Song of the Day #356: ‘Shut Up and Drive’ – Rihanna

rihanna_supI continue to be endlessly impressed with Rihanna’s last album, Good Girl Gone Bad. To put it in terms of Michael Jackson, which seems to be required these days, it’s as chock full of hits as Thriller.

I just picked up Rihanna’s previous album, A Girl Like Me, and though I haven’t had a chance to listen to it all the way through yet, the first single ‘SOS’ is as groovily infectious as the new stuff. I don’t know how she has managed to float to the top of all the similar singers out there. She doesn’t write any of her songs so it’s probably a matter of her (or her management, or both) recognizing top songwriting and producing talent and lining her up with the right people. She also has a great presence and is a strong performer, so maybe it’s the writers and producers who want to be in business with her.

One thing Rihanna does well is effectively incorporate samples into her songs while avoiding the stench of recycling. Puff Daddy, or P Diddy, or whatever his name is, strikes me as a prime example of how not to sample songs. His regurgitation of The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’ for the Notorious B.I.G. tribute song ‘I’ll Be Missing You’ is exhibit A. It’s not a new song… it’s a guy rapping over ‘Every Breath You Take.’

Rihanna’s ‘Shut Up and Drive,’ on the other hand, borrows a wicked groove from New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ and turns it into a grunge-rock funk-fest that might evoke fond memories of the original but is very much a brand-new thing. I’ve embedded the New Order song below so you can check them both out. That’s a great song, too, and a reminder that I should get me some New Order.

Two more comments. First, I sure do love this line, and Rihanna’s delivery thereof: “You look like you can handle what’s under my hood / You keeping saying that you will, boy I wish you would.” And second, if I had access to the mechanics’ shop depicted in this video, my car would be the best-maintained vehicle in history.

I’ve been looking for a driver who is qualified
So if you think that you’re the one, step into my ride
I’m a fine cool supersonic speed machine
Got a sunroof top and a gangster lean

So if you feel it let me know, know, know
Come on now what you waiting for, for, for?
My engine’s ready to explode, explode, explode
So start me up and watch me go, go, go

Get you where you wanna go, if you know what I mean
Got a ride that’s smoother than a limousine.
Can you handle the curves, can you run all the lights?
If you can baby boy, than we can go all night
Cause it´s zero to sixty in three point five
Baby you got the keys
Now shut up and drive, drive, drive
Shut up and drive

I got class like a fifty-seven Cadillac
Start over drive with a whole lot of boom in the back
You look like you can handle what’s under my hood
You keeping saying that you will, boy I wish you would

So when you’re ready let me know, know, know
Come on and what you´re waiting for, for, for
My engine’s ready to explode, explode, explode
So start me up and watch me go, go, go

You play that game, got what I got
Get it get it, don’t stop, It’s a sure shot
Ain’t a Ferrari, huh boy, I’m sorry
Don’t need to worry, so step inside
And ride, ride, ride, drive, drive, drive ….

So if you feel it let me know, know, know
Come on, what you waiting for, for, for?
My engine’s ready to explode, explode, explode
So start me up and watch me go, go, go

New Order – Blue Monday

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4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #356: ‘Shut Up and Drive’ – Rihanna

  1. Kerrie says:

    Blue Monday is one of my favorite New Order songs (of many faves by them) and this is a great use of it’s cool, thumping rhythm. I have no doubt that you enjoy the song, but I’m guessing the video goes a long way toward your appreciation of its… artistry. :)

    Thanks for introducing me to another catchy Rihanna tune – she hasn’t done one yet that I haven’t ended up really liking. Maybe I should go ahead and make the purchase…

  2. pegclifton says:

    I’m sure you’re hoping to find an oil leak when you get home :)

  3. Dana says:

    I was thinking exactly what Kerrie was expressed. Would you really be so interested in Rihana’s music if she were a 300 pound woman? I mean, her music is certainly catchy if you are into pop (which clearly you are), but I hardly think it’s the second coming.

    And I was all set to dis the New Order song, but it actually is kinda cool. But I don’t really find the rhythm track all that original–sounds like many other electronica songs–so I don’t think the sampling in the Rihana song is really all that distinctive. I’m more impressed,actually, by the melody wrapped around the rather generic rhythm.

  4. Clay says:

    Hard to answer the question about attractiveness… as we’ve discussed here before, there just aren’t many unattractive women in popular music. But 99% of the time I listen to Rihanna I’m in my car with no visual aids, so I have to assume I genuinely like her music. :-)

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