SPIN’s review of Rihanna’s Unapologetic, her first No. 1 full-length, contends that almost all you’d want to know about the singer’s emotional state we can learn from her album titles. SPIN’s indefatigable correspondent on Rihanna’s 777 Tour, Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, concludes that “even seven days breathing the same cabin air she did could not illuminate any truths about her, and never would.” So we’re left with the songs. Which, catchy and sometimes great as they are, don’t always reveal much more.
At an event yesterday, Sia explained she co-wrote elegant Unapologetic single “Diamonds” in 22 minutes with Benny Blanco, and recorded the demo with production team StarGate in only 26 minutes, according to a YouTube description tweeted by the singer-songwriter herself. Sia also performed the song at the event, reportedly something called the Norwegian-American Achievement Award Ceremony.
The unadorned, powerfully sung rendition, backed by StarGate on keyboard, shows how much this Rihanna chart-topper owes to Sia, right down to various vocal tics. What it can’t tell us, what only Rihanna can tell us (though she won’t), is what drew her to the material in the first place. Perhaps, like anyone, she heard a hit. (via Oh No They Didn’t!)