Rihanna Stay is a song by Barbadian recording artist Rihanna from her seventh studio album Unapologetic (2012). Featuring guest vocals by Mikky Ekko, the song was released as the second single from the album on January 7, 2013. Rihanna Stay was co-written by Mikky Ekko and Justin Parker. It is a pop ballad, featuring piano and guitar chords. The lyrical content regards the temptation and failure of resisting a true love. The song garnered a mostly positive response from music critics. They were divided in their opinion regarding the balladry, with most describing it as a standout track on the album, while a few labeled it as boring. However, critics were unified in their opinion of praising the vocal performance and emotion.
Upon the release of Unapologetic, “Stay” charted on multiple charts worldwide. Following its release as a single, it has reached number one in Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Israel and the top five in twenty-four countries worldwide including Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It has also charted at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Rihanna’s twenty-fourth top ten on the chart, thus surpassing Whitney Houston‘s tally. Furthermore, it has charted at number one on the US Pop Songs chart and 19 on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart.
The song’s music video, directed by Sophie Muller, depicts Rihanna naked in a bathtub filled with cloudy water, while Mikky Ekko performs in a separate bathroom. Critics likened the vulnerability and raw emotion in the video to the song itself. Rihanna premiered “Stay” on Saturday Night Live in the United States, while she performed the song in the United Kingdom on the ninth series of The X Factor. Rihanna and Ekko also performed “Stay” at the 2013 Grammy Awards. The track was included on the set list of the majority of her 777 Tour promotional tour dates, in support of the album, while it is included on Rihanna’s fifth headlining tour, the “Diamonds World Tour“.
Rihanna Stay Music Video
Rihanna Stay Music Video Story
The music video for Rihanna Stay was directed by Sophie Muller. On February 10, 2013, whilst walking the red carpet of the 55th Grammy Awards, Rihanna held an interview with Ryan Seacrest who officially revealed that the music video would premiere on E! News the following day. Rihanna described the production saying, “The video was really, really simple. I pretty much stayed put in a bathtub, and we shot it really tight, really close. There’s Mikky Ekko in the video as well. This is the first time I’ve ever collaborated with him, so I’m excited about that because he’s actually the one who wrote the song and I kinda just fell in love with it so much and in love with the tone of his voice and we wanna keep him a part of it, so you’ll see him in the video.” The singer added, “It’s a very emotional song and it’s personal, so you just think about, it’s almost like telling a story, and when you tell a story, even to yourself — if you’re saying it out loud and expressing how you feel — it needs to be powerful because it needs to be authentic.” On February 11, Rihanna leaked an “uncut” version of the video on Twitter prior to the official premiere, featuring the singer performing to the track in one singular take, without Mikky Ekko. The official version premiered on E! News later that day. It was then uploaded to Rihanna’s official VEVO account at 8AM ET the following day.
The video opens with a shot of running water. Rihanna is then presented undressing and climbing into a bathtub. Throughout the rest of the video, the singer is presented nude in the tub full of cloudy green water; subtle camera angles protect her modesty. Rihanna is shown wearing little make-up and with long hair tangled and wet over one side of her face. The singer seems morose and sad as she occasionally flickers her eyes to the ceiling and puts her head in her hands, showing off long manicured nails and a diamond stud earring. The low-key video also features Mikky Ekko, who performs his parts of the song separately including scenes of him perched on the edge of a different bathtub, gazing into a mirror, in front of an unlit fireplace, and sitting on a grand chair. The video switches between the pair throughout the course of the video until it concludes with a single tear falling from Rihanna’s eye as she sinks lower into the bathtub.
What The Critics Say About Rihanna Stay
Rihanna Stay received mostly positive reviews from music critics. Jon Dolan for Rolling Stone was complimentary of Rihanna’s execution of the song, writing that she performs it “within an inch of its life” and “pleads at the piano.” Dolan continued to state that it is “stark” and “shadowy” which is “confrontationally honest.” Dan Martin for NME described “Stay” as Unapologetic‘s highlight, writing that it is a “gorgeous piano ballad.” Martin continued to write that the song “puts a vulnerable spin on the Brown situation, repeating another theme of the album”, a reference to her relationship with Chris Brown. Smokey Fontaine for the Huffington Post also praised “Stay”, placing emphasis on Rihanna’s vocal performance. He wrote that “Three years ago, no one would have paid attention to a beautiful piano-ballad like ‘Stay.’ Not because of the events we all witnessed, but because of how honest and emotionally-connected her vocals are.”
Lewis Corner for Digital Spy awarded “Stay” four out of five stars, commenting that Rihanna “doesn’t need all the controversial romp to top the charts.” Corner also compared “Stay” to the work of “some of 2012’s most successful female balladeers” Emeli Sandé and Lana Del Rey and concluded by stating that Rihanna “never [follows] the pack” but “[airs] her seemingly complex emotions through music’s current trend.” The song garnered a mixed review from Genevieve Koski for The A.V. Club, writing that the album is “heavy on the sort of milquetoast ballads that have never been Rihanna’s specialty” with regard to “Stay” and “What Now”. However, Jon Caramanica for The New York Timesnegatively critiqued the song, writing that it is “dull piano driven song.” The reason he gave for it being “dull” was that he felt “Stay”, along with “Get It Over With” and “Lost in Paradise”, were the “least texturally confrontational” and therefore “by far the least successful.”
Rihanna Stay moves me. I have been a fan of Rihanna for many years and find her music still exceeding the standard in the industry for Pop Music and R&B artists. She has never had to do what was “hot” or trendy. She finds a way to have songs written for her that meet her strengths and passion succinctly, while still consistently hitting the top of the charts. Of all her reecent music, I feel the most connection and energy from Rihanna Stay. The textured, simple piano and guitar match her emotional and personal honesty step-for-step.
Rihanna Stay Uptempo Remix
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