My relationship with Rihanna is more volatile than her own relationship with her vocals on a good day. I am a fan of hers, am I part of the Rihanna Navy? No, but I enjoy her music and all that comes with it.
So when I heard she was going to be the first ever recipient of the American Music Awards ‘Icon Award’ I should of been pleased right? Well not quite. See, while I am a fan of Rihanna and all that jazz I am also the first to admit that this girl cannot sing and has built her brand by gimmicks and being one of the most over exposed singers in the past decade.
Remember my first entry on this blog discussing Rihanna and how the heck she is capable of selling out Twickenham stadium despite her live performances and vocals leaving very little to be desired? Well all those sentiments are still true today.
The producer of the awards show, Larry Klein said regarding the decision to give Rihanna such an award; “Rihanna’s iconic and innovative sound has enabled her to become one of the most influential and best-selling artists of all time.”
Clearly this man has been smoking the same blunts Rihanna has plastered all over her Instagram because I am sorry but in what universe is Rihanna’s music any bit ‘iconic’ or ‘innovative’?!
In this day and age titles like ‘Icon’ and ‘Legend’ get thrown around so often that they have lost all meaning and stature. Because Justin Bieber had the most viewed video on YouTube he is an ‘icon’, because Nicki Minaj is the biggest selling female rapper (and I use that term loosely) she is an ‘icon’. And because Justin Timberlake sold close to 1million copies of his 20/20 Experience album in one week he is an ‘icon’.
THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT ICONS!!! THEY ARE JUST POPULAR!
And thats what Rihanna is, she is popular, she is relevant and she’s an enigma but in no way shape or form is she an icon. When I hear the word ‘Icon’ used regarding music I think Michael Jackson, Madonna, Elvis Presley, Diana Ross, Britney Spears,Prince,Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey. You know? People who have actually made a significant impact to music and its foundation!
Rihanna has contributed nothing ground breaking or revolutionary when it comes to her music. The only reason why Rihanna is one of the biggest selling artists right now is because she is everywhere. Releasing 7 albums in as many years and is bound to make you a staple of pop culture and thats what Rihanna is; a staple of pop culture. She isn’t an icon.
She has no innovative sound to her music, if you took random songs from each of her albums and put them together onto one CD is would sound like the rest of her albums. Sure she reinvents herself visually each era when it comes to her hair colour and style but her music doesn’t really follow suit. Most of her songs come from riding the ‘hot’ trend at the time. ‘Rehab’ was Rihanna joining in to an era of music where Timbaland was running the industry in 2007, while ‘We Found Love’ rode the EDM craze which Guetta/Calvin Harris etal made so popular in 2011 and ‘Pour It Up’ is a rehash of ‘Bandz Make Her Dance’ by Juicy J in 2012. She isn’t a trendsetter, she is a trend follower.
Its the same with Beyonce, she isn’t an icon. Shes a great performer and an amazing vocalist but nothing she has done musically or otherwise is ‘iconic’. I think at a far stretch her video for ‘Single Ladies’ is iconic but her herself is not an icon.
Like I say all the time when I discuss Rihanna, this isn’t an attack at Rihanna but I’m a lot less deluded then some of her fanbase who seem to think the sun shines out of her ass when if you take a closer look its probably just a 20 bag of pot she hid in her ass to get past customs at the airport. I am calling a spade a spade here and though Rihanna is staple part of pop culture she isn’t an icon at all. She’s a superstar there is no denying that, the juggernaut that is Rihanna shows no signs of stopping but thats as far as it goes when it comes to Rihanna.
For now anyway…
So that begs the question, if not Rihanna then who should receive the AMA Icon Award? And to tell you the truth, I can’t think of anyone worthy in this current era of music. All the icons of yesteryear are still icons today and no one has really come up the ranks to icon status. And if any of you say Lady GaGa I will happily slap you upside the head with a copy of ARTPOP myself.
All I know is that this award should go to someone a lot more worthy who has WORKED for the title. I am not saying Rihanna isn’t a hard worker but most of her songs are written for her by other people who then pitch the tracks to her and she chooses her 10 favourite songs from that to record and voila new album out in November!
But alas despite all I say, Rihanna will still get the award and her Navy will rejoice that their ‘Queen’ is ‘Slaying’ but in this current climate of music where Rihanna is an icon and Katy Perry is heralded as the ‘voice of a generation’ I’m just waiting for the rapture because the end sure as hell must be nigh.