Autumn and Rihanna no1 singles seem to go hand in hand – but not this year, if Diamonds is anything to go by, suspects James Lachno.
Is the magic finally wearing off for pop superstar Rihanna?
For the last few years, the Bajan singer has been like an unstoppable pop juggernaut, surging towards the top of charts the world over, stopping only briefly to refuel on another irrepressible round of singles.
Today, she unveiled her latest offering, Diamonds – amazingly, her 21st single release in under three years – hoping it will follow in the footsteps of Umbrella, Rude Boy and the rest to become her sixth UK no1.
On first listen, however, Diamonds doesn't sound like a world beater. It's a chugging, faintly misty-eyed, middle of the road pop song – neither a muscular dance workout like previous Autumn chart-toppers We Found Love and Only Girl (In The World), nor a smooth RnB ballad like Take a Bow.
Rihanna's piledriver vocal can usually be relied upon to pierce through the most watery of backing tracks, but here she sounds disinterested. "You and I were beautiful like diamonds in the sky," she purrs along to a chorus which sounds quite a lot like a rework of Lana Del Rey's Born to Die.
The track comes from good stock: it's penned by Sia, the songwriter behind David Guetta's summer hit Titanium, and produced by Stargate, the team behind Rihanna singles Only Girl (In The World) and What's My Name.
So perhaps Rihanna herself is to blame. At 24, and after seven relentless years in pop (not to mention her reportedly turbulent personal life), she could probably do with a rest.
One dud track can be forgiven, given her stellar career so far – when her seventh album arrives later this year we'll have a better idea if her star is fading.