FourFiveSeconds

Album: single release only (2015)
Charted: 3 4

Songfacts®:

  • This stripped-down ballad about heartbreak was posted on Rihanna's official website on January 24, 2015 and released on iTunes later the same day. It was the first song to be dropped by Rihanna's own music imprint, Westbury Road Entertainment, which is distributed by Roc Nation.
  • Rihanna sings here of partying all night while her lover awaits her return home.

    And I know you are home tonight
    Thinking how I can be so selfish
    But you call about a 1,000 times wondering where I've been
    But I can't just apologize
    I hope you understand


    Kanye West is her upset love interest. He croons in response:

    Woke up an optimist
    Sun was shining, I'm positive
    Then I heard you was talkin' trash
    Hold me back, I'm 'bout to spaz
  • Kanye West and Rihanna have teamed up sporadically over the years, scoring hits with "Run This Town" and "All of the Lights."
  • The pair are assisted by Paul McCartney who supplies a lilting acoustic guitar figure. The former Beatle previously teamed up with Kanye West when he played keys on his "Only One" track.
  • Kanye West and Paul McCartney wrote the song with rapper Ty Dolla $ign, frontman of the Dirty Projectors Dave Longstreth, Kirby Lauryen, Elon Rutberg, Noah Goldstein, and producers Dallas Austin and Mike Dean.
  • The primary instruments on this track are organ and acoustic guitar, providing a mix of acoustic and electric sounds.
  • The black-and-white, stripped-down video was directed by Inez & Vinoodh and shot during late December 2014 in New York City. The Dutch fashion photographer duo have worked with Lady Gaga on more than one occasion, most notably when they filmed her "Applause" visual.

    The clip features shots of the denim-clad Rihanna, West and McCartney performing against an all-white background. "Kanye came up with the idea of doing just some real street, denim, all-American-type look," Rihanna said. "Denim never goes out of style; it's classic, it's iconic, just like the f---ing Beatles."
  • Rihanna performed this song with Paul McCartney and Kanye West at the Grammy Awards in 2015.
  • The song is officially credited to Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney. When it entered the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, McCartney broke the record for the longest gap between Top 10 Hot 100 hits of any artist (credited as a lead). His previous entry in the chart's top tier was on February 8, 1986, when the title song to the comedy Spies Like Us peaked at #7 - 29 years, and 2 weeks previously.

    The record was previously held by Santana, who notched a 28 years, 7 months and 2 week gap between their "Black Magic Woman" and "Smooth" Top Ten singles.
  • Kanye West enlisted Wilson Phillips to provide backing vocals for the track. The group, which consists of sisters Carnie and Wendy Wilson with Chynna Phillips, rose to prominence in the early '90s charting with three Hot 100 #1 hits, "Hold On," "Release Me" and "You're In Love." "He said, 'When I think of authenticity and I think of angelic, I think of you,'" Carnie Wilson told Billboard magazine.

    After playing a preview of the song to Wilson Phillips, together with "Only One" and Madonna's "Illuminati," West instructed the trio to take the track home to work on their vocal harmonies. "We didn't know if we were singing on a section of the song - originally it was supposed to be just the bridge," Carnie said. "He gave us sole freedom to just do what we do. We just went in there and let loose."
  • Paul McCartney's time with Kanye West was mainly spent with the former Beatle strumming various melodies and chords on his guitar, which Yeezy recorded on his iPhone. McCartney didn't hear anything from Kanye for several months until one day this song appeared in his inbox.

    "I said 'Where am I?'" McCartney recalled on BBC Radio 4 program Mastertapes.

    "[Kanye] says, 'We sped you up!' In the middle of the record, there's a little voice that goes, 'I find a mystery.'

    That's me! I loved it!"

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