Rihanna – Higher is a song about the desire for late-night sex and companionship so urgent that it actually feels like a song about how much it hurts to have a Humvee back over your leg. And that is because Rihanna gives so much of herself in the vocal booth that it feels like she might pass out.
“I hope I ain’t calling you too late, too late/ You light my fire/ Let’s stay up late and smoke a J,” she sings, hitting throat-shredding notes at the top of her range. It might have escaped people’s notice that Rihanna is one of the best character actors in pop, because for a few years she played a chilly cypher, but “Higher” is pitched high enough to startle any remaining doubters into belief. “This whiskey got me feeling pretty” she slurs on the opening, a line that feels almost as instantly meme-able as Beyoncé’s “Driver, roll up the partition, please,” but it’s a joyful howl of abandon instead of a cool purr of control.
The song is yet another masterful piece of work from No I.D., whose late-career résumé at Def Jam is threatening to eclipse his golden-age rap bona fides at this point. He builds a track that sounds like a soul revue sliding off a collapsing stage, a wandering violin doodling random shit in the background. This song is two minutes long, but it is a complete transmission from someplace more louche and heartbroken and painful than our world.
[nextpage title=”Lyrics for Rihanna – Higher” ]Lyrics for Rihanna – Higher[/nextpage]
This whiskey got me feelin’ pretty
So pardon if I’m impolite
I just really need your ass with me
I’m sorry ’bout the other night
And I know I could be more creative
And come up with poetic lines
But I’m turnt up off sizz’ and “I love you”
Is the only thing that’s in my mind
You take me higher, higher than I’ve ever been, babe
Just come over, let’s pour a drink, babe
I hope I ain’t calling you too late, too late
You light my fire
Let’s stay up late and smoke a J
I wanna go back to the old way
But I’m drunk and still with a full ash tray
With a little bit too much to say