We Found Love

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"We Found Love"
Single by Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris
from the album Talk That Talk
Released September 22, 2011 (2011-09-22)
Format
Recorded 2011; Fly Eye Studios (London), Westlake Recording Studios (Los Angeles)
Genre
Length 3:35
Label
Writer(s) Calvin Harris
Producer(s) Calvin Harris
Rihanna singles chronology
  • "We Found Love"
  • (2011)
Calvin Harris chronology
  • "We Found Love"
  • (2011)

"We Found Love" is a song recorded by Barbadian singer Rihanna for her sixth studio album, Talk That Talk (2011). It was written, produced by and features Scottish DJ Calvin Harris; the song was also later featured on his third album 18 Months (2012). Harris has also produced one more song for Talk That Talk, "Where Have You Been". "We Found Love" premiered on September 22, 2011, in the United Kingdom on the Capital FM radio station and was made available to download on the same day as the lead single from the album. The track is a dance-pop and electro house song, with elements of techno and Europop. It is heavily composed of repetitive synthesizers, alarm bells, and a keyboard. The song's lyrics speak of a couple who "found love in a hopeless place".[1]

"We Found Love" was met with mixed reviews from music critics, who praised the song's composition and Rihanna's vocal performance; however, some critics felt that the lyrical content was sparse and came second to Harris' production. Commercially, the song was a major success. In the United States, the song topped the Billboard Hot 100 for ten non-consecutive weeks, becoming the longest running number one single of 2011 and of the 2010s decade until Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" (2013); it also surpassed "Umbrella" as her longest running number one single. It became Rihanna's eleventh song to top the Hot 100, placing her in third place amongst female recording artists amassing the most number one singles. "We Found Love" topped the charts in twenty-five countries including Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It also attained top five positions in Australia, Belgium and Czech Republic and peaked in the top ten of charts in twenty-nine countries worldwide, becoming one of the most successful songs in 2011 and 2012 as well becoming the 24th most successful single of all time on Billboard. According to IFPI, worldwide, the single has sold over 10.5 million copies making it one of the best selling singles of all time.

The song's accompanying music video, directed by Melina Matsoukas, depicts the singer as a drug-abusing thrill-seeker in a relationship that quickly spirals downward into addiction and violence. The video received a mixed response from critics, as they noted that it profoundly alludes to ex-boyfriend Chris Brown's assault on Rihanna, two years prior. It attracted criticism from political commentators, who questioned the video for its suggestive sexual nature. However, its impact was significant, with the video winning a Grammy for "Best Short Form Music Video" at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards and "Video of the Year" at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards. The song has been performed on both the UK and US versions of The X Factor, as well as at the 2012 Grammy Awards and the 2012 BRIT Awards. "We Found Love" became the number-one Top 40 song of 2012.[2]

Background[edit]

"It changed absolutely everything. Career-wise it was the best thing that could ever have happened. For example, in America my tune 'Feel So Close' came out about three months before. But when 'We Found Love' came out, the radio started playing 'Feel So Close' like it was the single after. Then that did really well, it charted well and sold a lot of copies.

—Harris talking about the success of "We Found Love"[3]

Following the release and success of her album Loud (2010), Rihanna originally revealed via Twitter that the album would be re-issued with new songs and released in Fall 2011, writing that "[t]he [Loud era] continues with more new music to add to [your] collection".[4][5] In September 2011, Rihanna again took to the social networking site to confirm that the plans had been scrapped, with the singer tweeting "I [thought about] a [re-release], but LOUD is its own body of work! Plus [you] guys work so hard that [you] deserve to act brand new".[6] On September 19, 2011, Rihanna further provoked excitement amongst her followers when she posted that she was listening to the song, only to be re-tweeted by Calvin Harris, who replied "Sometimes it feels like we find love in the most hopeless place", suggesting that his response contained possible lyrics from the song.[7] In an interview with Capital FM, Harris – who produced the track[8][9] – explained that followers of Rihanna had sent messages to him regarding their expectations of the song, saying "The song better not be rubbish", which he interpreted as slightly threatening, but went on to say that "it's all part of the fun".[10] In an interview for Q magazine, Harris said of the lyric, "we found love in a hopeless place," "It could have been Jumpin Jaks in Dumfries (Harris' home town), I don't know exactly what I was thinking about."[citation needed]

"We Found Love" premiered in the United Kingdom on September 22, 2011, on Capital FM,[11] and was sent for mainstream adds in the United States on October 11, 2011.[7][12][13] The song was released via iTunes on September 22, 2011.[14] During an interview with MTV News, Calvin Harris revealed, "'We Found Love,' is the most successful thing I've done ever... It's not strictly a song by me, obviously, it's by Rihanna. She sings it...It was great to work with her... No one could have taken it as far as she did. You can't escape it here [in America]. I've heard it a lot. I've heard it probably more times today than I did when I was mixing it. Which is a good thing... Ever since the Rihanna song did well, a lot of people want to do some stuff, which is great... That's what I enjoy doing. In terms of actual names, I've not done anything yet."[15] In October 2012, British singer Leona Lewis claimed that she was originally chosen to sing the song but ended up losing it to Rihanna when Harris went touring with the latter, commenting. "I didn’t commit to it because I wanted "Trouble" to be my first single so I think that was another reason they went with Rihanna. It was the same version and production but mine’s better."[16] In 2013, Nicole Scherzinger claimed that she was the first artist given the song but ended up rejecting it, commenting. "I've got the demo of that song and I was busy at the time. They'd sent me a few dance tracks and I wasn't able to get to them and I was like, 'Oh there's so much dance and I want to take a break from it."[17][18]

Artwork[edit]

The artwork for "We Found Love" was released by Rihanna's official Facebook page on September 22, 2011.[19] Grady Smith of Entertainment Weekly '​s The Music Mix criticized the song's artwork, writing "'We found love in a hopeless place,' Rihanna repeats over a David Guetta-ish synth beat. But judging by the single cover, her place doesn't look too hopeless, does it? Maybe there's a building on fire outside the frame, and that fire hydrant doesn't work. I guess that would be hopeless."[20] A reviewer for Sugar Magazine wrote that "On anyone else this would be a pretty odd look but Rihanna somehow makes a denim overload look good."[21] A reviewer for Neon Limelight commented that Rihanna appeared to be adopting a tomboy image for the new project, writing, "She really is going for that sexy tomboy look this album era it seems; remember the laid back look she rocked on the single's cover art?".[22]

Composition[edit]

A 21-second sample of "We Found Love".

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"We Found Love" is an electro house and dance-pop[23][24] song with elements of Europop, pop, techno,[25] trance, and Euro disco.[26][27] According to the digital music sheet published at musicnotes.com, the song is written in the key of G-flat major and it is set at a tempo of 128 beats per minute.[28] The instrumentation of "We Found Love" consists of alarm bells, a keyboard,[27] repetitive pumped-up synthesizers and 4/4 beats.[29][30]

Rihanna's vocal range in the song spans one octave, from the lower note of C♯4 to the higher note of C♯5.[28] Priya Elan of NME commented that Rihanna sounds "extremely relaxed"[27] and Bill Lamb of About.com wrote that her vocals are simple and unaffected.[24] Leah Collins of The Vancouver Sun wrote that Rihanna's vocals on "We Found Love" were similar to her own ones on "Fly".[30] According to Elan, the keyboard work in the song bears resemblance to that in from "Only Girl (In the World)" and the melody is similar to that of "Complicated", a track included in Rihanna's 2010 studio album Loud.[27] Similarly, Michael Cragg of The Guardian noted that "We Found Love" is in the same vein as "Only Girl (In the World)", with regard to its dance beat.[31]

The lyrical content of the song is spare and largely revolves around Rihanna chanting the song's hook line,[24] "We found love in a hopeless place".[1] Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone described it as "half-baked romantic".[29] Rihanna starts the song in a falsetto airy voice as she sings, "Yellow diamonds in the light / And we’re standing side by side / As your shadow crosses mine / What it takes to come alive."[23][32] Michael Cragg commented that the first chorus is almost being sidelined in favor of a large chunk of Harris's riff, before they join on the second chorus.[31] The hook repeatedly rings throughout the song.[32]

Critical reception[edit]

The song received mixed reviews from music critics, with most commenting on its lyrical content. Amanda Dobbins of New York magazine praised the composition of the song, writing "Harris's electro fingerprints are all over this one — it plays like a straight house track, with some dreamy Rihanna vocals added in over the beat."[33] Robbie Daw of Idolator commented on the song's lyrics, with particular emphasis on the line "We found love in a hopeless place", writing that it is possibly the best lyric in pop music so far in 2011.[34] A reviewer for Instinct magazine praised the song, writing that "We Found Love" does not mark a departure from the dance-floor oriented material Rihanna debuted on Loud, but it certainly boasts "a higher-energy, peak-hour vibe".[35] Similarly, Michael Cragg of The Guardian commented that the song takes the dance direction Rihanna hinted at on "Only Girl (In the World)" and continues releasing similar songs, making reference to "We Found Love".[31] Cragg also likened the song to Leona Lewis's recent single, "Collide", but criticized the song's structure, writing "[it] is slightly odd".[31] He ended his review writing, "Either way, she could have recited Nick Clegg's conference speech from Wednesday over the sound of Harris cracking his knuckles and it would be a hit."[31]

