~~April 17, 2015~~
Is Rihanna’s American Oxygen an anthem for Eric Garner?
I became aware of this new song thanks to a very dear blogger friend, from across the ocean. I don’t really follow Rihanna but it seems to me that maybe the time of songs addressing social issues (like in the 60’s) could be coming back.
Thank you Miss Kitty.
If Rihanna was looking to make a splash with her new single American Oxygen, she exceeded expectations by creating a tsunami of talk and controversy. Commenting on the idea of the American dream (or lack thereof), the song simultaneously serves as both a biting commentary and patriotic anthem, and is a wild departure from her previous single, Bitch Better Have My Money.
This track is from a more “serious” Rihanna – a Rihanna that has something to say. To prove it, the video for American Oxygen features quick clips of footage from the most emotional moments in US history.
Intercut with images of the American flag, you see film of the burning twin towers on September 11, Ku Klux Klan horsemen galloping past smoldering crosses, and even a glimpse of Martin Luther King Jr’s corpse laying in a coffin. Also in the mix, however, is footage of patriotic accomplishments as well – whether it’s space ships rocketing into the air or the flag raising over Iwo Jima.
Put them all together and it’s hard to tell exactly what Rihanna is trying to say – but maybe that’s the point.
Breathe out, breathe in
Every breath I breathe
Chasin’ this American Dream
We sweat for a nickel and a dime
Turn it into an empire
Breathe in, this feeling
American, American oxygen
This is the new America
We are the new America
The layered meaning of American Oxygen is largely thanks to its two creative masterminds, one of whom is Kanye West; a man who instead of running away from controversy has a penchant to speed unflinchingly towards it. The other is Alex da Kid, the multitalented producer and songwriter behind hits as varied as rock anthem Radioactive by Imagine Dragons and BoB’s 2009 smash Airplanes.
He also happens to be the force behind one of the biggest hits of Rihanna’s career, her No 1 hit Love the Way You Lie. Sam Harris from rock band X Ambassadors, South African songwriter Candice Pillay, and Rihanna herself also share songwriting credits.
~~Published on Apr 16, 2015~~
Music video by Rihanna performing American Oxygen.
(C) 2015 Westbury Road Entertainment. Distributed by Roc Nation Records
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