“You feel hopeless like nothing can save you and when it’s over and it’s gone you almost wish you could have all that bad stuff back so that you can have the good.”
As the opening monologue of Rihanna’s We Found Love video comes to an end, you find yourself wondering: a) why is she talking about Chris Brown in a Mancunian accent? b) is this Love The Way You Lie: Part III?
Turns out, however, the northern husk belongs to none other than model Agyness Deyn and what you’re about to see does everything that Love the Way You Lie failed to do: capturing the fire of a turbulent relationship without the need for actual flames – or Eminem.
It’s four minutes and thirty-six seconds of unearthly hedonism, fashion and creative filmmaking. Heavily inspired by the teenage decadence of Skins, it makes what’s actually a pretty average Calvin Harris dance track come alive. You feel like an uncomfortable voyeur watching the intimate lives of an un-rescuable, beautiful couple.
Shot in Northern Ireland, We Found Love feels authentically British; grungy, grimy and grey. A muddy (if strangely small) rave nods to the dance scene of our past and of the festivals of today, and the styling reflects the club cultures of the 60s, 80s and 90s along with today: glossy black eyes, denim, nudity, high-waisted shorts, cropped tops, Doc Martins, cat eye glasses. Rihanna’s the girl at that party you couldn’t stop staring at; the one whose wardrobe you later stalked on Facebook.
The music video is certainly helped by the styling, shooting and Rihanna’s swoon-worthy co-star, Hackney born boxer and model Dudley O’Shaughnessy (go forth and Google him). But what makes it worth seeing is how is how genuine it is. It captures love and lust in all its filthy, dirty honesty – not as a wipe-clean, sugar coated ideal. There’s no coy asking us to stand under an um-ber-ella and no “oh look at me I’m singing about S&M, how na-ugh-ty”. It’s raw and real and fucking sexy.
With We Found Love, Rihanna does what Beyonce can’t do without an alter ego, and what other popstars can’t do at all. It’s the best video of the year; the best video of Rihanna’s career and I can’t stop watching it.
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Rihanna’s We Found Love