Priya Elan of NME commented, "By now it's pretty customary to have a jaw-on-the-floor reaction to the first single from a Rihanna album. 'Pon De Replay', 'SOS', 'Umbrella', 'Russian Roulette', 'Only Girl In The World'."[27] Despite complimenting Rihanna for sounding extremely relaxed and calling her vocal as "luxurious calling to mind the atmosphere", Elan concluded that the over-all effect is underwhelming.[27] She continued by writing that instead of re-inventing the pop wheel, "We Found Love" has "a whiff of treading-water about it" and that "if there is a 'goosebump' moment to be had it comes after many multiple plays and, dare we say it, a glass of something strong."[27] Awarding "We Found Love" two stars out of five, Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone was critical, writing that it "is much ado about very little indeed" and that is "an insipid tune". He concluded that Rihanna repeats 'We found love in a hopeless place' "approximately 350 times, hoping it will start to mean something. It's the worst single of Rihanna’s career. It will probably top the Hot 100 anyway."[29] Leah Collins of The Vancouver Sun initially praised Rihanna's vocal performance in the song, writing that she "smoothes out her vocals", before adding, "Angelic as she sounds, though, [her] performance – which is mostly just her repeating the line 'We found love in a hopeless place' – seems to take second place to Harris' repetitive synth-based blare."[30] Similarly, Amos Barshad of Grantland criticized the singer's vocal performance, calling it "a complete afterthought" before concluding, "People who regularly attend the Electric Zoo festival: Rihanna wants your money!"[25]

A reviewer for GlobalGrind commented on the song's lyrics, suggesting that there is perhaps an underlying message in the song for ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, in the line "We found love in a hopeless place".[32] This further raised suspicion when Brown re-tweeted one of Rihanna's posts on Twitter, which read "Sometimes it feels like we find love in the most hopeless place".[32][36] Jessica Herndon of People magazine praised the song, saying that "'We Found Love' had an amazing influence on people all across the world in 2012, becoming one of the most popular and most successful songs".[37]

Pitchfork Media commented, "Over a frantic, Calvin Harris-produced, Guetta-meets-'Sandstorm' beat on her sixth record's lead-off single, Rihanna repeats these words almost 20 times. 'We Found Love' ranks among Ri's best singles because it recognizes that there's not much more that needs to be said: in three and a half minutes, the line moves from being a great pop lyric to a triumphant mantra to something suggestive of a whole spectrum of unspoken emotion. The best pop music transports you to somewhere beyond words, and Rihanna's strongest singles all seem to be in on this secret."[38] Allmusic chose the song as a highlight on Talk That Talk, and wrote about the "singer's ecstatic vocal than Calvin Harris' shrill, plinky production".[39] Los Angeles Times commented that the song was an "ode for bad love" and added it "wouldn't be out of place at Electric Daisy Carnival".[40] The New York Times '​ writer commented "'We Found Love' almost criminally recalls the swinging Crystal Waters singles, with triumphant percussion somewhere between church and seventh-inning stretch."[41] Billboard magazine also praised the song, saying that: "Through a haze of glitter and bliss, Rihanna emerges to let us find a gorgeous hook in a hopeless place, and Calvin Harris becomes a household name."[42] USA Today considered the song to be a highlight on the set, commenting that Rihanna sings "bistfully".[43] Entertainment Weekly noted, "U.K. club king Calvin Harris trades Rihanna's usual somber synths for disco ecstasy on 'We Found Love,' a song that builds and builds to a climax that's so arena-ready it practically begs for someone to blow a vuvuzela".[44]

Recognition and awards[edit]

MTV chose "We Found Love" as the third best song of 2011, and "Video of the Year" at the MTV Video Music Awards 2012. The writers of the website further commented, "The leadoff single from Talk That Talk is where Rihanna fully embraced EDM. Produced by Calvin Harris, 'We Found Love' is a swirling party track about love and loss, the rare song that manages to be sad and joyous all at once. And it is a pinnacle of the pop/dance crossover, a throwback to '90s raves that could make even the most stoic lover of pop want to break out a glow stick and just dance.[45] Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone put "We Found Love" at number eleven on his list of Top 25 Songs of 2011 commenting, "While her other hits tried to camouflage her spindly voice, here it just strains for that spindly melody."[46] It was named the third biggest love song of all time by Billboard.[47]

