Rihanna & Calvin Harris
We Found Love
Album: Talk That Talk
Rihanna finds comfort in a relationship amid the chaos of her life in the euphoric “We Found Love.”
Gleaming synths open the single, setting a lucid tone. The streetlights glow in the midnight air. She’s standing by her boyfriend, leaning on the brick of a building. She watches as he crosses his foot, darkening the light, fusing his figure with her own. She takes a deep breath, taking in the moment, letting the heat flow through her. (“Yellow diamonds in the light/And we're standing side by side/As your shadow crosses mine/What it takes to come alive.”)
In the pre-chorus, she couldn’t ignore her strong feelings for him. When she goes back home, she can’t say a word about him. She has to pretend she doesn’t know him. (“It's the way I’m feeling I just can't deny/But I've gotta let it go.”)
In the chorus, their neighborhood has become desolate. Many people their age don’t graduate high school, much less go to college. Houses around them are boarded up. It’s not unusual to hear gunshots. She and her boyfriend want to get out and lean on each other to survive. (“We found love in a hopeless place/We found love in a hopeless place/We found love in a hopeless place/We found love in a hopeless place.”)
The beat crackles and sparks, rising further and further until it bursts, showering confetti all over.
When she sees him, she feels protected and happy. Inside her home, she takes care of her grandma while holding down a job. Her grandma doesn’t approve of him, believing he will only keep her away from her priorities. She can’t look him in the eye sometimes, afraid he will worry and then get in trouble for trying to solve her problem. She loves him and he has managed to keep her sane for the past year, giving her hope that life will get better. (“Shine a light through an open door/Love and life I will divide/Turn away cause I need you more/Feel the heartbeat in my mind.”)
The pre-chorus and chorus are sung again.
In the bridge, the beat becomes watchful, sensing a dangerous presence, as she repeats part of the first verse again. (“Yellow diamonds in the light/And we're standing side by side/As your shadow crosses mine.”)
The chorus is sung once.
The beat crackles and sparks again.
The chorus is sung again to close the single.
Rihanna’s wholehearted, tranquil vocals reach out, searching for some hope. In her boyfriend, she has found herself thinking about a future, which she didn’t think she could have. She knows he will be there to support her, even if she fails and will find another way to help her.
Calvin Harris’ has taken the elements of the standard dance remix (focusing on a single phrase, having an instrumental break and then returning to the single phrase) and mainstreams it. He breaks the beat apart long enough to hold the attention and pulls it back together right before it could be monotonous. It’s an instinctive, functional arrangement that even at seven or eight minutes long would work well.
The phenomenal “We Found Love” is a fantastic example of how dance music should be done.
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