Rihanna Performs ‘BBHMM’ and ‘American Oxygen’ on SNL (VIDEO)

17 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Get it, Rihanna! On the season 40 finale of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Rihanna performed an incredible rendition of her hit ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ and more! Click to WATCH!.

Rihanna, making her fifth visit to Saturday Night Live, helped close out the series’ 40th season by performing visually stunning renditions of her most recent singles, “Bitch Better Have My Money” and “American Oxygen.” The SNL stage often isn’t kind to pop star musical guests, but Rihanna, an SNL vet at this point, avoided those pitfalls by transforming her eighth album singles into a eye-catching spectacle while also infusing some new personality into those now-familiar radio songs. “Bitch Better Have My Money” turned SNL’s Studio 8H into a film noir set as Rihanna recklessly drives and sings while pursued by police. (The pine tree air freshener and cross hanging from the rearview mirror were clever details that added to an already unique SNL performance.) For the first half of “BBHMM,” Rihanna literally acts on the lyric “Your wife in the backseat of my brand new foreign car / Don’t act like you forgot I call the shots, shots, shots.” The stage crew then stepped in to quickly deconstruct the elaborate set to give Rihanna space for the track’s dance-oriented second half.

For her second segment, Rihanna opted for “American Oxygen,” her “Born in the U.S.A.”-inspired, politically conscious ballad about the pursuit of the American Dream. After an introduction by host Louis C.K., the show-stopping set started with Rih behind the wheel of a car, which was deconstructed halfway through the song to give the pop star room to dance out the rest of the verses for “BBHMM.” The Bajan beauty has been on a new music tear lately, which hopefully means an announcement of her new album isn’t too far behind. She pissed people off for “lip-synching” (or singing along with a backing track, most likely); she pissed people off for performing in front of images pulled from 9/11 footage; she pissed people off for grabbing her crotch the way rappers have done for years upon years to little or no fanfare.

Taking a cue from the Kanye West playbook – the rapper did co-produce “American Oxygen” – Rihanna delivered her latest single obscured in silhouette as the three video screens boxing her in projected iconic moments from American history, a motif borrowed from the song’s music video. She managed to do all of that in her eight minutes of stage time on the finale of SNL’s fortieth season, and yet snagging the attention of the viewing public is as much an unintentional reflex for her as breathing or blinking is. If there was one downside to Rihanna’s latest SNL musical guest spot, it was that it wasn’t accompanied by a new chapter in the continuing adventures of Shy Ronnie.

According to Women’s Wear Daily, the full single — which samples Florence + The Machine’s song of the same name — will debut early next week, along with the entire short film for Dior. Crack a smile, give Louis C.K. some bunny ears and call it a day — oh, and debut some new material off one of the most anticipated albums of 2015 while we’re at it. While Andy Samberg’s departure likely spells the end of that beloved Digital Short, Rihanna is usually game when it comes to participating in the SNL show itself.

Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again. Unlike the disappointing sets brought forth by fellow pop princesses Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea earlier this season, Rihanna didn’t just phone in SNL like a contractual obligation or an excuse to break out tired set pieces from her tour: She took the wheel for a brief car chase/kidnapping scene before busting a few moves and snarling her way through the second single from her forthcoming eighth album. Kanye turned the lights out for his Yeezus-centric set a couple seasons back and reworked the stage again for “Wolves” during SNL 40, and Riri did her friend and producer proud by taking advantage of potential and throwing expectations into a tailspin.

As for the hate the internet is hurling her way (more on that later) for the simplicity of “BBHMM”‘s lyrics: To those of you rolling your eyes and rueing the day that popular music turned “stupid” or simple with repetitive choruses and minimalistic lines, need I remind you that the Beatles beat her to the punch with the chorus to “Ob La Di, Ob La Da” and “Happy Birthday” nearly fifty years prior? You’re embarrassing us!'” Letterman was being a fanboy, basically; of both a musician he loved and a genre — Americana, by proxy, but really the craft of songwriting — he’d come to champion. This wasn’t the first time Letterman had asked Isbell to play outside of his Late Show stage — though Isbell made his debut as an instrumentalist in Justin Townes Earle’s band, it was his performance of “Codeine,” off 2011’s Here We Rest, that really perked the host’s ears. Various snippets from the news surrounded Rihanna, illuminating her instead of a spotlight as drug deals, stock exchange tickers and the smoldering Twin Towers flickered in the background. He liked the midtempo, pedal-steel-twanged track so much that he had his bookers invite the then-relatively unknown singer on the show — with one slight caveat. “He loved the second verse of the song so much he wanted to hear it twice,” Houser tells Rolling Stone Country. “The arrangement was literally in Dave’s request. ‘Anything Goes’ was the first single I ever put out, maybe in the fifties on the chart at the time.

