From The Vault: Rihanna – ‘Pon De Replay’

The year 2005 was a busy one to say the least. Indeed, Amerie was ruling the airwaves with her ‘1 Thing’, the Pussycat Dolls released the now-classic ‘Don’t Cha’ and Bow Wow served up one of the biggest hit of his career in ‘Let Me Hold You’

Still, in retrospect, that year’s biggest “contribution” was the launch of TGJ favorite, Rihanna! Alas, this week’s From The Vault is dedicated to the model’s debut single, ‘Pon De Replay’.

The infectious Dancehall/R&B/Pop fusion was produced by Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers and served as Rih’s lucky first strike. For, the cut reached the second position on both the American and British charts and peaked inside the Top 20 of every country it was released in.

‘Replay’s club-themed visual was a music channel regular and arguably showcases the upper echelon of Ms. Fenty’s limited showmanship (see: “come run run run run”).


Dismissed as a one-hit wonder, few at that time would have deemed the stunner as one who’d go on to be one the biggest artists on the planet. A fact which re-affirms that, with the right backing, any-and-everything is possible. For, as much as we can appreciate the track, it doesn’t scream “Superstar Alert”, nor does the “singer” in the video.

After experimenting with her image and sound a plenty with varying results (see: rock chick, femme fatale, dance queen…), Team Rih have finally realized that what makes their “product” so palatable is its Island-bravado. Hence, there’s no coincidence that theres been a reversion to cooking up songs in the vein of ‘Replay’, and in doing so they’ve scored some of their biggest hits (see: ‘Rude Boy’, ‘What’s My Name’).

For all her vocal crimes, Rihanna remains a compelling concept as both a “brand” and “musical movement”. So much so that even when the going is tough (see: ‘Rated R’), all that was needed to remedy the predicament, was a referral to this her “genesis” for the map forward.  As the saying goeth, “if it ain’t broke, why fix it”? Of course, her voice is an entirely different story.

Randomness: Are we the only one side-eyeing the fact that this specific track has been relegated to a mere video interlude while on tour? It would have been ‘interesting’ to witness its evolution through the years. You know, kinda like Beyonce and ‘Crazy In Love’.

Your thoughts?

Posted under:

Comments 47

Please Post Your Comments & Reviews

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Sleazy June 3, 2012

    Lol this song you to be the Tune! I always mimicked their voices at the beginning She was like the female Sean paul and reggae beyonce

  2. Cockiness June 3, 2012

    Your analysis is completely wrong my friend. even though RudeBoy and What’s my name have been big hits for Rihanna, they dont compare to the impact of Umbrella, Disturbia, only Girl, S&M, WFL and future hit WHYB. Rihanna cant be put in a box

    • POP ROYALTY ( Révolution) June 3, 2012

      and “unfaithful” as well was a mega hit ww ……

      rihanna hits are always something big worldwide !

  3. POP ROYALTY ( Révolution) June 3, 2012

    First ONE B****** and M*********** 😛

    this particuar Video is what made me a Stan for this C*** Back in the DAY. she was just the Best To me At that Time.

    but things just kept on going Wrong since then …. i loved Her So much Before Umbrella and the whole “Bad GAL” image she PRETENDED to sport after “Umbrella” put her On the Front with Ppl like “Beyonce” ……………..

    look how far she went with that ” Bad Gal” image !! 🙄

    • POP ROYALTY ( Révolution) June 3, 2012

      But I still LOVE her tho. can’t help it 🙂 , she’s just Too Awesome to be hated. and I really Loved her for a Long time

      Love My RiRi and i wish she take her career “And life” More serious than that.

    • WILD DEBUTANTE June 3, 2012

      Just because Rihanna isnt the same as she was when she first hit the scene doesnt mean Rihanna is being fake now.

      Rihanna has grown as a person and an artist. Clearly, at such a young age and under such a critical position as a new artist, she had people in her ear telling her how to be, what to wear, and what to do far as her image.

      Now that shes older, more experienced in life, and has pretty control over her career, you can tell now Rihanna is comfortable being her true self.

      I could tell from looking at pictures of her BTS back in the day, and from past interviews about her life in Barbados, Rihanna was always a “rebellious” fun, wild girl. Its just NOW people who aren’t really big fans are seeing her true colors now because she’s more freely exposing it.

  4. Lax June 3, 2012

    Shes on a journey and it is long and hard, you have to keep
    planning your work and working your plan. Many who has
    come before her and made it big did not just achieve fame
    and riches over night they have worked long and hard to achieve
    their dream and shes willing to burn the midnight oil to get there.

    She know that if and when she falls off that horse, the only thing for her
    to do is to get back on that sucker and ride him to the sucker falls down.
    Morning glory for the Haters

  5. POP ROYALTY ( Révolution) June 3, 2012

    No i’m not the #1 …………
    and it is *particular* it was a typo 😳 …….

