What's this? Rihanna's released her new music video for Diamonds? Before hitting play, we're picturing whips and chains and duuurty S&M talk. Or maybe she'll be wielding a gun through the back streets of Brooklyn or something equally 'badass'.
But nope, for the first single from new album Unapologetic, Rihanna's got serious. Gone are the silky bra tops, lashings of hair extensions and tantalising flashes of her gyrating derrière. In their place are close-ups of the singer's au natural face, shot in black and white. She's naked except for a smattering of tattoos and there are even TEARS, Sinead O'Connor stylee. Yes, the drug references have snuck in there with images of the singer smoking diamonds but most impressively, we've never seen her look - or sound - so raw or so real. This isn't about how many Givenchy gowns she's wearing or how many Samsung phones she can product place; this is Ri-Ri stripped back and more beautiful than ever.
To add to the dramatic landscape, a few obligatory shots are thrown in for good measure: Rihanna floating in water, Rihanna wearing a cotton sweater and looking windswept, horses galloping through sun-lit mountains and, err, a burning man. The arresting video fits perfectly with the tone of the song that is more gut-wrenchingly heartfelt than we've ever heard from the singing superstar. Her voice is full of emotion while the 'shine bright like a diamond, shine bright like a diamond' keeps it catchy.
We can't help but wonder whether the video is the latest ploy in winning the public's acceptance of Chris Brown. Rihanna's already pulled out several big guns: a tearful interview with Oprah, various musical collaborations and a suggestive kiss at the MTV Awards. This video is begging for us to believe that these two really are 'diamonds in the sky,' y'all. Are you convinced?
No doubt Rihanna's Navi are backing her all the way. With every release, her army of fans are recruited in an almost military-like campaign using hashtags and endless Facebook Likes. The promotion of Diamonds is no different and the Naviettes have been out in force on Twitter since the video was released last night.
So what's your verdict on Rihanna's latest transformation? Watch the video in full below and let us how: are you a fan of her raw and real approach or are you gagging for the return of raunchy Ri-Ri?