A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that RUSSIAN ROULETTE is about a girl holding a gun, deciding whether or not to shoot herself. The song ends with a gun going off. Though the song includes no graphic language, it does contain references to suicide that will disturb both young kids and teens alike. Parents will want to use the song as way to talk to their kids about the desperate, overwhelming feelings described here, and discuss what to do if the child or a friend ever feels this way.
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What's the story?
RUSSIAN ROULETTE is the initial single off the album Rated R, Rihanna’s first new record since being attacked by former boyfriend and fellow singer Chris Brown. Like the situation with Brown, the song’s story is deeply serious: armed with a gun, the singer wrestles with whether to take her own life, while a guy standing by attempts to talk her out of it: “As my life flashes before my eyes / I’m wondering will I ever see another sunrise? / So many won’t get the chance to say goodbye / But it’s too late to think of the value of my life.” There’s no explicit language in this disturbing tale, but the subject of suicide is much too mature for the youngest ears.
Is it any good?
Unfortunately, the music in this track is as depressing as the content. The tune kicks off with a promisingly cool beat that's soon overshadowed by a lackluster tempo that drags the song down. While Rihanna gives a solid vocal performance, the downbeat combination of the lyrics and music make it hard to get excited about this single. The one reedeeming thing? The song offers parents a good opportunity to talk with their kids about a serious subject.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the events in Rihanna's personal life. Not many things could be worse than a physical attack by someone you care about, but how could you cope with this traumatic situation besides considering suicide? What should you do if you ever experience the feelings Rihanna describes in the song? How would you handle it if a friend felt this way?
Read our article on the incident between Chris Brown and Rihanna to learn more about this tragic situation.
How could being the victim of domestic abuse make you devalue yourself to the point of not caring about life?
Was it irresponsible for Rihanna's producers to release this song as Rihanna's first single after the attack? Why do you think they chose this song?