Year Ceremony Award Result
2012 Billboard Music Awards Top Radio Song[48] Nominated
International Dance Music Awards Best R&B/Urban Dance Track[49] Won
Best Music Video[49] Nominated
Best Commercial/Pop Dance Track[49] Won
MTV Video Music Awards Video Of The Year[50] Won
Best Female Video[50] Nominated
Best Pop Video[50] Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Video[51] Nominated
Best Song[51] Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Japan Best Female Video[52] Nominated
Best Pop Video[52] Nominated
MuchMusic Video Awards International Video of the Year[53] Nominated
UR Fave International Artist[53] Nominated
NRJ Music Awards Best International Song[54] Nominated
UK Music Video Awards Best Pop Video - International[55] Nominated
2013 55th Grammy Awards Best Short Form Music Video[56] Won

Chart performance[edit]

Oceania[edit]

"We Found Love" made its chart debut on the New Zealand Singles Chart on September 26, 2011, at number 14,[57] and in its fifth week, rose to number one.[57] It remained at the top for nine straight weeks, becoming Rihanna's longest-running single in the country, overtaking 'Umbrella' which reigned for six weeks in 2007.[58][59] The song has since been certified three-times platinum by the RIANZ, denoting shipments of 45,000 copies.[60] In Australia, "We Found Love" debuted on the Australian Singles Chart on October 9, 2011, at number three.[61] In its second week on the chart, "We Found Love" fell to number four, but peaked at number two in its third week, where it remained for a further four weeks.[61][62] As of February 2013, the song has been certified six-times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association, denoting shipments of 420,000 copies, marking Rihanna's best-selling single in the country as a lead artist.[63]

North America[edit]

With "We Found Love" becoming Rihanna's eleventh number-one single on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, the singer was tied with Whitney Houston in third place amongst females with the most number one singles on the chart, behind Madonna (12) and Mariah Carey (18).

In the United States, the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on September 28, 2011, at number 16.[64] "We Found Love" became the singer's second highest debut on the chart out of her 31 Hot 100 chart entries,[64] with the highest being her collaboration with Eminem, "Love the Way You Lie", which debuted at number two in July 2010.[64] The following week, "We Found Love" rose to number nine, giving Rihanna the record for a solo artist to have amassed twenty top-ten singles in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the shortest amount of time. Rihanna achieved the feat in a time span of six years and four months, surpassing the record previously held by Madonna who managed the achievement in a time span of six years and nine months.[65] In its sixth week on the chart, the song reached number one, giving Rihanna her eleventh number-one single[66] thus tying her with Whitney Houston in fifth place for the highest amount of number-one singles in the 53-year history of the chart,[66] behind The Beatles (20), Mariah Carey (18), Michael Jackson (13), and a fourth place tie between Madonna and The Supremes (both with 12).[66] Rihanna also tied with Houston as the female artists with the third most number-one singles on the chart, behind Carey and Madonna.[66] "We Found Love" spent 8 consecutive weeks and two additional weeks (after 2 weeks at number two) at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, surpassing "Umbrella" as Rihanna's longest number-one single in the country, and was the longest-running number one of 2011.[67][68] It was certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping more than 4 million digital copies.[69] As of May 2013, the song has sold 5 million digital copies in the US.[70] On August 1, 2013, Billboard announced that "We Found Love" is the 24th biggest Hot 100 hit of all time in the chart's 55 year history.[71]

"We Found Love" debuted at number seven on the US Hot Digital Songs chart, with digital download sales of 117,000 after only four days according to Nielsen SoundScan.[64] In its fifth week, the song rose to number one, with sales of 231,000 copies, giving Rihanna her eleventh number-one song on the chart, further extending her record as the artist with the most number ones.[72] The song spent a second week at number one on the chart, with sales of 243,000 copies, bringing total sales to 1,057,000 copies sold, marking Rihanna's twentieth download to reach the million-selling milestone, extending her record for the most such downloads among women.[66] On October 12, 2011, the song debuted at number 39 on the US Hot Dance Club Songs chart and number 21 on the Pop Songs chart.[73] It eventually reached number one on both charts.[74] It was, until 2013, the most recent song to spend at least two consecutive weeks atop the US Hot Dance Club chart, until Daft Punk's "Get Lucky". "We Found Love" also peaked at numbers three and two on the US Latin Songs and Latin Pop Songs charts, becoming Rihanna's highest-charting single on both charts.[75][76] Furthermore, the song reached the top spot on the Canadian Hot 100 chart.[77]