    • LAX June 3, 2012

      h** hush

  6. Ugh June 3, 2012

    Ahhhh back in the day when i really liked her. I was so excited and proud to a west indian (other than a jamaican) make it so far. Now she’s just a s****. Patting her p****, showing her b******, swearing, making vids smoking weed, grabbing her pancakes, attention seeking and the list goes on. I know ppl change but the chick changed for the worst.

    • Lax June 3, 2012

      Yep a paid s****!!!!!

    • LAX June 3, 2012

      H** STFU

      • Lax June 3, 2012

        B**** make me!!!!!!!

  7. Really? June 3, 2012

    Has she really changed that much though? Her eye contact with the camera, clothing and dance moves were still very suggestive the only difference between then and now is then she was 17 so music execs toned it down a little to what todays society deems acceptable/ palatble for 17 year olds. Now shes 24 so its less sugar coated and more amped up – but not really much of a deviation just a lot more explicit of what she started out doing. In this 2005 vid shes still in a boob top showing lots of skin but because she pairs with jeans and sneaks it doesn’t look so explicit. Shes still doing a wine and telling the boys to come hither with facial expression, and lyrics but this is softened by blending it with less obvious lyrics. Kanye shrug at the end of the day who’s cutting the cheques? If you dont like it dont buy/ give airplay!

    • POP ROYALTY ( Révolution) June 3, 2012

      are you a guy or a girl ?

      • Really? June 3, 2012

        What does my gender have to do with anything? o.O I love RiRi and her Dont give a f*ck style. I like some f her songs and I could leave some of the others – shes not the best vocalist in the world but there are a lot worse – all I’m saying is if you dont like it dont buy it. Shes not the best role model, but never proclaimed to be and there are others such as GaGa and Madonna doing and who have done a lot worse. The Grape Juice always has so much vitriol for Rihanna yet they cant stop reporting on her and giving her airplay its like some sick twisted obsession. Let the girl be.

  8. LAX June 3, 2012

    Thats the Rihanna I like

  9. NAYAH82 June 3, 2012

    I started liking her music when unfaithful came out. I wasn’t feeling this song…although I’m a Island garl myself. She paid her dues and made it all the way to the top.

    • Really? June 3, 2012

      Is Rihanna the only Island girl out there though? To me she reps US far harder than any of the Islands if anything, she just keeps her accent that’s all, plus just because shes an Island girl does she have to rep every island girl out there? Thats just lazy and stereotypical to think one is just like all the rest. Stop putting people in a box. Besides i dont know what kind of girl I’d be after the person I thought was the love of my life bashed my face in and the whole world found out and commented, but i’m damn sure I wouldn’t be the person i was before. Plus shes only 24 – a whole lot of growing to do.

      • NAYAH82 June 3, 2012

        I was talking about when she came out not now sweetheart. I don’t care for Rih’s life…Cuz im too busy living mine.

      • Really? June 3, 2012

        Your reply doesnt really make much sense now does it? Since you are reading this blog and all…? -__-

  10. Gilberto June 3, 2012

    I didn’t like Pon De Replay when it came out and I still don’t do. I started liking Rihanna after SOS. I don’t listen Rihanna since Loud era. Her albums have been horrible and rushed lately.

  11. Sleazy June 3, 2012

    If you look back at this era and next you can see rihanna bad girl act is just an ACT lol and I think after her and chris thingy she lost it! Cus let’s face it she actually thinks she is a THUG O_o justin bieber is more of an thug than ri Bless her soul

  12. Um OK June 3, 2012

    I didn’t really care for Pon De Play back in 2005. SOS is what turned me into a Rihanna fan and then of course Umbrella and GGGB album just sealed it. Listening to it now tho is a different story. I’ve come to appreciate it more now than I did back then.

  13. S****** Blonde June 3, 2012

    This was one of the club anthems in 2005, everybody goes crazy in the club everytime they put this song, good memories, my fraternity brothers in the college (university) we did some crazy s***.

    • NO1CURR June 3, 2012

      Like f*** horses & fist each other, fun times.

  14. Really? June 3, 2012

    Songs of Rihanna’s I liked/like:
    All of the Lights
    Boom Boom
    Breakin’ Dishes
    California King Bed
    Cheers (Drink to That)”
    Don’t Stop the Music”
    Live Your Life
    Man Down”
    Question Existing
    Roc Me Out”
    Roll It
    Rude Boy
    Te Amo

    Those songs make the most of her voice – shes a pop star and can make good music – these days you dont need a great voice to make good music and sometimes you dont want to listen to something deep – just some disposable pop to get down to – Rihanna’s music does what it says o the tin. In terms of slackness – i have seen a lot worse – Madonna, beyonce, janet , GaGa etc all practically similate s** on stage. In terms of vocals I’ve heard a lot worse – Madonna, Gaga, Katy Perry, etc.

