The promotion and release of Rihanna’s eighth album, ANTI, has been fraught with many issues. For one, Tidal (the worst idea ever) prematurely released the incorrect version of it on January 28. Following this, Rihanna’s offer to fans to download the album for free prompted reports of it being Ri’s worst “selling” album. Then, a bout with bronchitis (maybe) forced the Barbadian dream to back out of her highly anticipated Grammy performance. Finally, she cancelled a number of tour dates for supposedly “technical” reasons. Thus, you can understand her need to bring herself–and her music–back into the limelight with a video for the single, “Work,” which is actually the most annoying track on ANTI.
But what compels Rihanna to sell it is undoubtedly Drake’s presence, a fact she knew she could use for video purposes later–and everyone loves seeing Drake and Rihanna together, even though it’s pretty clear the former is way too much of a “nice guy” for Rihanna’s particular taste. With the backdrop of “Work” set at The Real Jerk, a place for dancing and maybe jerk chicken, Rihanna saunters in wearing a hooded pink fur coat. Drake, looking less impressive, rolls up wearing a grayish jacket. The whole thing kind of smacks of the intro to the “Me Against the Music” video, back when people still took cars to go to clubs, I guess.
One of the few decipherable lyrics of the song, “You took my heart on my sleeve for decoration,” is negated in the visual incarnation of “Work,” as Rihanna seems quite content to twerk on the dance floor by herself. Though, of course, this doesn’t stop Drake from trying to maintain her attention as she rubs her backside against him. But she gets bored eventually and goes back to the mirror to watch herself.
This leads into a second concept of the video (which really doesn’t help one’s love of the song, already extremely redundant) directed by Tim Erem. The “story” behind this version is even simpler, with Rihanna dancing around in what looks like a modern update to Jeannie’s bottle as Drake sits on the couch watching her with mild interest. It’s all very unnecessary, and makes one wonder why the duo would want to sully Director X’s first rendering at the jerk chicken/dance joint. Whatever the case, Rihanna can always seem to count on Drake (even though she looks somewhat repulsed by his touch) to bring her a collaboration the masses will take interest in.