Album: A Girl Like Me
Rihanna is riveted by her crush in the spry “S.O.S. (Rescue Me)”
The Soft Cell sample of “Tainted Love” opens the single, setting an imperative tone. In the intro, she says it’s the first time she’s ever been in love with a guy so much.
“Lalala lalala la la lala la oh/You know, I never felt like this before/Lalala lalala la la lala la oh/Feels like so real.”
In the first verse, she says once she starts to think about him, he’s on her mind for the rest of theday. She’ll give him a call, asking him to hang out with her, determined to spend a day with him. She thinks they are compatible and she has found her perfect match. She gets nervous around him and forgets what she has to say. It freaks her out and she doesn’t know how to handle it.
“I'm obsessive when just one thought of you comes up/And I'm aggressive just one thought of close enough/You got me stressing, incessantly pressing the issue/'Cause every moment gone you know I miss you/I'm the question and you're of course the answer/Just hold me close boy 'cause I'm your tiny dancer/You make me shaken up, never mistaken/But I can't control myself, got me calling out for help.”
In the chorus, she seeks out advice from her friends and family on how to deal with being in love. She’s not the type of girl to be fixated on solely on a guy. And in a nod to the Soft Cell single, she says that her fantasies of what their relationship could be like keep her awake at night.
“S.O.S. please someone help me/It's not healthy for me to feel this way/Y.O.U. are making this hard, I can't take it, see it don't feel right/S.O.S. please someone help me/It's not healthy for me to feel this way/Y.O.U. are making this hard/You got me tossin' and turnin' and can't sleep at night.”
In the bridge, she wants someone to talk her out of her crush and remind her of all the interests she used to have. She doesn’t like being extremely focused on a guy. All her love and compassion are involved in her feelings for him.
“This time please someone come and rescue me/'Cause you on my mind it's got me losing it/I'm lost, you got me lookin' for the rest of me/Love is testing me but still I'm losing it/This time please someone come and rescue me/'Cause you on my mind, it's got me losing it/I'm lost, you got me looking for the rest of me/Got the best of me, so now I'm losing it.”
In the second verse, once he’s in the room, she thinks she’s going crazy as she tries to think of what to say and what to do to get his attention. She gets butterflies in her stomach and has a desire to please him which overrides her logic. He’s taught her not to be self-absorbed. She says that he goes out with her, he would be satisfied.
“Just your presence and I second guess my sanity/Yes it's a lesson, it's unfair, you stole my vanity/My tummy's up in knots so when I see you I get so hot/My common sense is out the door, can't seem to find the lock/
Take on me (uh huh) you know inside you feel it right/Take me on I'm put desire up in your arms tonight/I'm out with you, you got me head over heels/Boy you keep me hanging on the way you make me feel.”
The chorus and bridge are sung again.
In the second bridge, she says she’s making herself vulnerable which she hardly ever does. If it were up to her, their relationship would be limited to flirting and nothing more. However, she can’t stop herself from wanting more.
“Boy, you know you got me feeling open/And boy, your love’s enough with words unspoken/I said boy I'm telling you, you got me open/I don't know what to do it's true/I'm going crazy over you/I'm begging.”
The chorus and bridge are sung again.
Rihanna’s “la la’s” to end the single.
She’s not the type of girl that falls for every boy she sees. Love is a foreign emotion and the fact that she may be in it, scares her. She considers herself an independent girl who doesn’t need a guy to complete her. Suddenly, though, there’s one guy she can’t get out of her mind and she can’t be herself when she’s with him. She turns to her friends to find out if they ever felt confused and not elated at feeling love.
The single’s charm is in its appreciation of 80s songs. It references several in the lyrics: “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by Kim Wilde, “The Way You Make Me Feel” (both in the first verse), “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell (chorus) and “Take On Me” by A-ha (second verse).
Rihanna’s self-reliant vocals are snappy and questioning. She isn’t sure if its love and if so, she would like to be cautious. However, against her better judgement, she’s letting herself fall for him.
The electrifying arrangement refashions the sample as electro R&B. The drum is more pronounced and therefore, rousing and the beats spring at a speedier pace. It improves on the sample, which is an anomaly especially in a genre which prefers to plagarize.
The impressive “S.O.S.” is a delightful homage to the 80s and a standout track for Rihanna.
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