Calvin Harris and Rihanna’s New Song Is Exactly What We Came For


When Rihanna dropped the Calvin Harris-produced banger “We Found Love” in 2011, the entire world turned technicolor. Her unabashed embrace of Harris’ pulsating electro beat made it the lead single to end all lead singles. EDM festival-ready sounds were starting to dominate the charts, but the way Rihanna jumped atop the beat — gleefully singing somber lyrics that subverted the idea of emptiness with one of hope and joy — made it feel like the sound was made for her. She exercised restraint by giving way to a beat that commanded center stage, and the balance they struck helped to propel the song straight to the top of the charts. And it sat there, for a while — 10 weeks to be exact.

The pair’s newest offering, fittingly titled “This Is What You Came For,” clearly expands upon those same ideas that made “We Found Love” such an instant classic. So the real question is why wouldn’t these two seemingly unstoppable superpowers reunite eventually? And now that they have, the question is, why did it take so long? Those questions may ever get answered, but at least the two found some time to spare in the studio together. Because they’re back, and they didn’t disappoint.

Though it’s certainly not as immediately gripping — primarily because this sound isn’t exactly surprising anymore — “This Is What You Came For” is definitely just as catchy. Guided by a similarly thumping groove, but this time overlaid with spliced vocals and a disco synth, it’s the type of song that could play on repeat for hours in the background without offending, but instantly be turned to max volume and incite a full-on dance party.

The lyrics mostly tread the same line, too. Whether or not Rihanna is singing about herself in the third person is up for interpretation, but with her #nofux confidence it’s not hard to imagine that she is. “Baby, this is what you came for / Lightning strikes every time she moves / And everybody’s watching her / But she’s looking at you,” she belts out in the chorus over a beat that steadily builds to a familiar tropical house drop. Nothing profound, of course, but effective enough to warrant countless radio spins and guaranteed slots in club DJs’ regular sets.

Since 2011, both Rihanna and Harris have seen their star power grow. The former recently staged a full-fledged fashion show during NYFW for a collection that she designed collaboratively with Puma while the latter’s very public relationship with Taylor Swift makes him the perfect victim for constant tabloid fodder. They’re arguably two of the biggest commercial forces in music right now. In addition to the fact that her old single “Work” is still sitting pretty in the top five, Rihanna’s newest single, “Needed Me.” is inching closer to the top 10 every week. And less than a week ago, Calvin Harris was closing out the Polo Fields in Indio at Coachella as the main stage headliner.

We’re declaring it, right now: Rihanna and Calvin Harris have another hit. It’s official. Say hello to the song of the summer, because you’re staring it right in the face.