5 Reasons Why Rihanna is the Donna Summer of Our Time
By Jordan Shavarebi
Unless you have an extreme aversion to perfection, beauty, and beating the beat up, you need to grab Rihanna’s Talk That Talk. It’s a meticulously produced, ferocious new album that officially establishes her in-control image as an artist. Any attempt of the media to portray the artist as a victim (the girl’s been through a lot) has been squashed completely with Talk That Talk. And furthermore, she’s completely separated herself from the other ladies in the game—especially (the very beautiful and talented) Beyonce. There isn’t a censored bone in this album’s body—she dives full force into drunk love, cockiness, sex, and eating her… cake. She doesn’t have a president to impress or a husband to be discreet for, and it’s really fantastic.
In many ways, she’s emerging as the dance anthem-maker of our time: the main goals of her songs seem to be an undeniable beat and an addictive hook. She conveys her messages with little dancing, a powerful but unadorned voice, an ostentatious outfit, and the desire to make you move. In short, she is Donna Summer. And here’s why.
1. HUMBLE BEGINNINGS. Rihanna’s Pon De Replay is Donna Summer’s Love to Love You Baby. Their respective breakout songs were obviously commissioned by chauvinistic men who were interested in a strict sex-and-dance angle. But, by the time Donna reached the height of her career, you’d have been a fool to think that she was taking orders from any man, anywhere. Same with Rihanna. She’s the top.
2. AN UNDERLYING RAGE. To even the sexiest and sweetest of Rihanna’s songs, there exists a savage bite. Whether she’s singing about making love or making war, she does so with a palpable rage. The same can be said of Ms. Summer: Last Dance and On The Radio (one about begging a man to dance, the other about a pitiful breakup) are both slaps to the face with a leather glove.
3. WERQING THE STAGE. Both artists have distinct performance styles: little dancing, lots of strutting, and pure torch-singer precision. Rihanna gives little important to choreography in her videos as well, as the reason is simple: she doesn’t need it. Neither did Donna. They do plenty of werq without it.
4. TRENDY LADIES. Donna wore disco like it was her job. She defined an era not only with her voice, but with her silhouette, too. And Rihanna is, without a doubt, the trendiest girl in pop music today. You might’ve hated her red hair and combat boots, but there’s no denying that she draws from the fashions that define our time. And she serves them like Donna used to do: piping hot and ready to imitate.
5. SHE WANTS TO MAKE YOU MOVE. First and foremost, Rihanna wants to make you dance. And wasn’t that what disco was all about? It’s mindless yet amazing, and you can put your hands up and get lost in it. If you’re not already drunk when a Rihanna (or Donna, for that matter) song comes on at a club, you’re going to feel like it by the time the songs is done.
And to sum up: Isn’t it about time that Rihanna covers this song?