while he looks directly at the camera as he would with an actual performance.
In this shot there is a close shot of Rihanna’s face, with more strong facial expressions to add to her clear message of women authority.
This shot is a mid shot, where we see a female figure, Rihanna who displays a lot of skin, this with the glitter falling down reinforces the provocative appeal that Rihanna has put herself to representing. The entire shot is hazy, and slowly comes into focus while Rihanna moves her arms around her body in a slow and seductive way, enhancing that sex appeal. The way the light hits the shot, allows the glitter to stand out, a feminine, diva essence which makes Rihanna seem strong and independent, stereotyped like many other RNB singers e.g. Beyonce or Keri Hilson.
The metallic water also fades the next shot into the previous shot, a clean and creative method which introduces an new verse to the song. The water also reveals some of Rihanna’s control and power in the video, as she dances, the water rotate around her movements, creating ripples of water around the screen. The shot, as has the water fades into the next close up, the water blurs Rihanna’s face and slowly comes into focus. The editing cleverly fits in nicely with the music video because it matches the monochrome house style, having used this metallic water, improving the beat of the music because it splashes and cuts in time with the music, a form of parallel sound.
When Rihanna turns, the background cuts quickly and the white sits on top of the red, this change in the editing, displays Rihanna’s change in to an independent women. The colours them selves contrast nicely against each other, making Rihanna stand out because she is set in both backgrounds.
Throughout this particular succession, there is lot of cuts between long shots and mid shots to display Rihanna’s strong body language. Although, her provoking dress sense creates a notion of looking where, Rihanna seems to be portrayed once again as a sex icon. Her wearing something that will be similar to a maid’s dress reinforces this objectification of her being a women.
Strong impact of power cracking the ice in the background due to Rihanna’s movements, this form of editing gives her power and authority because she is the source of energy. The long shot displays the composition of the shot, with Rihanna placed in the middle while the ice surrounds her, with her as the main focus. The light has been made more eye catching through editing, the light increases in brightness as the ice cracks, this power and dominance encapsulated in the performance displays Rihanna's passion for music. When the ice cracks, Rihanna is blurred while the background remains sharp using the technique depth of field, this contrast makes both the background and Rihanna stand out against each other. The setting itself is harsh and black, the white ice adds to this intensity reflected both in the sound and Rihanna’s strong body language.
Type of Video Amplification – the conventions demonstrated by the music video ‘auteur’ or creative director. S/he may use both performance and narrative, however, rather than simply illustrate the lyrics or sounds this director will ‘amplify’ both with creative interpretation, unusual ideas and surrealistic approaches. There is still a direct link to the song, whether it be the beat, sound or ‘ connotative ’ link to part of the lyrics or song title. The video is based around fast cut, this keep the concentration of the audience and also makes it easy to watch lots of times without making the audience bored Narrative
“ It’s like screaming and no one can hear. You almost feel ashamed that someone could be that important that without them you feel like nothing. No one will ever understand how much it hurts. You feel hopeless like nothing can save you. Then when it’s over and it’s gone, you almost wish that you could have that bad stuff back so that you can have the good.” Powerful, foreshadowing words open ’We found Love’ movie-styled visual. In the powerful video ‘We found love’, Rihanna gets high on love, ‘We found love’ is the first single from her sixth album ‘Talk That Talk’ due the 21 st November. Rihanna heats up the screen with the boxer/model Dudley O’Shaughnessy in the Melina-directed mini movie, which was shit in various locations in Northern Ireland. The wild couple experiences the many thrills of love, but their relationship soon takes a dangerous turn. The video sends Rihanna and her lover into a manic spin, of high points being met with the low with a crumbling ending that send the singer crying in a corner. The video consists in a whirling, wanton mix if substances, sex and severity that pushes Rihanna’s bad-girl. Through all the shocking/ abstract contents are a whole lot of pop-culture references. Frolicking through fields with wild abandonment, kissing, skating, stealing and abusing drugs, Rihanna and British model Dudley O’Shaughnessy (who can easily be a stand-in for Rihanna’s ex-boyfriend Chris Brown) share intimate moments within the ups and downs of punch drunk love. In rugged street punk wear and 80s-designed denim threads, they puts a microscope on hopeless love spotted, and even balanced by, with the twisted good feelings it provides.
Rihanna and her possessor/possessed in "We Found Love" Rihanna at the end of the song
One of the more poignant shots is the boyfriend pinning Rihanna down forcibly but almost playfully, tattooing the words ‘Mine’ on the top of her frequently bared posterior.
There’s also Rihanna lighting a fistful of cigarettes in her ‘Boyfriends’ mouth, which then continues in him blowing the smoke into her mouth
The lighting is feature fluently used throughout the video, linking to the drastic changes in the relationship, however the bright lights featured throughout could also linking to the drug use.
It’s like screaming The first shot starts off with an establishing shot showing a view, of two high rise flats on a low angle shot, at the beginning of the video there is some spoken narrative on this particular shot it says ‘It’s like screaming’ this could link to the fact that those in council estates often tend, to want better thing in life but they are confined into the low standards of living
Product placement of Nivea, and Sanex soap This shot also establishes the love between the two characters, a long shot is used to show the whole of the two character, showing the love they both share with each other.
Links to the gamble people take who take drugs, or taken drunken love.
The lighting connects the narrative at the begin to the fast pace music that begins to play, it could also link to the fact that the relationship between the two characters are on bad terms. This is created using an establishing shot, this is because it shows the surroundings as a whole.
It the cuts to Rihanna on her own in a room, from her stance and facial expression it seems like she is upset or insecure. An long shot is used to show, the room around her, and also her stance, although a long shot is used the emotion on Rihanna’s face is still present to the eye’s of the audience.
Which then cuts to happy scene of Rihanna and her ‘Boyfriend’, this could suggest the happy go lucky phase the both go through. Often with these shots both mid and long shots are used this helps the audience to forces on ever the character facial expressions or the stance, or connection between one another, for example holding hands
Then there was some more fast cuts to establish the physical relationship the two character have however this then cuts to shot of Rihanna sing in a room on her own this also suggests the good and bad factors of the relationship and also linking to the drug and drunken relationship the both hold.... ‘we found love in a hopeless place’
Throughout the video there is a lot of scenes showing drug/ drug usage showing the audience the main theme for the video
Also throughout of the video particular scene, including a town setting, and fireworks etc, are used to foreshows the use of drug and the effects it has on you mind, these images also link to the tempo of the music as when beat of the song increases so does the speed of imagery.
“ It’s like screaming and no one can hear. You almost feel ashamed that someone could be that important that without them you feel like nothing. No one will ever understand how much it hurts. You feel hopeless like nothing can save you. Then when it’s over and it’s gone, you almost wish that you could have that bad stuff back so that you can have the good.” This narrative is used to start of the music video, I believe this created the atmosphere of the particular setting, this created the feeling of the broken love that would be shown within the video. As this read out a slow low-key is played to set out the true emotion to the words This also links to the dreary imagery (which starts the video), this therefore indulged in both the narractive and connecting to story line and theme of the story, love, sex and drug abuse.
Yellow diamonds in the light Now we’re standing side by side As your shadow crosses mine What it takes to come alive It’s the way I’m feeling I just can’t deny But I’ve gotta let it go This part of the song link to the love between the two characters and there relationship, the first few shots show the happy times the two character shared.
Shine a light through an open door Love a life I will divide Turn away 'cause I need you more Feel the heartbeat in my mind It’s the way I’m feeling I just can’t deny But I’ve gotta let it go These lyrics show the high’s and low’s of the relationship , this then links to the imagery on the video and the behaviour presented. For example in this shot Rihanna is stealing, showing the bad things people do under influence. This shot shows the happy relationship they share This shot shows how the relationship has affected Rihanna as she is singing in a corner of a room on her own in a small amount of clothing, in this image it looks as if she is shouting this could link to the usage and drugs and the way it may be effecting her
We found love in a hopeless place We found love in a hopeless place We found love in a hopeless place We found love in a hopeless place The chorus repeats throughout the song, from the point in which the chorus starts this is when we start to see the downward spiral in the two characters relationship, and it also the point in which the tempo of the music increases.