Rihanna, Kanye West, & Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds”

Finally, the “Great Rihanna Drought of 2014” is officially over! On Saturday night, the Barbadian native dropped the new single, “FourFiveSeconds” after teasing her fans with Instagram studio snippets of two new tracks, including “Kiss It Better,” and the addictive, “Ain’t None Of This Promised.” True to Rihanna’s word that any new music would be announced via her directly, an iTunes link to the the new track was advertised on her official website with little warning (West did, however, tease the track at last week’s iHeartMedia Music Summit).

Despite Rihanna’s pushing for the track, it’s uncertain whether the cut is indeed the lead single from Rihanna’s much anticipated follow-up to 2012’s Grammy Award-winning, Unapologetic. The sparse, country influenced track features Kanye West and Paul McCartney, who previously made headlines this year after releasing West’s ode to daughter, North, “Only One.” As such, it’s questionable whether “FourFiveSeconds,” which in-itself is a drastic departure from Rihanna’s urban R&B sound, is a release from the songstress’s tentatively titled, “#R8,” or just another single from Kanye West’s own 8th studio release.

Featuring Sir McCartney on a simple acoustic guitar backdrop and organ bridge, Rihanna’s vocals shine on the track’s D major chord progression. A regretful tune detailing wayward partying and its subsequent remorse, the track’s stripped production and instrumentation is an unlikely, yet refreshing addition to the duo’s list of hits. While Rihanna’s return to the studio showcases strong and emotive vocals, Kanye’s own contribution flounders next to the “Stay” hit-maker’s formidable performance with an unnecessary pitched vocal loop underscoring Kanye’s own lackluster singing.

Grab your umbrellas, Rihanna Navy! It’ll be raining hits soon enough!

Below is Rihanna’s own viral reaction to the song’s iTunes release:

UPDATE: “This is the first song that my fans are going to hear from the new album.” Can’t help but notice that  Rihanna and McCartney never even look at each other, let alone speak with one another!

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Kanye West (featuring Paul McCartney), “Only One”

Kanye West’s new material recently made headlines after Seth Rogan revealed in a Rolling Stone interview that the Yeezus rapper rapped his entire follow-up album for the comedian from the backseat of a limo. After the opening lines of the album’s first single, however, any listener would question how well Kanye fared without his trusty Auto-tune.

Opening the new year with one of music’s most unexpected collaborations, Kanye West and Sir Paul McCartney have released, “Only One,”—a minimal ballad featuring McCartney on electronic keyboard and West on, well, Auto-tune. The track recalls 2008’s 808s & Heartbreak, an album inspired by his mother’s unexpected passing and a called off engagement with designer, Alexis Phifer. The single cover and handwritten lyrics posted to West’s official website suggests that the inspiration for this venture, however, is his one-year old daughter, North “Nori” West, with Kim Kardashian.

While the gesture is sweet, the track falls short of what most expect from a Kanye West lead single. While West’s work as a producer is nothing less than impeccable, he’s never been an impressive singer—a point the sensationalist “Only One” proves all too well. Let’s just hope that whatever West has planned for the follow-up to the critically-acclaimed, Yeezus, doesn’t turn out to be 808s & Heartbreak, Part 2.