Nearly a month after the unceremonious release of Rihanna’s Anti, the album’s peculiar rollout continues with not one, but two music videos for the lead single, “Work.” The first, like the track itself, is evocative of Velvet Rope-era Janet Jackson, specifically “Got ’til It’s Gone.” Helmed by Director X and shot at Toronto’s Caribbean-themed bar and restaurant The Real Jerk, the video conjures the iconic Janet clip’s hazy, sepia-hued, slow-motion aesthetic, if not its politics. Following the in-your-face “message” videos for “Bitch Better Have My Money” and “American Oxygen,” though, the laidback, communal vibe is a welcome reprieve. It’s also incredibly sexy.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the second video. Directed by Tim Erem, the neon-lit clip finds Rihanna, dressed in a sheer top that leaves little to the imagination, grinding for guest Drake, who sits on a couch behind her, leering like he’s watching a private dancer in the back room of a stripper joint. They trade places during the rapper’s verse, but not long enough to shake the video’s overall misogynistic tone. The more serious crime, however, is just how boring it all is.
Watch both videos for “Work” here: