Rihanna‘s work ethic of late is astonishing. The 23-year-old vocalist is currently preparing the release of her sixth studio album—her third in three years—and announced the title of its lead single, the Calvin Harris-produced “We Found Love,” yesterday evening on Twitter, prior to its radio premiere on Friday. Meanwhile she’s six singles deep into 2010′s eleven-track Loud—seven if you count “Raining Men,” released to radio in 2010 but lacking enough traction to even garner a music video—without the aid of a deluxe reissue (Beyoncé, we’re looking at you) nor a holdover EP (Lady Gaga‘s The Fame Monster, Ke$ha‘s Cannibal (which is actually better than Animal), both “halves” of Justin Bieber‘s debut “LP”). And she’s featured on Nicki Minaj‘s current single “Fly,” and “Princess of China” on Coldplay‘s upcoming Mylo Xyloto.
Certainly, this constant stream of productivity has allowed the Bajan singer to achieve the pop-cultural ubiquity that is apparently a competitive necessity of late without having to resort as often to the more annoying types of promotional tricks. (In this she can perhaps be matched only by her friend Katy Perry.) But her decision to release a full-fledged followup to Loud sets her apart in particular. Rihanna has used the stopgap approach before, reissuing 2007′s Good Girl Gone Bad after a year to extend its run of singles with “Take A Bow” and “Disturbia.” And 2009′s Rated R under-performed, so the decision to record a new LP (Loud) rather than a reissue was practically a foregone conclusion.
This sixth LP, then, is the real milestone. In fact, Rihanna tweeted that she’d considered a re-release of Loud before deciding to go forward with a new LP instead, claiming that “Loud is its own body of work.” Whether this is a promotional spin or a commitment to the album format, we can’t say for sure. What it does indicate is a faith in her new material—artistically, sure, but especially economically—that few artists and labels have. In 2011 the ability for a pop artist to schedule an album release firmly, without regard to how a single may perform, is a luxury that only the highest-billed artists are able to achieve without sacrificing competitiveness. Even Beyoncé, who may have ditched her singles-focused past career with the album statement of 4, was dogged by rumors that it would be pushed back, and only after a commercially triumphant release (with only one week outside the Top 10 so far!) was the historical record amended to reflect that 4 was a success.
Cheers, Rihanna! You’re joining an increasingly exclusive club. We’ll drink to that. In celebration, since we have no idea what your possibly dubstep-influenced new single sounds like, we’re going to listen to Heavy D & The Boyz‘ similarly-titled “Now That We Found Love” while we ponder: now that you’ve found this level of success, what are you gonna do with it?
Rihanna Confirms Next Single “We Found Love” [MTV News]
[Image: Getty Images]