Admittedly, we felt rather lukewarm about ‘We Found Love’ and the fact Calvin Harris was doing the musical honours on honking rave horns. But after the unveiling of the visual accompaniment, the song makes much more sense.
The video begins with some poverty porn shots of a council estate with a voice-over announcing: “It’s like screaming, but no one can hear,” as we see Rihanna and lover in a 5am, comedown stupor, fully clothed in a bath.
“You almost feel ashamed that some one could be that important, that without them, you feel like nothing. No one will ever understand how much it hurts,” the Lily Allen sound alike continues over a piano backing.
“You feel hopeless, like nothing can save you. But when it’s over, and it’s gone, you almost wish that you could have all that bad stuff back, so that you could have the good.” As slow-mo flashback images play on the screen, it’s clearly sad o’clock in relationship-ville.
But that doesn’t last for long. After a shot of lightning, the lovers play hard and fast with each other during the four and a bit minute clip. We see them do a lot meaningful looking to camera and loads of smoking, passing out, screaming, laughing whilst being wheeled about, driving, weeping, O.D.ing, shagging and raving.
The chorus “We found love in a hopeless place,” is never more keenly felt than with these frantic visuals. Director (and long-term collaborator Melina Matsoukas) has got the essence of combustible young loving (and drugging) down to a tee.
It calls to mind a sped up version of Skins or the druggy, magic realism of Gaspar Noe’s Enter The Void. And with its ‘Cry Me A River’ like casting of a look-a-like in the role of her lover, comparisons to her relationship with Chris Brown are likely to be drawn. Which in turn, gives the video an added edge (we felt a bit nervy watching the bit where they argue in the car, tbh).
After the off-the-boil visuals of her recent videos, it’s great to see Rihanna returning to the edgy, self-referential, fashion magazine angst of her ‘Rated R’ period and it works brilliantly.