Here's my take on two singles from POP's reigning princesses:
Die Young by Ke$ha
Diamonds by Rihanna
Once again, I had very high hopes for Rihanna's new single. After last year's We Found Love, arguably Rihanna's best song, I was crossing my fingers for something just as incredible. Instead, we have the dance diva doing some mid-tempo balladry that's less emotional than the aforementioned club anthem. Produced by Stargate and Benny Blanco, with a writing contribution from Sia, Diamonds should have been better. This song could be quite good if the beat was faster and the backing synths were more lush. Instead, it sounds cheap. It's clear that Rihanna's team wants her to leave the dance party before everyone takes their last hit (of dance music, that is). However, RiRi is the only one who does dance music really well relative to all of her contemporaries (Katy, Ke$ha, Gaga, Usher, etc.). Girl is familiar with the club - VIP. Madonna made dance music even when it wasn't popular (a la 1990's Vogue and 1998's Ray of Light), and she consistently killed because that was her strong suit (until she started making shitty dance music a la the half-assed, crap album that is MDNA). Rihanna is not very talented, and she is not an artist by any extent of the imagination, but through constant performing, her voice and stage presence have developed to a point where she translates more emotion into her songs than somebody with twice the vocal prowess (...Beyoncé, can you hear me?). She actually feels what she's singing. If paired with the right material, she can unite the balladeer with the club kid, as she did so successfully with We Found Love, and as Robyn (Robyn Robyn, not Robyn Rihanna Fenti) has done time and again with all of her Body Talk singles.
I'm hoping for better from both of these gals with regard to their upcoming albums.