Fantasy animates pop music, and so it is with Rihanna’s addictive “Silly Boy,” the most cathartic song since Paramore’s “Misery Business”: A joyous, unequivocal kiss-off, it might give the impression — with Rihanna’s brutal (alleged) beating by Chris Brown inevitably hanging over it — that domestic violence disappears in the rearview once you put your car in gear. In reality, of course, women escape it only as easily as they escape their economic, social, and psychological conditions, and it ain’t normally to the sound of a fantastic Euro-type beat. But that’s what we have here — along with chugging guitar, hand-claps, an indestructible hook (courtesy Lady Gaga), and Rihanna’s most human performance on tape. Musically, it’s miraculous. And come to think of it, even if “Sick Man” would make a more appropriate title than “Silly Boy,” there’s desperation mixed into this outrage, a real sense that you can tell someone to get out of your face without being sure that they’ll go. There won’t be a more fascinating song this year.
UPDATE: We are mortified to report that this is not, as some commenters pointed out, actually Rihanna’s song — her publicist confirmed this when we emailed the label. We should have known better than to trust Kanye’s Blog and The Sun.Rihanna Makes the Comeback of a Lifetime