Song 25: Rihanna (feat. Calvin Harris), “We Found Love” (2011)


About a year ago, I was in a car accident. Maybe “car accident” is overstating the case–I clipped a car that was in the middle of an intersection, against the light, and I didn’t see it. While our car was in the shop for about a month, we relied on rentals, most of which didn’t have a way to plug in an iPod.

This meant that, for the first time in years, I was listening to the radio on a regular basis. I decided to listen to “top 40” stations, because it had occurred to me that I actually like the music that’s popular on the radio. As always, there’s still a lot of garbage out there (some of which is also glorious), but the dance-y hip-hop thing is totally up my alley. (The kids say “up my alley,” right?)

I’d heard a few songs by Rihanna before last year; I especially loved “What’s My Name?” and, like every reasonable person on earth, “Umbrella”. But there’s something different going on in “We Found Love.” I do love it, but I’m also intrigued by the weird little universe it inhabits. The melody, simple as it is, is kind of haunting, and that persistent synth is anything but. It’s a great combination.

The song is full of happiness, but it reminds me of coldness, of driving shitty rental cars in frigid temperatures. I don’t often feel nostalgia for the very recent past, but songs like this make that happen.


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