"Russian Roulette" (CD single) Music Poster Image

"Russian Roulette" (CD single)



Controversial single about suicide is dark, depressing.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

In this song, the singer considers ending her own life; worse, she pulls the trigger in the end. 

Positive role models

After the attack by Chris Brown, it’s undoubtedly taken courage for Rihanna to move on with her life and career; still, releasing a song about shooting yourself doesn’t exactly qualify her for the job of role model. 


The song revolves around shooting yourself: “Take the gun and count to three / I’m sweating now, moving slow / No time to think, my turn to go … So just pull the trigger.”

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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?

Music details

Release date:November 17, 2009
Label:Def Jam
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

This review of "Russian Roulette" (CD single) was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 17 years old Written byBigbillyboy September 24, 2012

I agree.

So I was playing Super Mario Galaxy 2 and when my mom was listening to the radio,this horrible song came on! It was so slow and boring,which is the reason why this song sucks.I HATE slow music! Now,I don't hate ALL of it,but this song was so horrible,I asked my mom to change the radio station!
Teen, 16 years old Written byLucas Couldron May 13, 2012


This song really sucks! It's so slow and boring! I hate slow songs (It Will Rain by Bruno Mars is the ONLY one I like)!
Teen, 15 years old Written byarthur16morgana January 14, 2011
to me its like she comparing the game russian roulette to an abusive relationship.but i have to say the video for this song is kinda creepy not scary but creppy.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Family Media Agreement