Europe[edit]

In the United Kingdom, "We Found Love" debuted at number one with 87,000 copies sold[78] on the UK Singles Chart,[79] UK Dance Chart[80] and UK Digital Download Chart[81] on October 9, 2011, despite only having been released for four days.[80] With "We Found Love" debuting atop the singles chart, the singer set a record by becoming the first female solo artist to top the chart six times in five consecutive years, having previously held pole position with "Umbrella", "Take A Bow", "Run This Town", "Only Girl (In The World)" and "What's My Name" between 2007 and 2011.[78][82] The song retained its number-one position on all three charts for three consecutive weeks, selling 92,000 copies in its third week.[83] In its fourth week on the chart, the song slipped to number three on the singles chart, but still sold 85,453 copies[84] - the highest number-three position sales mark since The Darkness '​s "Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)" in the last week of 2003.[84] Total sales for "We Found Love" in the United Kingdom stood at 372,268 after just 24 days.[84] In its fifth week, the song climbed a place to number two but then in its sixth week, the song returned to number-one for a fourth non-consecutive week (the record would be broken 3 years later when Pharrell Williams' single "Happy" took a five week break from the top-spot before returning to pole position) and eventually topped the chart for six weeks, resulting in Rihanna overtaking Adele as the artist with the most cumulutive weeks at number one of 2011, with a total of seven weeks between "We Found Love" and her January release "What's My Name?".[85] In addition, in its sixth week Rihanna scored her second "chart double" of the year when Talk That Talk and its debut single placed at number one on both the albums and singles charts. This achievement had not been achieved since 1979 and made Rihanna the first female artist in chart history to score two "chart doubles" in the same year, with the singer's previous album Loud and its second single, 'What's My Name?' topping both charts earlier in 2011.[86] By February 2012, the single had racked up 1,006,460 copies in 19 weeks, making it Rihanna's second solo track (third overall) to reach the million sales plateau since October 2011, following "Love The Way You Lie" (Eminem featuring Rihanna) and "Only Girl (In the World)".[87] In November 2012, it was included on 'The Million Sellers' list by the Official Charts Company, consisting of the best-selling singles in the UK that have sold at least one million copies since 1952. It charted at number 76 out of a total 123, having sold 1.13 million copies.[88] As of November 2013, the single has sold 1.32 million copies in the UK alone, marking Rihanna's biggest-selling single in the country of her career.[89] The song debuted at number one in Scotland on October 15, 2011.[90] The single is the 9th best-selling song of all time by a female artist in the UK.[91]

Elsewhere in Europe, the song topped the charts in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland and attained top-five positions in the Flanders and Wallonia regions of Belgium at numbers three and two, and reached number two in the Czech Republic and Spain and three in the Netherlands. In Germany "We Found Love" entered the single chart at number one on October 28, 2011,[92] becoming Rihanna's fourth number one in the country. After being deposed for a week, the track rebounded to take the lead spending three further weeks at the top, becoming Rihanna's second longest-running number one hit in the country after "Umbrella" in 2007.[93] In France, "We Found Love" has sold 145,000 copies as of 2011.[94] The song topped certain European charts for lengthly periods including in Norway for nine non-consecutive weeks,[95] Ireland for seven consecutive weeks[96] and Denmark for six weeks.[97]

Music video[edit]

A screenshot of Rihanna vomiting pink and white streamers (pictured)

The music video for "We Found Love" was shot in late September 2011, in County Down, Northern Ireland[98] and the New Lodge area of North Belfast.[99] The video was directed by Melina Matsoukas,[100] who had previously directed the videos for "Hard" (2009), "Rude Boy" (2010), "Rockstar 101" (2010) and the controversial "S&M" (2011).[101][102] Anticipation for the video grew in the United Kingdom when the national news picked up on the story of sixty-one year-old Northern Ireland farmer Alan Graham withdrawing his permission to film in his barley field in Bangor, County Down after taking issue with Rihanna's clothing, focusing on her appearing topless and also wearing a red bikini top which he thought was an "inappropriate state of undress".[103] Rihanna and her film crew departed amiably after Graham advised them to "be acquainted with God and to consider his son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and his death and Resurrection."[103]

