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"Russian Roulette"
Single by Rihanna
from the album Rated R
Released October 20, 2009
Format Digital download, CD single
Recorded 2009
Genre R&B,[1] pop[2][3]
Length 3:48
Label Def Jam[4]
Writer(s) S. Smith, C. Harmon
Producer Chuck Harmony
Rihanna singles chronology
"Run This Town"
"Russian Roulette"

"Russian Roulette" is a song performed by Barbadian singer Rihanna.[5] Written and produced by Ne-Yo and Chuck Harmony, the song serves as the lead single from Rihanna's fourth studio album Rated R.[2][4][5][6] It premiered on radio October 20, 2009.[7]

The lyrics metaphorically refer to the game of love in which you take chances even though anyone can get hurt. In an interview with Fuse, Rihanna called the song "poetry" and not literally about a game of Russian roulette.



On October 15, the phrase "The Wait Is Ova. Nov 23 09" was posted on Rihanna's official website,[8] and was joined the next day by a countdown timer.[9]

Critical reception

Upon release, "Russian Roulette" received positive reviews for Rihanna's vocal performance and choice of lyrics. Todd Martens of the Los Angeles Times described "Rihanna's command performance" as "[a] midtempo song without overbearing production, the single belongs all to Rihanna, and she makes the best of it -- a bit icy, a tad fearless, with the vocal strength to keep the orchestral flourishes at bay."[10] MTV News stated "it retains the same sort of attitude and atmosphere that has made Rihanna such a definitive artist."[11] Simon Vozick-Levinson of Entertainment Weekly said that Rihanna took some risks with this track, and "those risks absolutely pay off. Rihanna is in fine vocal form throughout, and Ne-Yo’s songwriting is economical and evocative per usual."[12]

Chart performance

The song debuted on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 at #100 on November 7, 2009 and gained its peak just two weeks later of #9, becoming Rihanna's twelfth Top 10 hit in the country but serves as Rihanna's lowest charting lead single. It also debuted on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and peaked at 49. It made its debut at Number 36 on the U.S. Billboard Pop Songs, and climbed to 23 the next week. It peaked at Number 9 on the Canadian Hot 100. The song debuted in Australia at 11 on the ARIA Singles Charts on the week of November 16, 2009, making it her eleventh top twenty entry in Australia.[13] It has charted #1 on billboards hot dance/club song[14].

"Russian Roulette" entered the UK Singles Chart at #6 on November 29, 2009. The following week, it rose to #2, giving Rihanna her 11th top five hit in the and her 11th top 10 hit in the country. Also on the same date, it reached #1 on the UK R&B Chart.[citation needed] It has sold over 3 million copies worldwide. [15] It was certified Silver in the UK on February 12, 2010, after selling over 200,000 copies.

To date, the single has moved over 3 million digital downloads and has charted within the top ten in most international markets including the United States, Australia, United Kindgom, Canada, Germany, France and many other countries. The song has reached number one in Norway, Slovakia, Switzerland and peaked at number one on the UK R&B chart.

Music video

The director of the video is Anthony Mandler.[16] Filming of "Russian Roulette" started on October 23, 2009. Filming took two full days.[17]. The video premiered on ABC's 20/20 on November 13, 2009.[18] The video feature's Rihanna in different situations. First Rihanna is in a room where strange men are trying receive information from her. Then Rihanna remembers sitting at a table with her love interest (Jesse Williams), in the woods where a car runs her over, and under water where she is being "shot". At the end of the video her love interest dies.

Live performances

She performed the song on The X Factor on November 29, 2009[19]. Also she performed the song on David Letterman Show on November 24, 2009,[citation needed] on Saturday Night Live on December 5, 2009,[citation needed] on German TV Show "Popstars" on December 10, 2009,[citation needed] on Cheryl's Cole TV Show on December 12, 2009 in England,[citation needed] on the TV Show "Sacree Soiree" in France on December 16, 2009[citation needed] and on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross Show on December 18, 2009[citation needed] in England. On January 22, 2010 she performed the song in the Norwegian-Swedish talkshow Skavlan.[citation needed]

Track listing and Formats

Promo CD single / German CD Single[20] / UK CD Single
  1. "Russian Roulette" (Main) — 3:48
  2. "Russian Roulette" (Instrumental) — 3:48
  3. "Russian Roulette" (Remix) (Feat. Kardinal Offishall) - 4:18
  • "Russian Roulette" (Tony Moran & Warren Rigg's Club Mix) - 10:30
  • "Russian Roulette" (Tony Moran & Warren Rigg's Dub) - 11:22
  • "Russian Roulette" (Tony Moran & Warren Rigg's Radio Edit) - 4:29


Chart (2009) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[21] 7
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[22] 2
Belgium (Ultratop Flanders)[23] 5
Belgium (Ultratop Wallonia)[24] 3
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[25] 9
Czech Republic (IFPI)[26] 1
Denmark (IFPI)[27] 6
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[28] 7
Finland (YLE)[29] 3
France (SNEP)[30] 4
France (SNEP Digital)[31] 3
Germany (Media Control AG)[32] 2
Ireland (IRMA)[33] 5
Italy (FIMI)[34] 6
New Zealand (RIANZ)[35] 9
Norway (VG-lista)[36] 1
Romanian Top 100 (Top 100)[37] 5
Slovakia (IFPI)[38] 1
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[39] 6
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[40] 4
Switzerland (Media Control AG)[41] 1
United Kingdom (Official Charts Company)[42] 2
UK R&B Chart 1
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs[43] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[44] 9


