After a number of false starts courtesy of singles ‘FourFiveSeconds,’ ‘B*tch Better Have My Money,’ and ‘American Oxygen,’ Grammy winning pop diva Rihanna saw her 8th era finally get an official kickoff with the Drake-assisted single ‘Work.’ Skyrocketing to the top of the Hot 100 shortly after its debut, the Caribbean-kissed tune would at long last lead her faithful fans on the path to unlocking her octonary opus ‘Anti.’
Yet, while ‘Work’ won week after week atop the singles charts thanks to some serious sales and streaming, its parent album wasn’t exactly singing the same tune. Living up to its apt titling by boasting a track list of some of her most sonically adventurous and daring work to date, initial critical and commercial reception almost seemed to reflect her fan base’s displeasure with the product and the long wait for its delivery. Evidenced by a less than impressive #27 debut on the Billboard 200, the project’s promotional campaign didn’t help matters and left many-a-head scratched (see: free downloads, “platinum status,” etc.).
But, as officially counted streaming figures helped float the island beauty’s 8th project to the upper rankings of Billboard 200, fans continued to whine their waists to ‘Work’ with hopes its follow-up, ‘Kiss It Better,’ would be just what the doctor ordered to remedy the era’s shortcomings.
However, time would prove the suggestion a misdiagnosis:
Forecasted by many to be a surefire hit, anticipation for ‘Better’s accompanying music video was only amplified after the songstress took to stage on her ‘Anti’ world tour to croon live renditions of it. However, upon its dual radio release with sister song, ‘Needed Me,’ ‘Better’ found itself left in the dust.
Ironically, the ultimate nail to the coffin may have been the very vehicle expected to hoist it to the Hot 100’s upper rankings – its music video. An uninspired, low budgeted collection of beauty shots, disappointment in the visual and song’s overall promotion appeared to echo across Billboard as ‘Better’ not only debuted at #88, but (to date) has peaked at #62 – a sure miss for the serial hitmaker.
What went wrong?
Since ‘Anti’s official release, the 80’s rock ballad/Prince-inspired ‘Kiss It Better’ immediately stood out as a critical frontrunner amongst its counterparts, with some even arguing it’s one of Rih’s best offerings ever. Did ‘Kiss’ get the short end of the stick on the promotional tip or was ‘Needed Me’ simply the better choice to follow ‘Work?’
In other words, you tell us: