S&M (song)

"S&M"
Single by Rihanna
from the album Loud
Released January 21, 2011 (2011-01-21)
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded 2010
Roc the Mic Studios (New York City)
Westlake Recording Studios (Los Angeles, California)
The Bunker Studios (Paris, France)
Genre Eurodance, dance-pop
Length 4:03 (album version)
4:17 (remix featuring Britney Spears)
Label Def Jam
Writer(s) Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Corey Jackson Carter, Sandy Wilhelm, Ester Dean
Producer Stargate, Sandy Vee
Rihanna chronology
"All of the Lights"
(2011)
"S&M"
(2011)
"Man Down"
(2011)

"S&M" is a song by Barbadian recording artist Rihanna, taken from her fifth studio album, Loud (2010). The song was written by Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Corey Jackson Carter, Sandy Wilhelm and Ester Dean, with production helmed by Eriksen and Hermansen of Stargate and Sandy Wilhelm under her stage Sandy Vee. "S&M" was released on January 21, 2011, as the albums fourth United States single and third international single. "S&M" is a Eurodance song, and incorporates elements of dance-pop. Critical reception of "S&M" was mixed, as some reviewers criticized the song's overt use of sexual lyrics, while others called it a stand-out track from Loud. In April 2011, the song was re-released as a remix single to digital outlets, featuring guest vocals by American recording artist Britney Spears.

"S&M" debuted at number fifty-three on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart upon the album's release and peaked at number two. With the release of the remix, digital sales pushed the song to the top of the chart for one week, giving Rihanna her tenth number one single on the chart and Spears her fifth. The song also peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart and Pop Songs chart, respectively. "S&M" reached number one in Australia, Canada, and Poland, and on the UK R&B Chart. The song attained top-five positions on the German, French, British, Irish, and Spanish charts.

The song's accompanying music video was directed by Melina Matsoukas and presents Rihanna's opinions of the media, by punishing the ones who have written negatively about her or personally hurt her, while portraying metaphorical sadomasochist related scenes and fetishes. The video was banned in several countries and restricted to night time television play in others, due to the explicit content of the video. The video spawned a lawsuit when photographer David LaChapelle alleged that the video used imagery from his photo shoot for Vogue Italia. Rihanna performed the song for the first time at the 2011 BRIT Awards at London's O2 Arena on February 15, 2011, as a part of a medley with "Only Girl (In the World)" and "What's My Name?".

Contents

Background and composition

"S&M" is the fourth single from Rihanna's fifth studio album, Loud, and was sent to US Top 40/Mainstream and rhythmic radio on January 25, 2011.[3] In an interview with Rolling Stone, Rihanna spoke about how she is interested in bondage and other BDSM activities, saying "I like to take charge, but I love to be submissive ... being submissive in the bedroom is really fun. You get to be a little lady, to have somebody be macho and in charge. That's sexy to me."[4] Rihanna continued to describe her sexual preferences, saying "I like to keep it spontaneous. Sometimes whips and chains can be overly planned - you gotta stop, get the whip from the drawer downstairs. I'd rather have him use his hands," as well as confessing that she identifies herself as "a bit of a masochist."[4] With regard to the interview, Lindsay Goldwert of Daily News suggested that the types of sexual activities that Rihanna likes to engage in may be her form of a "healing process", after the singer was allegedly assaulted by ex-boyfriend Chris Brown.[5]

As an up-tempo Eurodance and dance-pop song,[6][7] it samples Depeche Mode's 1984 song "Master and Servant", which also contains lyrics related to sadomasochism.[8] According to the digital music sheet published at Musicnotes.com, "S&M" is written in the key of E minor and is set in common time with a moderate dance groove.[7] Rihanna's vocal range spans from the low note of B3 to the high note of B4.[7] Rihanna explained in an interview with Spin magazine that the lyrics should not be construed as too literally, saying "I don't think of it in a sexual way, I'm thinking metaphorically ... It's more of a thing to say that people can talk ... People are going to talk about you, you can't stop that. You just have to be that strong person and know who you are so that stuff just bounces off. And I thought it was super bad ass."[2]

Critical reception

"S&M" received garnered mixed responses from music critics. Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine and Thomas Conner of the Chicago Sun Times noted that "S&M" was reminiscent of the darker themes present in Rihanna's previous album, Rated R (2009).[1][9] Cinquenmani went on to describe "S&M" as an ode to sadomasochism, "that would make various parts of Janet Jackson's body perk up".[9] Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly called the song an "explicitly carnal opener" featuring "late-night-Cinemax naughtiness".[10] Jake Conway of Yale LGBT magazine Q wrote that the song's lyrics showed that "Rihanna proves why she remains one of the most provocative artists in pop music. Precisely by divesting sex of emotion and re-imagining violence as fetish ("sticks and stone may break my bones / but chains and whips excite me”), Rihanna turns the tables on abusive ex-lover Chris Brown in this heady dance club tribute to bondage — empowered, and as terrifyingly sexy as ever".[11] Nick Levine of British entertainment and media news site Digital Spy gave the song four out of five stars, writing, "Icky slip-up aside, this club pop thumper gets you just as up-for-it as the Mail-baiting Bajan herself".[12] Meg Sullivan of The Music Magazine gave a mixed review, noting that "Admittedly it is a catchy tune, and doesn’t take much to remember the lyrics, as 50% of them are 'oh na-na-na-na, come on,' a classic sign of 'I had nothing else decent to write'. Other than that, the lyrical content is written purposely to shock/offend. Yet in all honesty, these days I'd be more shocked if her next single WASN'T [sic] about her sexual desires."[13] Chris Ryan of MTV described the song as being about "Dirty, naughty, illicit bedroom activities".[14]

James Skinner of BBC Music felt that the song lost some of the appeal which Rated R's "chart-friendly moments" had. Skinner criticized the use of overly suggestive lyrics which he said were not synonymous with the "flirtatious" appeal that Rihanna was trying to create. He said: "as bracingly huge and catchy as it is, 'S&M' doesn’t deviate much from its blunt title: lyrics like 'Sticks and stones may break my bones / But chains and whips excite me' feel forced, not daring."[15] USA Today's Steve Jones noted that Rihanna fails to shake off the "sexually aggressive tone" despite "shaking off the dark cloud of domestic violence that veiled 2009's Rated R" and added that "S&M" is Loud's pulsating opener, "[Rihanna] makes it clear from the jump where she's headed as she acknowledges that chains and whips excite her."[16]

In the UK, "S&M" was deemed too explicit for daytime airplay and was re-edited, with all references to "sex", "chains" and "whips" removed. It was re-named "Come On" for BBC Radio 1.[17] A spokesman for the radio station said "During daytime hours, as younger audiences are listening, we are playing the radio edit which is called 'Come On'. However, we will continue to play the original track in specialist shows with an appropriate introduction ... It is common practice to play radio edits of certain tracks in daytime."[17][18]

Chart performance

"S&M" made its first chart appearance in the UK on November 15, 2010, debuting on the UK Singles Chart at number fifty-five on November 27, 2010. The song peaked at number three, where it remained for three consecutive weeks; "S&M" was Rihanna's fourteenth top-three song on the chart.[19] It was more successful on the UK R&B Chart, where it peaked at number one for five consecutive weeks.[20] The song has since been certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) denoting sales of over 200,000 copies.[21] Elsewhere in Europe, "S&M" was a commercial success, peaking within the top three in many countries. In Poland, the song peaked at number one on the Polish Singles Chart dated April 23, 2011, for two consecutive weeks.[22] In Denmark, "S&M" debuted on the Danish Singles Chart on February 11, 2011, at number thirty-four and peaked at number two for one week.[23] "S&M" also peaked at number two in Germany,[24] Sweden[25] and Switzerland.[26] In France, the song debuted on the November 29, 2011 French Singles Chart at number twenty-two and eventually peaked at number three for two consecutive weeks.[27] The song also peaked within the top-five in Austria,[28] Finland,[29] and Spain.[30] The song reached the top ten in Italy[31] and the Netherlands,[32] peaking at number six and seven, respectively. "S&M" also charted at number eight in the Czech Republic.[33] The song has since been certified gold in Belgium,[34] Denmark,[35] and Sweden,[36] as well as platinum in Switzerland.[37] As of July 26, "S&M" has sold 1.05 million copies across Europe.[38]

In Australia, "S&M" debuted on the ARIA Singles Chart at number eighty seven on November 29, 2010.[39] It reached number one in its fourth week on the chart and stayed at its peak position for weeks.[40] During the Australian leg of Rihanna's Last Girl on Earth Tour, the song returned to number one on March 3, 2011. It has since been certified four times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), for shipment of 280,000 copies of the single.[40]

"S&M" made its US debut on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at number fifty-three on December 4, 2010 upon the album's release.[41] "S&M" became Rihanna's eighth number-one hit on the Billboard Pop Songs chart, making her the artist with the highest pop number one hits in the chart's 19-year history.[42] The song also peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart. In the issue dated April 30, 2011, due to the release of the remix featuring Britney Spears, "S&M" sold 293,000 downloads and replaced Katy Perry's "E.T." on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her tenth number one single on the chart. Rihanna also logged the shortest span between a solo artist's first and tenth number-one in the chart's history, a stretch of four years, eleven months and two weeks.[43] The song has since sold 3 million copies in the US.[44]

Music video

Background and synopsis

The music video for "S&M" was filmed in Los Angeles during the weekend of January 15, 2011[45][46] and was directed by Melina Matsoukas, who also directed the music videos "Hard", "Rude Boy" and "Rockstar 101".[45][46] Rihanna also participated in the video's direction, having generated ideas for many of the shots used, according to gossip-blogger Perez Hilton who was in the video.[47] According to Matsoukas, the video was inspired by Rihanna's "sadomasochist relationship with the press" rather than simply being about "a bunch of whips and chains"; Rihanna's love of pop art also influenced the video.[48] On January 27, 2011, a behind-the-scenes clip related to the video was posted on Rihanna's official YouTube channel.[49] The music video itself premiered on VEVO on February 1, 2011.[50]

In a scene from the "S&M" music video, Rihanna is taped to a wall behind a sheet of plastic and surrounded by microphones.

The video opens with Rihanna being dragged kicking and resisting into a press conference; there, she is covered with plastic wrap and taped to the wall. Rihanna is surrounded by microphones and gagged reporters taking notes.[48] The video then cuts to an outdoor scene, where she wears a cream-colored latex dress and walks Perez Hilton, also wearing a ball gag, on a leash. In the following scene, a seated Rihanna is surrounded by CCTV surveillance cameras. While she eats pink popcorn, her chair begins to rotate, prompting her to stand up and whip several reporters, who are taped to the wall of the room. Next, Rihanna is shown rolling on the floor with her hands and feet bound with rope. As the bridge of the song approaches, Rihanna is clad in a white latex bikini and rabbit ears; images of headlines, such as rumors of "daddy" issues and Illuminati ties she has been accused of, are projected against her body and against the wall behind her.

Following the chorus, Rihanna again appears in a newsroom. Reporters surround her and take her picture, while she is sprawled across a desk in a pink latex dress. The end of the video flashes between scenes from throughout the video and new scenes of Rihanna suggestively eating bananas, strawberries and cream, and bejeweled ice cream. The video ends with a shot of Rihanna lying on a newsroom desk wearing a smiley face eye patch with The Rolling Stones tongue logo over her mouth. In addition to this, the video is intercut throughout with Rihanna and other people wearing dominatrix clothing, implying various sexual acts with the singer wearing a feather boa and a top with the word "censored" across it.[51]

Reception and ban

The music video was generally well-received. The Huffington Post wrote, "Rihanna is perfectly good at being bad – and this video proves it".[52] OK! magazine called the video "red-hot, kinky and totally tongue-in-cheek",[53] while Willa Paskin of New York magazine similarly described it as a "goofy" take on the S&M-themed music videos typical of Madonna and Lady Gaga.[54] Matthew Perpetua of Rolling Stone described the video as a "visual onslaught of candy-colored kinkiness" that viewers would enjoy despite its "painfully bright colors and obnoxious antics".[55] Brad Wete of Entertainment Weekly stated that Rihanna delivered the risque video he was expecting based on the song's lyrical content,[56] and Jason Lipshutz of Billboard praised the video's "exquisite set pieces that offer a twisted take on hardcore sexuality".[48]

On its release, the video was immediately banned in eleven countries due to its overt sexual content.[57] The video was also flagged for content by users on YouTube, restricting viewership to registered users over the age of 18.[58] Rihanna responded to the news via Twitter, writing, "They watched 'Umbrella' ... I was full nude".[58] An unrestricted version of the video was later uploaded to Rihanna's official website.[59] The director of the video, Melina Matsoukas also responded to the news in an interview with MTV News, stating:

When I go out to make something, I kind of go out with the intention to get it banned – [well] not to get it banned, I always want my stuff played – but to make something provocative ... so when you do something that's provocative, that's usually a repercussion. It's gonna be talked about or banned or slandered in some way. But it's making an effect and people are having a dialogue about it, so, to me, that's successful.[60]

Copyright infringement lawsuits

The music video faced further controversy when photographer David LaChapelle sued Rihanna, Island Def Jam, and related parties for copyright infringement in connection with the music video.[61] LaChapelle alleged that the video infringed upon eight of his photos published in GQ, i-D, Australian Vogue, and elsewhere between 1997 and 2010.[61] The lawsuit, which claimed unspecified damages, alleged that the video was "directly derived" from his pictures, copying their "composition, total concept, feel, tone, mood, theme, colors, props, settings, decors, wardrobe and lighting".[61] The lawsuit also included claims of trade dress infringement under the Lanham Act, unfair competition under New York state law, and unjust enrichment,[61] which were later dismissed.[62] Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of New York's Southern District Court denied a motion to dismiss the copyright violation allegations,[62] however, noting many similarities between the works:

[B]oth works feature: hot-pink and white striped walls; two single-hung windows in the middle of the back wall; windows with glossy hot-pink casings and interior framework, with opaque panes exhibiting a half-vector pattern of stripes against a yellow background; a solid hot-pink ceiling; hot-pink baseboards; a hot-pink couch under the windows; women wearing frizzy red wigs; a woman posed on top of a piece of furniture; black tape wrapped around a man; and a generally frantic mood ... [Both works are] well-lit and intensely saturated, with all of the details in sharp focus and almost no shadows.[62]

The lawsuit was resolved on October 19, 2011, which resulted in Rihanna being ordered to pay LaChapelle an disclosed sum of money.[63] LaChapelle won the lawsuit based on the fact that a New York courtroom concurred that the "'pink room scene', which shows Rihanna dominating a man in front of pink and white striped walls, was very similar to LaChapelle's famous "Striped Face" photograph and also pinpointed a scene where Rihanna is against a blue background wearing pink latex and placing a sweet on her tongue."[63] After the case, LaChapelle expressed that the lawsuit was nothing personal against the singer, saying "[it's] not personal, it's strictly business".[63] The photographer continued to explain why he felt a lawsuit was appropriate and likened it to singers sampling others songs in their own, saying "Musicians commonly pay to sample music or use someone's beats and there should be no difference when sampling an artist's visuals."[63]

Paris-based photographer Philipp Paulus later sued as well, alleging further copyright violations, with regard to a scene in the music video where Rihanna wears a large dress and is taped to the wall with a plastic sheet covering of her. Paulus believes the image was appropriated from his own photographic series, Paperworld.[64]

Live performances

Rihanna performing "S&M" on the Loud Tour in Summer 2011, a performance similar to the one from the 2011 Billboard Music Awards.

