"The Wait Is Ova. Nov 23 09," announced Rihanna on her Twitter page last week. But the wait for the first single off her much anticipated album 'Rated R' ended today, when she debuted 'Russian Roulette' on Ryan Seacrest's show. The ballad was written and produced by fellow Def Jam artist Ne-Yo, who has a long history of collaboration with Rihanna. You can listen to it here.
The artwork released by her label to coincide with the single is also causing a stir. In it, the singer is bound in barbed wire and wearing a see-through eye patch.Check it out after the jump.
The song follows a woman in the midst of a game of Russian roulette: "If you play, you play for keep/Take a gun, and count to three." It ends with the sound of a spinning barrel and finally, a gunshot. The intense lyrics could easily be a reference to Rihanna's abusive relationship with Chris Brown.
Ne-Yo seemed to confirm this before the single was even released, when he discussed the album with MTV News. "The best and safest way I can say this is that Rihanna has some stuff to say and she's going to say it," he said. "And she ain't going to make no apologies for it."
The rest of the album, which releases Nov. 23, also includes collaborations with The-Dream and Justin Timberlake. The music video for 'Russian Roulette,' which was directed by Anthony Mandler, will premiere on prime-time ABC.