Rihanna's "Work" Lyrics Make No Sense

by Michelle Lulic

There's no denying just how catchy the beat of Rihanna's latest song "Work" is. As soon as the song starts, the urge to belt out the lyrics and move your hips to the song's rhythm can not be contained. However, there's one little issue when it comes to relating to the actual meaning of the song. The overall message of the song "Work" is just not that clear. There. I said it. And, while some die-hard Rihanna fans may disagree, it's hard to deny the feeling of disconnect that exists between the song's verses and chorus. Aside from the very lyrics, "Work work work work work," the rest of the song leaves listeners trying to figure out why she's saying the word "Work" in the first place. Because Rihanna's "Work" lyrics make no sense.

Even after you acknowledge Rihanna's use of Jamaican Patois within the song, the lyrics still fail to grab your complete understanding. My issue with the song is that Rihanna just can't seem to pick one focus for it. Instead, she seems to be flip-flopping her perspective as the song goes on. In the song's first verse, she's talking about feeling like she's been strung along and wasn't treated right. This can be seen from the lyrics stating, "You took my heart on my sleeve for decoration. You mistaken, my love, I brought for you for foundation." However, by the time Rihanna gets to the song's second verse, she's suddenly apologizing as if she's the one at fault in the relationship: "Baby, don't you leave. Don’t leave me stuck here in the streets."

And then, by the time you get to Drake's verse, the whole perspective of the song seems to be skewed again. From Drake's point of view, he's trying to win her over with the lyrics, "Long distance, I need you. When I see potential, I just gotta see it through." So, is the song focused on two people who want to be together but haven't been honest with themselves? Or is it about a relationship that failed because one party wasn't treating the other person right? Honestly, when listening to the song, the perspective changes so much that you don't know which one of your weird life relationship situations you can connect the song to.

Yes, relationships can be tricky. When distance and work tear two people apart, things can get complicated. There could be a mix between feeling like you're the one at fault and hating that other person. So, perhaps that's the overall idea that Rihanna is trying to bring about with this song? However, even if you accept that, there's no denying how random the song's chorus is in spite of that overall message.

Work, work, work, work, work, workHe said me haffiWork, work, work, work, work, work!He see me do miDirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt!So me put inWork, work, work, work, work, workWhen you ah guhLearn, learn, learn, learn, learnMeh nuh cyar if himHurt, hurt, hurt, hurt, hurting

When looking at the chorus, a couple of different things now become clear. In the beginning, Rihanna is the one who has to put in the work for the relationship. But, as the chorus goes on, suddenly he's the one who has to learn in their situation, and she can't tell if he's hurting. The lack of communication within their relationship is readily apparent. But the need to throw all of that relationship, disconnect drama into the song? It's just confusing and unnecessary. And, personally, I think it takes away from the song's ability to hold a strong message. Instead, listening to the song is like listening to your friend vent about her on-again-off-again relationship that you just can't seem to keep up with. Are they on good terms? Who screwed up this time? And why are neither of you even listening to what the other person has to say?

When it comes to the song "Work," I'm just going to have to focus on the beat, because the lyrics are seriously confusing.

Images: RihannaVEVO/YouTube