Rihanna’s new “Diamonds” video opens with her raking her fingers through piles of the titular stones and ends with her adrift at sea. In between, there is no shortage of evocative imagery (glamorous black-and-white close-ups, thick plumes of translucent smoke, oversaturated hill-scapes, artfully silhouetted stallions), all of which make for a visually arresting experience — though those looking for some insight into the song’s meaning would probably be best served checking out one of the countless lyric videos circulating online.
While the song seems to hint at Rihanna’s ongoing maturation (and happiness in a new relationship), the video works overtime at creating a mood, one that amplifies the song’s laid-back, luxurious sonics. So director Anthony Mandler — who has had quite the year, with Fun.’s “Some Nights” and “Carry On” and Lana Del Rey’s “National Anthem” and “Ride” to his credit in 2012 — fills the thing with appropriately eye-catching scenery, switching between colors and textures, toying with reversed footage and adding artful close-ups of entwined appendages. The result is both incredibly intimate and wide-screen public — which, come to think of it, is sort of like the song itself.
In a way, the “Diamonds” video showcases Rihanna’s continued growth as an artist. Unlike her Instagrams and album covers, when it came time to shoot the video, she decided to rely less on exposed skin and shock, opting instead to create something of genuine beauty. And sure, there are nods to the song’s pro-relationship sentiments (the arms of two supposed lovers interlocked, the image of two stallions standing side by side), but overall, this video plays more like a visual poem. And while it might not recall some of her more salacious clips, “Diamonds” definitely proves one old adage to be true: A picture is worth a thousand words.
What do you think of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” video? Let us know in the comments!