After making its premiere in IMAX Cinemas across the country, the music video for Rihanna’s new single, “Sledgehammer,” debuted on Tidal and YouTube this morning. The song, an over-produced power ballad lifted from the Star Trek Beyond soundtrack, finds the singer successfully aping the vocal style of Sia, who co-wrote the track. The pair previously collaborated on Rihanna’s hit “Diamonds,” a far more effective blending of the two stars’ signature sounds.
The video itself is similarly overwrought, featuring Rihanna, sans eyebrows, casting spells in a largely CGI-generated alien desert. With the “Nothing Is Promised” singer’s face tattoos, weird top ponytail, and blood-orange kimono-style jumpsuit billowing in the extraterrestrial breeze, the clip makes nods to Madonna’s “Frozen.” But the heavy-handed “Sledgehammer” lacks that iconic video’s haunting starkness, replacing it with special effects that have the subtlety of, well, a sledgehammer.