‘FourFiveSeconds’ represents an attractive mixture of musical styles, as described by each artist contributing to its creation: the Barbadian R&B singer Rihanna, the American rapper Kanye West and the British musician Paul McCartney.
In the case of every artist, ‘FourFiveSeconds’ represents an essential phase: Rihanna prepares for the release of her eight studio album, after the success registered in 2014 with the dubstep ‘Jump’, Kanye West showed in 2014 his sensitive side with the ‘Only One’ ballad featuring Paul McCartney, while the legendary British musician continues to collaborate with young artists, as noticed in his recent album ‘New’ (2014).
Displaying casual outfits, the three artists joined forces into a versatile soul pop, reggae, folk ballad with R&B influence. Supported by Paul McCartney’s solo fragments on acoustic guitar, as well as organ and cello fragments, Rihanna and Kanye’s voices combine into a chorus describing the feeling associated with the promise of a return to the dearest persons in the artists’ lives.
‘FourFiveSeconds’ was written and produced by the three artists, supported by Mike Dean, Noah Goldstein and Dave Longstreh, previously collaborating with Kanye West (‘Graduation’, ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’, ‘So Help Me God’), as well as with Big Sean, Katy Perry or Coldplay. The song was released in January 2015, promoting Rihanna’s upcoming studio album, expected to be launched this year. The mastering of ‘FourFiveSeconds’ is minimalistic, focusing on the mature vocals of Rihanna and Kanye West.
‘FourFiveSeconds’ is associated with a discreet scenario, accordingly to the musical impression created by the ballad, the Dutch photographer team, Inez and Vinoodh, famous for the unconventional covers created for Vanity Fair or Vogue, continued the simplicity of the song through a suggestive visual representation. The video, released in January 2015, is a suite of scenes featuring Paul McCartney, Kanye and Rihanna in individual situations, reuniting in the end of the video. Paul McCartney appears exclusively playing the guitar, while the two young artists perform the vocal fragments.
Shot in sepia, the video of ‘FourFiveSeconds’ begins and ends with Rihanna expecting something to happen, as suggested by her gestures. She bites hers nails, she cries and she nervously arranges strips of her hair. Comparing with other videos released by Rihanna during the last year, for ‘FourFiveSeconds’ the artist preferred an unconventionally ordinary appearance, in a large shirt and boots.
Similarly, Kanye in a casual outfit with untied laces, wipes his sweat, suggesting the effort of being sincere along four or five seconds. Paul McCartney gently plays the guitar, as generations of fans are used to admire.