Last night–the evening of pop singer Rihanna’s birthday–she released two remixes of existing album tracks. From her album Talk That Talk came a remix of “Birthday Cake” featuring Chris Brown’s vocals; from Mr. Brown’supcoming Fortune came “Turn Up the Music” featuring Rihanna’s vocals.
The star-crossed, or something, musicians had been hinting through Twitter about the upcoming collaboration, and while the songs’ musical merits are negligible, the political valences are giving us a headache. (Mr. Brown punched and bit Rihanna in 2009, but announces on “Birthday Cake” “I want to f— you right now.”)
As we noted last week, Rihanna has been moving towards a public embrace of her abuser for years, moving from a pose of aggressive strength to one of masochism and perpetually baiting the public with new Chris Brown allusions (including, recently, a model resembling Chris Brown slapping her in the “We Found Love” video).
Susceptible to every publicity stunt, the blogger Perez Hilton (himself featured as Rihanna’s coddled pet in the “S&M” video, which is both about the singer’s love of being abused and about her relationship with the media) loved the stunt. “Genius!!!!!!!!!!!!!,” wrote Perez Hilton. “Consider our mind blown!”