The video begins with a monologue about love and heartbreak by an unseen narrator, fashion model Agyness Deyn.[104][105] Multiple scenes of Rihanna and her lover, Dudley O'Shaughnessy, are intercut throughout the narration, depicting them in different love and hate situations with each other. The two are shown as completely enamored with each other while engaging in fun activities together, including enjoying their time at an indoor skating centre and eating in fast food restaurants. During the chorus, the video shows the romance to be somewhat warped, as images of drugs, various pills and dilated pupils are shown, while brief scenes of Rihanna and her boyfriend preparing to engage in sexual intercourse and their various stages of undress are shown. The chorus continues and the video abruptly cuts to Rihanna and other people at an outdoor rave, dancing to music. Calvin Harris features as the DJ during this scene.

From the second verse, Rihanna and her boyfriend are seen happily running amok in a supermarket, pushing each other in a shopping cart and spraying canned drinks at each other. This scene is interrupted with Rihanna in a Pontiac Trans Am outside with her boyfriend who begins to recklessly drive in circles, resulting in Rihanna asking him to stop the car which ensues into an argument between the pair. The video then progressively shows the couple experiencing mounting difficulties in their relationship. Rihanna removes herself from the car and returns moments later where we see her boyfriend grab her chin to look at him, suggesting that he is domestically violent towards her. During the final chorus Rihanna can be seen vomiting what appears to be pink and white streamers; she is also seen passed out on the street while her boyfriend tries to revive her. In another scene, Rihanna is seen lying on a couch while her boyfriend tattoos the word 'MINE' on her backside. Eventually, Rihanna decides to leave her boyfriend after finding him passed out on the floor of his apartment - and most likely due to the previous events shown throughout the video. The clip ends with Rihanna curled up in the corner of a room, crying.[106][107][108]

The video generated controversy for its depiction of violence and drug use, as well as for Rihanna's removal of her clothes during filming.[109] One journalist wrote, "The song is probably one of the most talked about in the country following the Barbadian being told to 'find God' after running naked through a Northern Irish farmer's field."[110] It was described as a "disgrace" by an anti-rape campaigner,[111] and Christian commenters worried about the effects of the video and that "Rihanna is damaging the moral and self-worth of young impressionable teens."[112] However, The Guardian praised the video for being different in its time period and called it "a very British music video", comparing it to UK TV series, Skins.[113] In December 2012 the video was nominated for a Grammy Award for 'Best Short-Form Music Video.

Live performances[edit]

Rihanna performing "We Found Love" on the Loud Tour (2011)

"We Found Love" was performed for the first time on November 14, 2011, at Rihanna's Loud Tour (2011) in London.[114] On November 17, 2011, Rihanna performed the song on first season of The X Factor USA.[115] The performance featured Rihanna wearing torn jeans and a bomber jacket with neon signs also present on the stage.[115] On November 20, 2011, Rihanna performed the song on the eighth season of The X Factor UK,[116] featuring Rihanna wearing a small tartan dress.[116]

On February 12, 2012, Rihanna performed "We Found Love" at the 54th Grammy Awards held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles,[117] followed by her duet single "Princess of China" with Coldplay for first time. John Mitchell from MTV News said he thought Rihanna looked "gorgeous" and that she gave "off a Tina Turner vibe — Rihanna rocked the blond locks she introduced recently, wearing a tight, belly-baring ensemble."[117] USA Today '​s writer Ed Masley, praised the performance, describing it as "shout in shout-out".[118] The Huffington Post also noted that the performance had "a twinge of Tina Turner".[119] Time magazine graded the performance with an A, saying that "Rihanna never disappoints. Her pop songs are always danceable, often catchy and consistently awesome — sometimes they even have some substance to them. Similarly, her Grammy performance wasn’t the flashiest or craziest, and she didn’t bust out dance moves the way other entertainers did, but it was one of the most enjoyable."[120]