    • Lax June 3, 2012

      The sound and comment of reason, well written
      ‘and well stated, good read!

      • Really? June 3, 2012


    • Stephen June 3, 2012

      Well said, but don’t u think GaGa can sing a bit better than Rihanna?

      • Really? June 3, 2012

        Perhaps marginally but TBH I really couldnt really list as many songs of GaGas that i actually liked. I liked Pokerface and Bad Romance – so goes to show its not always about the voice when making music anymore -you have to put out stuff people can dance to and/relate with and Gaga takes it to an extreme I cant relate with I’m afraid.

      • Stephen June 4, 2012

        You’re right. GaGa is also vocally lacking, and Rihanna’s voice is more interesting than GaGa’s, so is her music

  15. Auntie_Jackie June 3, 2012

    I think she used to be pretty awesome. She never had a strong singing voice, but she came off as a unique product during the “Island Onslaught” years when Sean Paul was DOMINATING the U.S. charts. She’s just become one big stunt now.

  16. Navy June 3, 2012

    jamming to rihanna’s G4L at present!who says rihanna aint no thug yo?!WE AN ARMY, BETA YET CRAZY, BETA YET NAVY GUNS IN THE AIR!

  17. NATURALBEAUTY June 3, 2012

    Fun fact, Music of the Sun, which was released 7 years ago has only gone gold & has sold less than 500K copies. Remember when she made her acting debut on Bring It On All: All or Nothing & she had Solange dancing to this song? Riri is so shady 🙂

  18. MonsterHive June 3, 2012

    I was never here for this song. Rihanna’s best album is Loud, that whole era was amazing. The songs were sweet & edgy. California King Bed & S&M slayed my soul, & the promo shots were so beautiful. Talk the Talk was just a big blur to me.

  19. number1k9 June 3, 2012

    It’s kidna crazy. You listen to this song “Pon de Replay” from 2005. And then listen to her current single “Where Have You Been” from 2012…. and it doesn’t even seem or sound like the same artist.

    That is both good and bad in a sense. Good cause it shows versatility but bad because it is kinda like what happened to who you were when you debuted.

    I kinda agree tho, her Island infused singles are some of my favorites. I called “Rude Boy” a hit right after listening to ‘Rated R.’ And “What’s My Name?” has got to be my favorite single/song she’s released since 2010.

    Still with all that said, Rihanna does create good Pop music. And that is really all I expect from her as an artist. So as long as she continues that, I am here for it.

    • Really? June 3, 2012


    • Stephen June 3, 2012

      That’s her area of specialty, and once people are finally able to realise that vocals aren’t her area of specialty, they’ll learn to stop criticizing her

  20. JER June 3, 2012

    that’s why Rihanna has been a success becasue she WORKED FOR IT. Nobody came out in 2005 and said HERE’S RIHANNA SHE’S A LEGEND, SHE’S GONNA SLAY THE CHARTS AND SNATCH WIGS! Everyone said she was a strangerbitch, a one-hit wonder, and would never last. SOME even said she was a reject version of Nina Sky. All the real.

    That’s why Rita Ora is a nobody, because they came out the gate saying she’s gonna slay, snatch, and is a legend. PULEASE.

  21. common June 3, 2012

    ofcause rihanna can sing!!! only that grapejuice and its followers claim that she cant!!! respectable critics call her a great vocalist with a unique powerful voice…she got grammy nominies on her vocal perfomance…so if u say she cant sing u probably got an ear problem or uve been brainwashed by this site.

    • Really? June 3, 2012

      She has a unique voice I will give you that! Plus I love the fact she keeps and maintains her accent but that does not take away from the fact that at times when she sings live she can sound pretty awful/ of key. I like the way she experiments with different sounds, beats and tempos like catchy Umbrella, then slowed down heart felt “We all want love” (shes versatile) I like her funloving dont f with me vibe and I like the light messages of heart break and whatever she has in her songs light pop that every one can relate to and jam to. But she no way has the same vocal prowress as Beyonce for example but unlike Beyonce she can keep it young and relevant for her fans and switch it up – i think people are getting tired of Beys same whole weave swooshing burlesque routines – plus her music videos are so boring – I’m needing Bey to switch it up as a performer although she slays as a vocalist. Each entertainer has their strong & weak points – Im just being honest.

  22. Really? June 3, 2012

    You should all read Rihannas Glamour Magazine 201 interview for reasons on why shes changed – simply put she has the creative control now that she didnt have then because then they were targeting a younger audience, now shes older she has more freedom – she often plays a character for her art and just wants to be a no holds barred rockstar.

    • Really? June 3, 2012


Recommended Posts