Rihanna has faced some pretty negative press in the past year, what with her inability to be punctual, her questionable social media behavior and whatever that was with Chris Brown (best believe her publicist is thrilled that's over). But there's one thing that remains indisputable about her career: She's the queen of the guest feature.
No one handles a hook like Rih. Not even Beyoncé, who seems to find it physically impossible not to be the star of every show. So when Shakira announced that the Barbados-bred beauty would be sharing the spotlight on her latest single, "Can't Remember to Forget You," the fans prepared for something epic.
The result, the reggae-flavored "Can't Remember to Forget You," made its premiere on Ryan Seacrest's radio show on Monday — and as with anything that breeds great expectations, the response has been mixed.
The most popular complaints: That Rihanna is not featured prominently enough, that Shakira sounds like a farm animal, that the whole thing is bluntly formulaic and (sigh) boring and a little too much like a Maroon 5 B-side. See, there was the potential for something really interesting here: Two provocative female artists with wildly distinct voices and public personas come together, and the best they can do is a very literal reggae/rock mashup?
It's not bad. It just didn't live up to expectations. For reference, here are Rihanna's 5 best featured artist moments. 5. T.I.'s "Live Your Life"
If anyone else had tried mimicking the "Numa Numa" song a good 4 years
after it went viral, they'd have been laughed out of town. But Rih does it and everyone sings along.4. Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie"
This 2010 collaboration was one of Rihanna's bravest-ever moves, even if her subsequent reunion with Chris Brown made it a tough listen.3. Jay Z's "Run This Town"
After a couple of months off the radar, Rihanna returned to the charts with this triumphant anthem, effectively stealing Jay's thunder alongside Kanye West.2. Drake's "Take Care"
Rihanna proved herself a master of subtlety with this moody turn, which had everyone and their mothers wishing those rumors about her and Drake were true.1. Kanye West's "All of the Lights"
A number of superstars — including Alicia Keys, John Legend, Fergie, and even Elton John — lent their voices to this rap opus, but it was Rihanna who commanded the hook. Listen: She always delivers.
In the face of these hits, how can we honestly get behind this new tune? Well... there's still hope for the music video.