Rihanna performed "S&M" for the first time at the 2011 BRIT Awards on February 15, 2011, as a medley with two of her previous singles from Loud, "Only Girl (In the World)" and "What's My Name?".[65][66] Though she had originally planned to perform the entire song to promote its release as a single, Rihanna ultimately performed only the chorus plus one verse between "Only Girl (In The World)" and "What's My Name?" This was due to the BRIT Awards corporation trying to avoid receiving similar complaints about Rihanna on the final of the seventh series of The X Factor on December 11, 2010, for wearing a provocative outfit and performing a suggestive dance routine before the watershed.[67] Rihanna also performed "S&M" on the Australian leg of the Last Girl on Earth Tour in February and March 2011.[68]

Rihanna opened the Billboard Music Awards, with a performance of the "S&M" remix with Britney Spears on May 22, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.[69] Rihanna and Spears appeared in bondage-style bodysuits, with Rihanna in white as well as PVC thigh-high boots and Spears in black with a mask and rabbit ears. Both of them wore chained hand cuffs. Rihanna opens the performance seated and provocatively snaps open of her legs, and there is a lot of simulated whipping sounds throughout the song. The two close the performance with a bit of pole dancing, a pillow fight, and a kiss on the cheek.[70] The performance attracted complaints due to the overt sexual nature displayed on the publicly-owned broadcast airwaves.[71]

Rihanna also performed "S&M" on May 27, 2011 on NBC's Today show's "Summer Concert Series", along with "Only Girl (In the World)", "What's My Name?" and "California King Bed", where she gave an interview about the album as well as about her controversial performance at the Billboard Music Awards with Spears.[72] The song is included on the set list of the Loud Tour, with the performance beginning with the stage decorated as an S&M-inspired set. Rihanna performed a cover of Prince's "Darling Nikki" while she spanked, groped and pretended to smack three semi-nude female dancers, with a cane. She then transitioned into "S&M" and took off her white tuxedo, revealing a white bondage corset as well as handcuffs, similar to the outfit she wore for the performance at the Billboard Music Awards.[73] "S&M" is also featured on the set list of Spears's Femme Fatale Tour (2011), as part of a medley with "...Baby One More Time", with Spears as a biker chick, wearing a rhinestone-studded mini-vest and hot pants while straddling a motorcycle prop.[74]

Remixes

A blond woman in a red jacket with black fur on her shoulder. She is singing into a microphone.
Britney Spears performing the remix of "S&M" on the Femme Fatale Tour in Summer 2011.

An official remix, featuring rapper J. Cole, was released on January 17, 2011; it was sent to urban radio stations on March 8, 2011.[75] It was also remixed by several notable DJs, including Dave Audé, Joe Bermudez and Sidney Samson; these remixes were released as a digital remix package and made available to download via iTunes.[76]

Following the release of the album version of the song, Rihanna polled her followers on Twitter about potential collaborators; Britney Spears was the most popular reply.[77] A series of tweets between the two artists fueled speculation that Rihanna and Spears had recorded a remix of the song.[78] A new remix featuring guest vocals by Spears was ultimately released on April 11, 2011.[79] Spears' new lines are much in the spirit of the original lyrics: "If I'm bad, tie me down," and "Shut me up, gag and bound me/'Cause the pain is my pleasure/Nothing comes better".[80] In a radio interview, Rihanna said that she hoped to make an "S&M" music video with Spears. "I want to spank Britney", she added jokingly.[81] She also explained how the collaboration came to fruition:

I asked my fans last week who they wanted me to collaborate with, and Britney was one of the most popular names. It's very strange: Britney never does features. It was really amazing that she really wanted to be part of this song. She really liked the song to begin with, but it was a different story when she had to sing it, and she really wanted to be a part of it. It made it really special because you never see two pop female artists doing songs together anymore.[82]