Later that month, the singer performed the song at the 2012 BRIT Awards held on February 21, 2012, at The O2 Arena in London.[121] The performance began with Rihanna, in only an old grandad-style jumper covering her body, in a clear cage as colourful paint began to be thrown inside with her, although none was thrown onto the singer herself. Dancers were also present as Rihanna emerged from the cage and began dancing along the broad stretch of stage. The performance concluded with big multi-coloured balloons pouring down red confetti from the ceiling as they burst, finalizing with Rihanna returning to the paint-covered cage and smearing it over herself ending with her silhouette being broadcast through the cage.[121] At the ceremony, Rihanna also won the award for Best International Female Solo Artist.[121] Whilst promoting her first feature film appearance in Battleship, Rihanna made a visit to Japan, performing "We Found Love" on the Japanese music television program Music Station. She donned a traditional kimono and concluded the performance by crowd surfing into the audience.[122] On April 24, 2012, Rihanna performed a special acoustic version of the song at the Time 100 gala for Time Magazine's selection of that year's 100 most influential people of which Rihanna was listed.[123] Rihanna later performed "We Found Love" at Radio 1's Hackney Weekend on May 24, 2012, as the seventeenth and final song on the set list.[124] The performance featured a giant sphinx on the stage.[125] On September 9, 2012, Rihanna performed the single (along with "Princess of China" and "Run This Town") at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, entering on a steampunk pirate ship and also suspended in the air on a metal bench.[126] On December 9, 2012, Rihanna performed "We Found Love" in a medley with a solo version of "Stay" on the final of series nine of the UK The X Factor. The performance featured Rihanna wearing white T-bar wedge sandals, strap around her calves, diamond earrings and silver jewellery.[127]

Cover versions[edit]

British alternative rock band Coldplay, with whom Rihanna would later collaborate on their song "Princess of China", covered "We Found Love" on October 27, 2011, during a performance at BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge.[128][129][130][131] Jocelyn Vena of MTV News called the performance "flawless", writing "Lead singer Chris Martin's haunting vocals and the band's acoustic rendition, using drums, piano and guitar, play up the sadness of the track."[128] Jason Lipshutz of Billboard magazine also noted that the band used "piano flourishes, a kick drum and a simple guitar lick to convey the song's romantic declaration", while making a ballad which was "reminiscent of Bruno Mars '​s emotional reworking of Katy Perry's 'California Gurls'".[129] Matthew Perpetua of Rolling Stone wrote: "It may surprise that their rendition is actually pretty good. Whereas Rihanna's version is a thumping rave anthem, Chris Martin and company transform it into a lovely piano ballad nearly indistinguishable from many of their own songs."[131] A writer for The Hollywood Reporter said: "Martin's vocals blend with the piano for a slightly softer take on the tragic love story."[130] On February 17, 2012, British singer Jessie J made a cover of the song on BBC Radio1's Live Lounge.[132]

Lea Michele and Naya Rivera covered the song in the climax of the third season's tenth episode of Glee, "Yes/No".[133] Romanian X Factor contestant Diana Hetea performed "We Found Love" in the "Public's Choice Gala" on December 10, 2011.[134] Even though ill of laryngitis, Hetea's performance was praised all three judges that called it "[The] Perfect match for her!" both visually and vocally.[135] Kris Allen also covered the song mashing it with other songs by Katy Perry and other female artists.[136] Carmen Smith also performed "We Found Love" for her battle round in the Australian Version of the Voice which saw her through to next round.[137]

In September 2012, Kelly Clarkson performed the song during a concert in Virginia Beach.[138] In October 2012, British singer Ed Sheeran did an acoustic cover of the song for Sirius XM Radio.[139] Lindsey Stirling covered it in a music video filmed in a Kenyan village.[140] British pop rock band McFly covered "We Found Love" on their "Keep Calm And Play Lounder" tour 2012.[citation needed] Kele Okereke sang a verse of the song as the intro to his band Bloc Party's song "Flux" on their June 2012 U.K. tour.[citation needed] In July 2014, Tori Amos covered the song on her Unrepentant Geraldines Tour.[141]

Remixes[edit]

Pictured American rapper Flo Rida was featured on a remix of the song overlapping Calvin Harris' dance beats.

In November 2011, R3hab released a remix of "We Found Love" with a "Halloween" sound. He explained "I made two versions ... one version is more melodic and euphoric. This [first] one is more dark because the lyrics [to] 'We Found Love' can also be seen as something dark. 'We are at the end of the world/ And I still found love.' So from there came the more darker chord progression and the more darker atmosphere, like Dracula is coming to get you. It's just got a lot of emotion and that worked out great for me."[142]

On January 13, 2012, Rap-Up released a remix of "We Found Love" featuring American rapper Flo Rida.[143] Flo Rida's parts overlap Calvin Harris' produced dance beats.[143] In the opening lines, Flo Rida introduces himself and raps tongue twisters about Rihanna and The Bahamas, "You know I got love for you/ See what happened was we in Bahams/ I remember it was the ox summer, oh so pretty I/ ..Girl nice to meet you what's the honour/ Yeah she tap me told me she Rihanna.".[144] He also references singer Mick Jagger singing that he is "rocking a party 'like I'm Mick Jagger."[145] Flo Rida, himself in an interview with NME revealed that it was an honor for him to work with Rihanna. He also revealed that "We Found Love" was one of his favorite songs and that's why he decided to make a remix with Rihanna. He added that Calvin Harris' production impressed him and heavily influenced him on his future work. Rihanna also noted that she decided to work with Flo Rida because of his "wild" productions on his songs.[146]

