Rihanna just released her video for ANTI highlight “Needed Me,” a gift she’s bestowing on the internet “just because it’s 4/20.” It’s the third single she’s released from the album to date — “Work” and “Kiss It Better” came first — and the video was directed by Harmony Korine, the director best known for 2013’s lurid Florida fantasy Spring Breakers. (He’s also directed videos for Cat Power and Sonic Youth.) She teased the video on Twitter and Instagram early this morning, and the NSFW label definitely applies here — there’s plenty of nudity and violence crammed into three minutes.
“Needed Me” really does feel like something of a Spring Breakers sequel, one that happens to feature one of the biggest pop stars on the planet (sorry, Selena Gomez): it’s full of mask-wearing gunmen, motorcycles ripping through shabby neighborhoods, and dimly lit strip club scenes. Rihanna’s clearly in charge, whether she’s strutting through the club with a pistol like she owns the place or lounging around a beachfront condo in some kind of sheer gown. She heads into the back room and takes down her adversary with a few shots to the head, and it’s a chilling, bloody scene. “Work” is still riding high on top of the Billboard charts, but “Needed Me” is one of the best songs on ANTI, and this video might be compelling enough to help Rihanna take her own place at the Hot 100’s peak.
– Jamieson Cox