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Billboard: Rihanna's LOTB 2017's Most Influential Pop Single

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Guest Desperado

from Billboard's latest article,

How Rihanna's ‘Love On The Brain’ Became the Most Subtly Influential Pop Single of the Past Year

 

Rihanna-Love-On-The-Brain-2016-billboard-1548.jpg

On May 22, 2016 at the Billboard Music Awards, Rihanna stood poised in an ‘80s-style Thierry Mugler fitted-pantsuit, captivating audiences with her unorthodox cool-gal swagger while belting the track at the epicenter of her recent Anti LP, “Love on the Brain.” Despite her captivating wardrobe, it was Rihanna’s tantalizing voice that stole the show -- arguably  her best display of vocal talent on live TV, as the songstress fluttered through the ballad’s various octaves and demanding emotions.

Fittingly enough, the queen of Pop radio would collect the Billboard Chart Achievement Award, as her nine-week reigning No. 1 “Work” sat in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 alongside Ri's Anti follow-up single, “Needed Me.” Largely due to the performance’s undeniable execution, “Love on the Brain” first bowed at No. 83 on the June 11, 2016 issue of the Billboard Hot 100, marking the singer’s 55th entry -- and the beginning of the song's nearly year-long infiltration of pop music and pop culture.

Although the tune would fall off the chart the following week — thanks to continued focus on the eventually No. 7-peaking “Needed Me” — “Love on the Brain” remained ingrained in some of the public’s mind. Later in June, the song would lead Billboard's Top TV Songs chart for the month of May, helped by the dramatic closing four-minute sequence of Grey’s Anatomy’s season 12 finale, where “Love on the Brain” faintly played in the background.

Following all this early promotion, along with the cut being a staple during Rihanna’s Anti World Tour and a highlight of her MTV Video Vanguard Award medleys, "Love on the Brain” finally became an official single on September 27, 2016. The cut was first serviced to rhythmic and hip-hop/R&B radio stations, followed by Top 40 pop and adult contemporary. On the November 12, 2016 issue date of the Hot 100, “Love on the Brain” reentered at No. 80 and climbed slowly from there, becoming the Bajan icon’s landmark 30th top 10 hit on March 4, 2017, finally hitting a No. 5 peak on March 25 — more than a year after Anti’s release in January 2016.

At the time of its release as a single, radio formats were still in the throes of a love affair with Chainsmokers-flavored EDM while phasing out dancehall riddims (noticeably lead by “Work”) in favor of trap-pop bangers. Meanwhile, hip-hop had emerged as the clear sound of the streaming world, which was beginning to dictate the momentum of radio and the charts to an unprecedented degree. In a way, Rihanna releasing “Love on the Brain” so late in the game — despite its early accolades — seemed like a misread of the music climate, just like releasing “Kiss It Better” the same day as “Needed Me” had proven to be for the former. 

Another key factor in the song’s magnetic success is its vocal performance and context. If there is a singer apt enough to tackle the heart-wrenching emotional depth of the lyrics, that would be Rihanna.

The success of “Love on the Brain” on pop radio today is a rare find, because traditional R&B’s presence on the format is an oddity. Earlier this year, we begged the question “does pop radio have an issue with Beyoncé?” -- a star who is on equal footing with Rihanna, sharing the duties of bringing the old sounds and spirit of R&B to the forefront of the mainstream. With the exception of adult R&B radio stations -- which have seen a sweltering rise of superb vocal performance underscored by softer instrumentals, thanks to “Love on the Brain” -- top 40 seems to still have a problem with the genre unless it’s doused in hip-hop production and pop-friendly hooks. Frankly speaking, “Love on the Brain” is not a true hit-factory, pop song — it’s more akin to Etta James or Motown styled soul.

In a way, “Love on the Brain” serves as a continuation of the themes of emotional and mental abuse explored on Anti as well as her previous albums, 2012’s Unapologetic and 2009’s Rated R. The mystery of the song’s subject -- which reasonably could have been about Drake, Anti’s only credited guest and her rumored at-the-time boyfriend -- adds to the mystique of the pop star's storied history with romance, which continues to engross media and fans. With Rihanna’s delivery, there’s an earnest sincerity that’s rarely been felt in a ballad since “Hello,” which in itself recalls the theatrical flair of classic '90s ballads like Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” or Toni Braxton’s “Un-Break My Heart.” 

read more on https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/8038410/rihanna-love-on-the-brain-pop-influential?utm_source=twitter&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral

LegendaRIH :asmrchew5:

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Guest Desperado
1 hour ago, badgallaura said:

Also @mrtblr you post this thread praising Rihanna then upvote Paul's post in regards of payola. Whose side are you on y08PrMd.png.

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for nothing actually lol. if u look at the threads i made, i upvote everyone's opinion on it :explainga:

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