Dear Ms. Robyn "Rihanna" Fenty,
I write this under extreme duress and mental exhaustion. For almost two months, my days have begun and ended with the opening of what sounds like soft-fidgeting on a Phil Collins-esque drum machine and electric guitars before… "KISS IT, KISS IT BETTER, BABY!" Yes, I am talking about my one, my only, third track on your album ANTI "Kiss It Better." To me, this single is a religious experience akin to the water-baptism of Jesus with the lecherous sin of Judas Iscariot's betrayal of the twelve disciples. According to studies I've read on the internet, playing music makes you feel happier and improves blood vessel functions but I'm not sure if what I feel listening to this is regular. What it does to me couldn't be normal but I feel… I feel like I must share my story with you… Ms. Fenty.
"Kiss It Better" tells the story, I think, about two jilted ex-lovers whose seemingly toxic relationship is bound by lust and sex that "feels like crack." I say think because after listening to it for countless hours, even as I write this, my ears can only think of the moments the wailing guitar solos and 80s like soundscapes have kept me warm during the cold winters and "KISS IT, KISS IT BETTER, BABY!" Sorry.
I'd be lying if I said it was love at first sight. It was the slow creeping kind of love, the one you don't notice till it's too late. The way you, Ms. Fenty, sing "Man, fuck yo pride /Just take it on back, boy, take it on back, boy/ Take it back all night /Just take it on back, take it on back." The way the bass synths begin to rise and it seems your cries for coitus have reached a wall BUT you don't stop. Eventually, satisfaction finds you and comes with that "Mmm." That "Mmm." I've spent many-a-days trying to understand my obsession with this single and my heart tells me it starts there, with that "Mmm." The song credits read that Jeff Bhasker, Glass John, and Teddy Sinclair (formerly known as Natalia Kills) were responsible for the making of this and I'd like to thank whoever had a hand in that "Mmm." I'm no music theorist but that "Mmm" makes me feel something.
"Mmm" lifts the song into space, leading it to its inevitable beautiful hook it's "KISS IT, KISS IT BETTER, BABY!" To a place where a song is no longer "oh this is really good" but instead becomes victim to the abuse of the skip backwards button because you're self-conscious about listening to a song on loop for two plus hours. And eventually, it'd spill into work. The intern, the very one I employed here, would look at how long my cursor had been hovering over the album artwork and judge me quietly. More concerningly, were the involuntary actions the song would bring forth from my body.
Artist rendering of me, involuntarily dancing whenever "Kiss It Better" comes on. Thank you, CraigSJ .
It'd start innocently enough. The arena-ready power ballad would fill my soul and provoke me into doing subtle body rolls when I'd deem no one was watching. But then it'd evolve. Do you know what a Spinda is? Spinda is a panda/bunny-like Pokémon whose signature move is the "Teeter dance," where it wobbles uncontrollably, confusing itself and all other Pokémon in its proximity. And in a weird way, Ms. Fenty, your song turned me into a Pokémon. Morning, night, in my room, or on public transit, I'd start uncontrollably dancing attracting the concern and confusion of bystanders and co-workers. By this point, I didn't care who saw me anymore. This dance of sorts consists of me caressing myself from stomach to thighs, hugging my body while moving my hips in a circular motion. Followed by my hands mimicking a rubbing like motion over my pelvic region and then emulating a gunshot with my hands as I bit my lips. This is what I'd become. This was my "teeter dance."
Like kindred spirits, Ms. Fenty, it seems some semblance of my love for your very song and embarrassing choreography has found it's way to you for the video. This video, this video is a masterpiece only usurped by the original song. This video while cold in its imagery is warm in its movement. The way you deeply caress yourself exuding sexuality is everything I want for myself. How you cradle yourself in your blouse is how I, all 180 pounds of me, writhe around in my undershirt on the floor almost crushing my mother's bad foot. I have no explanation for what compels me to do this but maybe I don't want to find out. I don't need to know the ingredients behind the song and why this song makes me do what I do. People talk about what this song sounds like, or the dissection of why this resonates, but they miss what matters: the feeling. This song feels like the colour red. This feels like holding your current lover in your arms staring out the window thinking about better days with a working heater. This feels like I've entered a new stage, a new state of myself. I… I am Spinda and I don't need a reason to love.
So, thank you, Ms. Fenty. Thank you.
Jabbari caressed his body a disturbing amount of times while writing this. Follow and slander him on Twitter.