Andrew Unterberger of the website PopDust wrote that Flo Rida was "exactly" what the original version of "We Found Love" was missing. He added, "No Rihanna, you got it backwards—it's Flo Rida who needs to have other, more talented people on his songs in order to turn them into hits, not the other way around... At least this remix does feature a sizeable contribution from Flo, as he shows up on both the intro and over the song's primary instrumental hook with his trademark unintelligble yammering, though he gets in at least one reference to rocking a party 'like I'm Mick Jagger.'"[145] Matthew Perpetua of Rolling Stone praised the remix of the song, saying that "once again, Flo Rida shows his true rapping skills over the beat of Rihanna's 'We Found Love'".[147] Both Billboard '​s Erika Ramirez and Spin '​s Marc Hogan praised the remixed version calling it "refreshing" and "interesting".[148][149] However, Becky Bain of the website Idolator was more negative towards the remix. She noted, "Being that Rihanna's 'We Found Love' has enough beats and synths to be its own remix, not to mention it couldn't possibly be even more popular on the Hot 100... we find it pointless to release a new version of the single with Flo Rida."[150]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download[151]
No. Title Length
1. "We Found Love"   3:35
CD single[152]
No. Title Length
1. "We Found Love" (Album Version) 3:36
2. "We Found Love" (Extended Mix) 5:45
iTunes Remixes EP[153]
No. Title Length
1. "We Found Love" (Chuckie Extended Remix) 5:57
2. "We Found Love" (Chuckie Dub) 5:56
3. "We Found Love" (Cahill Edit) 3:36
4. "We Found Love" (Cahill Club Mix) 6:29
5. "We Found Love" (Cahill Dub) 5:58
6. "We Found Love" (R3hab's XS Remix Edit) 3:40
7. "We Found Love" (R3hab's XS Extended Remix) 5:26
8. "We Found Love" (R3hab's XS Dub) 5:26

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording
Personnel
  • Rihanna - vocals
  • Calvin Harris – songwriter, producer, recording, mixing and instrumentation
  • Marcos Tovar – vocal recording
  • Alejandro Barajas – assistant recording engineer
  • Phil Tan – mixing
  • Damien Lewis – assistant mixing

Credits adapted from CD single liner notes.[154]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[63] 6× Platinum 420,000^
Belgium (BEA)[237] Platinum 30,000*
Denmark (IFPI)[238] 2× Platinum 4,000
Germany (BVMI)[239] Gold 150,000^
Italy (FIMI)[240] 2x Platinum 60,000+
New Zealand (RMNZ)[60] 3× Platinum 45,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[241] Platinum 40,000
Sweden (GLF)[242] 6× Platinum 240,000x
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[243] 2× Platinum 60,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[244] 2× Platinum 1,300,000[245]
United States (RIAA)[246] 7dagger× Platinum 5,013,000[247]

dagger Since May 9, 2013 RIAA certifications for digital singles include on-demand audio and/or video song streams in addition to downloads.[248]

Radio and release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United Kingdom[11] September 22, 2011 Radio premiere Mercury Records
Australia[249] Digital download Def Jam Recordings
Belgium[250]
Canada[151]
Denmark[251]
France[14]
Italy[14]
Mexico[252]
Netherlands[253]
New Zealand[254]
Norway[255]
Spain[256]
Sweden[257]
Switzerland[258]
United States[259]
Brazil[260] September 23, 2011 Universal Music
United States[261] October 4, 2011 Urban radio Def Jam Recordings
Ireland[262] October 5, 2011 Digital download Universal Music
United Kingdom[263] Mercury Records
United States[13] October 11, 2011 Mainstream and rhythmic radio Def Jam Recordings
Germany[264] October 21, 2011 CD single Universal Music
Australia[153] November 8, 2011 Digital Remix Single Def Jam Recordings

Cover Girl version[edit]

Thanks to the later release date of "We Found Love" in the United Kingdom, a singer called "Cover Girl" rush-released a version before Rihanna was due to release hers. This version charted at #54 in the United Kingdom.[265]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]