Country Certifications
(sales thresholds)
Australia Gold[45]
Switzerland Gold[46]

Release history

Country Date Format Label
Worldwide October 20, 2009 Radio premiere[7] Def Jam
United States October 27, 2009 Top 40, Rhythmic and Urban Radio[47][48][49]
November 3, 2009 Digital Download[50]
Germany November 13, 2009 CD Single[51]
France November 30, 2009 CD Single[52]


  1. ^ "Russian Roulette » Overview". All Music. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  2. ^ a b "Rihanna reveals new single, 'Russian Roulette'". Los Angeles Times. News Corporation. October 20, 2009. 
  3. ^ Guha, Rohin (October 21, 2009). "Rihanna’s “Russian Roulette”: The Perfect Comeback". BlackBook Magazine. Retrieved October 21, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Rihanna's New Album Is 'Rated R'". October 20, 2009. Retrieved October 21, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Rihanna Teams With Ne-Yo For Ominous “Rated R” Single “Russian Roulette”". Rolling Stone. October 20, 2009. Retrieved October 21, 2009. 
  6. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (October 21, 2009). "Rihanna May Have Released 'Russian Roulette' For 'Shock Value,' Producer Says". MTV. Retrieved October 21, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b Cochrane, Greg (October 20, 2009). "Rihanna track gets worldwide premiere". BBC. Retrieved October 21, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Is Rihanna Releasing A New Album On November 25?". MTV. October 13, 2009. Retrieved October 14, 2009. 
  9. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (October 19, 2009). "Is Rihanna Releasing A New Single Tomorrow?". MTV. Retrieved October 19, 2009. 
  10. ^ Martens, Todd (October 20, 2009). "Rihanna reveals new single, 'Russian Roulette'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  11. ^ "Is Rihanna’s ‘Russian Roulette’ A Keeper? The Oh Snap! Poll » MTV Newsroom". 2009-10-20. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  12. ^ Charlie, Hollywood (2010-09-22). "The Truth Behind Rihanna's "Extreme" Album Cover". Heyman Hustle - Crave Online. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  13. ^ "ARIA Charts Chartifacts Nov 16 2009". aria charts. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Tracklisting: Rihanna – ‘Rated R’". Retrieved 2009-11-13. 
  17. ^ "RIHANNA: Videos". Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Rihanna has 'X Factor'". Yahoo Music. 2009-11-06. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  20. ^ "Russian Roulette (2-Track): Rihanna: Musik". Retrieved 2009-11-13. 
  21. ^ ARIA Rihanna - Russian Roulette Hung Medien
  22. ^ Ö3 Austria Top 40 Rihanna - Russian Roulette Hung Medien
  23. ^ Ultratop Belgium (Flanders) Rihanna - Russian Roulette Ultratop and Hung Medien
  24. ^ Ultratop Belgium (Wallonia) Rihanna - Russian Roulette Ultratop and Hung Medien
  25. ^ Billboard Rihanna Album & Song Chart History Canadian Hot 100 for Rihanna Billboard
  26. ^ IFPI Czech Republic ČNS IFPI IFPI Czech Republic Note: insert {{{year}}}{{{week}}} into search
  27. ^ IFPI Denmark Rihanna - Russian Roulette Hung Medien
  28. ^ Stichting Nederlandse Top 40 top40 Stichting Nederlandse Top 40
  29. ^ YLE Rihanna - Russian Roulette Hung Medien
  30. ^ SNEP Rihanna - Russian Roulette Hung Medien
  31. ^,archive514
  32. ^ Media Control - Chartverfolgung - Rihanna - Russian Roulette (Premium 2-Track) PhonoNet GmbH
  33. ^ Irish Recorded Music Association Chart Track GfK
  34. ^ FIMI Rihanna - Russian Roulette Hung Medien
  35. ^ RIANZ - Rihanna - Russian Roulette Hung Medien
  36. ^ VG-Lista Rihanna - Russian Roulette Hung Medien
  37. ^ "Romanian Top 100: January 2010". UPFR. RT100. 2010-1-17. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  38. ^ IFPI Slovakia ČNS IFPI IFPI Czech Republic Note: insert {{{year}}}{{{week}}} into search
  39. ^ PROMUSICAE Rihanna - Russian Roulette Hung Medien
  40. ^ Sverigetoplisttan Rihanna - Russian Roulette Hung Medien
  41. ^ Media Control AG Rihanna - Russian Roulette Hung Medien
  42. ^ Official Charts Company Chart Stats - Rihanna - Russian Roulette Chart Stats
  43. ^ Billboard Rihanna Album & Song Chart History Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play for Rihanna Billboard
  44. ^ Billboard Rihanna Album & Song Chart History Billboard Hot 100 for Rihanna Billboard
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^

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