Cheers (Drink To That)
Rihanna celebrates the start of the weekend at the bar in the disjointed “Cheers (Drink to That)”
Multiple conversations open the song, setting a casual tone. A man can be heard ordering two drinks from the bartender. Another man offers a person a shot. (“ 1, 2/We're taking shots in here, you want one?”)
Then, the chorus breaks in which samples the bridgeof Avril Lavigne’s “I’m With You.” After Lavigne “yeah yeah’s,” Rihanna makes a toast to her friends. She says that she’s glad that the weekend has finally arrived and to savor every drop of the Jameson (an Irish whiskey). She tells them to forget the awful day they had and their problems. Now is the time to have fun. She asks to everyone to raise their glasses. (“Cheers to the freakin' weekend/I drink to that, yeah yeah/Oh let the Jameson sink in/I drink to that, yeah yeah/Don't let the bastards get ya down/Turn it around with another round/There's a party at the bar/Everybody put ‘cha glasses up and I drink to that/I drink to that.”)
In the first verse, she says people to need to live for the moment. It’s in other people’s nature to gossip. She made sure to dress up and is on the lookout for a guy (“Life's too short to be sittin' round miserable/And people gon' talk whether you doing bad or good, yeah/Got a drink on my mind and my mind on my money, yeah yeah/Looking so bomb, gonna find me a honey.”)
In the pre-chorus, she’s wearing her favorite sunglasses while enjoying the friendly atmosphere of the bar. (“Got my Ray Bans on and I'm feelin' hella cool tonight, yeah/Everybody's vibin' so don't nobody start a fight, yeah.”)
The chorus is sung again.
In the second verse, she’s headed to get another drink. She knows her credit card bill is going to be at least $200 after tonight. When she sees the receipt, she’s going to kick herself for spending so much money. However, it’s worth it for all the conversations she’s having tonight. By now, women are dancing on tables. (“Bout to hop on the bar/Put it all on my card tonight, yeah/Might be mad in the morning/But you know we goin' hard tonight/It's getting coyote ugly up in here, no Tyra/It's only up from here, no downward spiral.”)
The pre-chorus is sung again.
The chorus is sung again.
In the final chorus, the Lavigne sample plays while the crowd sings up to the “let the Jameson sink in.” Rihanna finishes with the rest of the chorus.
“Cheers (Drink to That)” is trying to be two songs: a super happy made up drinking song written on a napkin while having way too many and a failed mashup. Somewhere in between, Rihanna’s at the bar searching for love. There’s too much going on.
First, the Lavigne sample is out of place. Lavigne’s vocals work in the bridge of her song but in here, they are shrill. The only time the sample makes sense is in the crowd involvement part when other people sing it. Otherwise, it clashes with Rihanna’s chill delivery. Rihanna’s reggae-flavored vocals are superb here. She’s at ease, confident and within her range. The crowd atmosphere also suffers from the Lavigne sample. It’s a great touch and fine by itself. However, coupled with the sample both parts end up taking over. Unfortunately, Rihanna ends up disappearing in her own song.
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