Formats and track listings

  • Digital download[83]
  1. "S&M" – 4:03
  • Digital download – remixes[76]
  1. "S&M" (Dave Audé Radio) – 3:50
  2. "S&M" (Joe Bermudez Chico Radio) – 3:49
  3. "S&M" (Sidney Samson Radio) – 3:19
  4. "S&M" (Steven Blash) - 4:34
  5. "S&M" (Dave Audé Club) – 7:28
  6. "S&M" (Joe Bermudez Chico Club) – 5:17
  7. "S&M" (Sidney Samson Club) – 6:50
  8. "S&M" (Dave Audé Dub) – 6:29
  9. "S&M" (Joe Bermudez Chico Dub) – 5:17
  10. "S&M" (Sidney Samson Dub) – 6:50
  • German CD single[84]
  1. "S&M" (Album Version) – 4:04
  2. "S&M" (Sidney Samson Radio Remix) – 3:18
  • Digital download – remix single[85]
  1. "S&M" (Remix) (featuring Britney Spears) – 4:17"

Credits and personnel

Credits and personnel adapted from Loud album liner notes.[86]

Charts and certifications

Charts

Chart (2010–11) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[87] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 75)[88] 4
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[89] 3
Belgium (Ultratop 40 Wallonia)[90] 4
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[91]
1
Czech Republic (IFPI)[92] 8
Denmark (Tracklisten)[93] 2
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[94] 4
France (SNEP)[95] 3
Germany (Media Control AG)[96] 2
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[97] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[98] 3
Italy (FIMI)[99] 6
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[100] 8
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[101] 7
New Zealand (RIANZ)[102] 2
Norway (VG-lista)[103] 2
Poland (ZPAV)[22] 1
Poland (Dance Top 50)[104] 2
Russia (EMI)[105] 5
Scotland (The Official Charts Company)[106] 3
Slovakia (IFPI)[107] 4
South Korea (GAON) (International Chart)[108] 4
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[109] 3
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[110] 2
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[111] 2
UK R&B (The Official Charts Company)[112] 1
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[113] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[114] 1
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[115] 1
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[116] 48
US Pop Songs (Billboard)[117] 1

Certifications

Country Provider Certification
Australia ARIA 4× Platinum[40]
Belgium IFPI Gold[118]
Denmark IFPI Platinum[119]
Italy FIMI Gold[120]
New Zealand RIANZ Platinum[121]
Spain PROMUSICAE Gold[122]
Sweden SRIA Gold[123]
Switzerland IFPI Platinum[124]
United Kingdom BPI Silver[21]

Radio and release history

Country Date Format Label
United States[3][76][125] January 21, 2011 Digital remixes Def Jam Recordings
January 25, 2011 Mainstream, rhythmic radio
February 8, 2011 Digital remixes
Ireland[126] February 11, 2011 Digital download Universal Music
United Kingdom[83] February 11, 2011 Mercury Records
United States[127] March 8, 2011 Urban radio Def Jam
Germany[84] March 18, 2011 CD single Def Jam Recordings
Worldwide[85] April 11, 2011 Digital Remix Single

See also

  • List of number-one singles in Australia in 2011
  • List of number-one R&B hits of 2011 (UK)
  • List of number-one dance singles of 2011 (U.S.)
  • List of number-one dance airplay hits of 2011 (U.S.)
  • List of Hot 100 Airplay number-one singles of 2011 (U.S.)
  • List of Hot 100 number-one singles of 2011 (U.S.)
  • List of Mainstream Top 40 number-one hits of 2011 (U.S.)
  • List of number-one digital songs of 2011 (U.S.)
  • List of Hot 100 number-one singles of 2011 (Canada)
  • List of number-one singles of 2011 (Poland)
  • List of Billboard Hot 100 top 10 singles in 2011

References

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  • Südliche Song-Dynastie — Song Taizu, Begründer und erster Kaiser der Song Dynastie. Er regierte von 960 bis 976. Die Song Dynastie (chin. 宋朝, sòngcháo, W. G. Sung Ch ao) war von 960 bis 1279 die herrschende Dynastie im Kaiserreich China. Sie teilt sich in die „Nördliche“ …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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