It doesn’t have to be a big hit — if Dave dig its, he pushes it.” Houser worked on the new arrangement with Shaffer and Letterman was thrilled. “Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m talking about,” he said after the performance, shaking the singer’s hand. To invoke painful images from modern American history isn’t to smear the memories of those affected or frame the civil rights violations perpetrated in Ferguson and Baltimore as events along those lines: If anything, it just drives the point home that all of this is related, and that the struggles many face in this country — on economic, social, religious, educational and professional grounds — share roots in moments we all experience, directly or otherwise. This was his show and his stage, and the Late Show became a haven for quality acts who didn’t ever need to count a Number One hit as a booking prerequisite.

Letterman’s a comedian, for sure, but at the center of every good joke, and every good late-night interview, is a story. “He loves songs, he loves story songs and he loves songwriters,” says Isbell. It’s no coincidence that the same could be said about the Southeastern singer himself, who has been a leader of the genre and one of few artists to develop a friendship with the prickly host. But he found kindred spirits in Isbell and Cook, the latter of whom he first heard on SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country station, during his regular drives into the city from his Connecticut home. The buzzed-about Stapleton was the last artist to debut on Letterman before his closing weeks. “Letterman has made a statement of bravery in their bookings and trusting their instincts,” Sacks says. Since the show’s debut in 1993, Letterman has indeed made a point of choosing artists that didn’t always play to a radio-friendly, Top of the Pops mentality: Steve Earle, Harris, Zevon, Willie Nelson and Tom Waits were all early favorites, with Ryan Adams and Dawes joining the ranks.

He was also an early champion of Miracle Legion, Golden Smog and Syd Straw.” Letterman also has chosen, along with his trusted team, musical guests who had absolutely zero promotional tie. Letterman, points out Americana Music Association executive director Jed Hilly, was likely the first person to even reference the actual term “Americana” on-air. On The Colbert Report, he did make an effort to weave music — from Cheap Trick to Wilco — into a program that, as a satire, didn’t always lend itself to live performance. Whether or not Colbert’s history as a staunch liberal will impact the role of country music on his show, Houser isn’t too worried. “He’s a smart guy,” he says. “And he has fans to think about.” As for Letterman, the void will certainly be a palpable one — both in the stories he squeezed out of guests on his couch, and the stories he let songwriters share on the musical stage.

After months of escalating protests and grassroots organizing in response to the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, police reformers have issued many demands. While law enforcers have existed in one form or another for centuries, the modern police have their roots in the relatively recent rise of modern property relations 200 years ago, and the “disorderly conduct” of the urban poor.

Like every structure we’ve known all our lives, it seems that the policing paradigm is inescapable and everlasting, and the only thing keeping us from the precipice of a dystopic Wild West scenario. Rather than be scared of our impending Road Warrior future, check out just a few of the practicable, real-world alternatives to the modern system known as policing: Unarmed but trained people, often formerly violent offenders themselves, patrolling their neighborhoods to curb violence right where it starts. Stop believing that police are heroes because they are the only ones willing to get in the way of knives or guns – so are the members of groups like Cure Violence, who were the subject of the 2012 documentary The Interrupters.

There are also feminist models that specifically organize patrols of local women, who reduce everything from cat-calling and partner violence to gang murders in places like Brooklyn. Violent offenses count for a fraction of the 11 to 14 million arrests every year, and yet there is no real conversation about what constitutes a crime and what permits society to put a person in chains and a cage. Decriminalization doesn’t work on its own: The cannabis trade that used to employ poor Blacks, Latinos, indigenous and poor whites in its distribution is now starting to be monopolized by already-rich landowners. To quote investigative journalist Christian Parenti’s remarks on criminal justice reform in his book Lockdown America, what we really need most of all is “less.” Also known as reparative or transformative justice, these models represent an alternative to courts and jails.

Communities that have tools to engage with each other about problems and disputes don’t have to consider what to do after anti-social behaviors are exhibited in the first place. Obviously these could become police themselves and then be subject to the same abuses, but as a temporary solution they have been making a real impact. In New York, Rikers Island jails as many people with mental illnesses “as all 24 psychiatric hospitals in New York State combined,” which is reportedly 40% of the people jailed at Rikers. We have created a tremendous amount of mental illness, and in the real debt and austerity dystopia we’re living in, we have refused to treat each other for our physical and mental wounds. Mental health has often been a trapdoor for other forms of institutionalized social control as bad as any prison, but shifting toward preventative, supportive and independent living care can help keep those most impacted from ending up in handcuffs or dead on the street.

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