Rihanna's "Where Have You Been" video proves she can dance, but that doesn't mean she should

Categories: Poptimystic

Rihanna Where Have You Been Poptimystic.jpg
It's like Rihanna has to prove something. We know she can do serious, and sexy, and frightening, and strong, and addicted. But now, in one of her less controversial music videos post-Chris Brown, she really wants to remind us that she can dance. And Rihanna can dance if she wants to. Hell, she can even look frighteningly like Diana Ross if she wants to. However, "Where Have You Been," RiRi's second Calvin Harris collaboration and third single from Talk That Talk, had so much visual potential, it's a shame "Where Have You Been" has gone to her waist.

The lyrics, along with Harris' production, begged for a more controversial creative treatment -- something like more drugs, sex and torment like "We Found Love" -- but, instead, it walks the path of least resistance. We get multiple sequences of Rihanna dancing and little else, since her slithering in a lake like a man-eating snake does little more than prove she can do The Worm.

Even if Rihanna can dance, which she can, she doesn't need to prove it -- at this point in her career, it's an expectation that, as someone who releases dance-pop music, she can, you know, dance. It comes with the territory. What Rihanna needs to prove is that her art has substance and that she and her team can come up with more creative ideas than film references -- she did Clockwork Orange for "You Da One" and now she's doing Anaconda and Apocalypto. For once, she should just do Rihanna -- drug-addled, love-hungry, "We Found Love" Rihanna. Storyline, that's what we want. We don't care where Dance Rihanna has been, that's where she should stay -- at least for another few videos anyways.

Cheryl Cole Poptimystic Call My Name.jpg
Perfect Timing: Calvin Harris has also been working with Cheryl Cole -- you may remember her from her brief stint as a judge before Nicole Scherzinger filled in on The X Factor USA last year. The music video for the lead single from her third album, A Million Lights, also dropped this week.

"Call My Name" is more poppy than Rihanna's "Where Have You Been." It's also distinctively Calvin Harris. What's interesting, though, is that the "Call My Name" music video is also dominantly dance-based. So Rihanna, take note: If you're going to do a choreography-heavy video, it needs to commit fully to the steps, forgetting about storyline, or lack thereof, entirely.

"Call My Name" doesn't have a point at all -- Cole dances around with some guys she meets in a waterway, then she drives her BMW around, looking all sexy like. No message, just moves and some well-placed eyes at the camera. That's all, and that's all it needs to be -- Dance-Pop 101.



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7 comments
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Gabby
Gabby

I absolutely love Rihanna! But I think she doesn't dance because her dancers always outshine her. My eye was drawn to the dancers, she just not sharp and fluid. However she is better than Katy Perry, not sure about Gaga though, because Gaga is sharp at least. I say this as someone with over 10 years dancing experience. Also, Rihanna is fun music, not music that you want to drown your sorrows to really. The dancers are so cool, the not so flattering references to certain cultures not so much - but it is a visual feast.

wildmango
wildmango

yeah I agree about her actual technical skill! the dancers outshine her, and you can see she's thinking about the moves while she does them. Not quite at the "next level."

Dinnyq
Dinnyq

I loved the video. She's a great dancer and executed each step perfectly. Loved the intense look in her eyes as she danced as well. "Where Have You Been" is a perfect song in terms of its beat and her vocals. The video is one of her best yet: creative, interesting, sexy, visually appealing, and with a smash dance routine. I wouldn't have changed a thing about it. I love how versatile Rihanna is! She is such a chameleon and can literally pull off any look of style of music and dance. That's why she's a superstar. She's wiling to experiment and she never gets it wrong!

Jimbeezy07
Jimbeezy07

I'm by NO means a dancer or musician however, I loved and appreciated the choreography and the concept of the video but when I actually sat down and watched it closely, I DIDN'T think Ri. executed it well. I thought she looked amateurish, especially in the first dance sequence. She seemed unfocused and her movement seemed half-hearted, I felt like her background dancers carried the choreography in the vid. they were in the moment more-so than Ri. BuT... that's just MY opinion.

wildmango
wildmango

I disagree, few music videos these days truly showcase choreography like this one does. It's nice to see dancing where every bass riff is used, every beat brought to life with motion! Not every video must tell a story, or have some deep conceptual point---perhaps that's your own preference. This video connects with the viewer at a visceral level, the beat, the emotion translated to dance. Rihanna really hasn't done anything like it, and she does so stunningly. Here we see that she can out-dance her contemporaries (Katy Perry does cute but simplistic moves, Lady Gaga spasmodically jerks around). I recommend you open your mind to different formats of music videos!! Perhaps you should also widen your knowledge of dance as well.

Caelynw
Caelynw

Funny, for a critic I don't think that you know much about music. You say that Rihanna should prove that her music has substance-well that's all she has been doing for the last few years. This video needed to be very different for it to really make an impact. The controversial Rihanna is something that everyone has grown accustomed to. The dance Rihanna gives a taste of both the past and the future. Secondly, since when does making dance pop music prove that you can dance? I think we can count on one hand the number of singers who can pop music and dance to it. This video was a smart move by Rihanna and her team- a team that has elevated her to the top of pop music stardom.

Paul Lovato
Paul Lovato

 you're precious, rihannas music is substantial?  hilarious.

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