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"Unfaithful"
Single by Rihanna
from the album A Girl like Me
Released July 17, 2006 United States
July 20, 2006 Australia
Format Digital download, CD single, 12" maxi single
Recorded 2005
Battery Studios, New York City, New York
Genre Pop, R&B
Length 3:47
Label Def Jam, SRP
Writer(s) Ne-Yo, Tor Erik Hermansen, Mikkel S. Eriksen
Producer Stargate
Rihanna singles chronology
"SOS"
(2006)
"Unfaithful"
(2006)
"We Ride"
(2006)

"Unfaithful" is a pop ballad written by Ne-Yo, Tor Erik Hermansen and Mikkel S. Eriksen for Pop singer Rihanna's second album, A Girl like Me. It was produced by Stargate and released as the album's second single in mid-2006. The song reached number one in many countries and charted strongly across the world.

Contents

Song information

In addition to Rihanna's workings with Sean Paul, she collaborated with Def Jam labelmate singer-songwriter Ne-Yo.[1] Ne-Yo together with Norwegian duo Stargate wrote "Unfaithful" as part of Rihanna's second studio album, A Girl Like Me, which she quoted as "a personal album" about what it's like to be a girl like her and speaking of girl experiences and things every girl has and will go through.[1] Stargate produced the track. While most of Rihanna's records since her debut album Music of the Sun are set in a disco-mode, mostly dance-pop and R&B, "Unfaithful" was differently made compared to its predecessors. In an interview, Rihanna said, "It's a ballad, so it's new ground for me, but I'm excited."[1] The song also appears in the game Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Encore.

Music and lyrics

"Unfaithful" is a slow song written in the key of C minor.[2] It is set in common time in the count 4/4.[2] The chord progression starts with Cm9-Fm6/6-Cm9-Fm6/C which shifts to A and G before Rihanna starts to sing.[2]

The string orchestra was arranged and conducted by Rob Mounsey.

The piano-driven ballad is about a woman who is in a relationship with a man, but is having an affair. "I'm referred to as a murderer in that song. Meaning, I'm taking this guy's life by hurting him, cheating on him. He knows, and it makes him feel so bad. It's killing him to know that another guy is making me happy…we always put it out there that guys cheat. And finally someone put it in perspective: Girls cheat too."[3] Rihanna said on an August 26, 2006 review that "Unfaithful" was birthed out of a relationship she outgrew when she was fourteen. She was quick to add though that the relationship was not physical.[4] For radio airplay, the word "gun" (in the line "Might as well take a gun and put it to his head, get it over with") in the song is edited out.

Critical reception

Despite strong chart performance, the track has received mixed reviews among Rihanna's fans and critics, as it is the first ballad she released and quite a contrast to the pop/R&B/reggae foundation of her previous work. Her vocal performance has also been the subject of criticism. Shaun Kitchener of UKMix states "There's no denying that her voice is strong",[5] but Bill Lamb of About.com states, "Rihanna's voice is not particularly strong. There are points here at which it sounds thin and reedy", though due to the fact that this song was thought to be a strong contender for the Grammys. However, when the 2007 nominations were released, the song received none.[6]

Chart performance

"Unfaithful" reached number six on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in July 2006. Its music video also performed well on MTV's Total Request Live peaking at No. 1 for 14 days. She performed the song on TRL on July 25 and the video was retired on July 27 (being at number 7 on the countdown). This was also her first video to retire on TRL.

The single was released July 17, 2006 in the UK and Australia where it was already available for downloads worldwide. It debuted at number sixteen in the UK Singles Chart on downloads alone one week prior to its physical release. The following week, July 24, it jumped to number two on the UK Singles Chart after a physical release (held off number one by Shakira and Wyclef Jean with "Hips Don't Lie"), becoming Rihanna's 3rd number two hit in the UK, after "Pon De Replay" and " SOS". That same day "Unfaithful" debuted at number two on the ARIA Singles Chart. It reached number one on the Eurochart 100 and stayed in the top 3 for several weeks.

Music video

In the beginning, Rihanna is in a dressing room, fixing her dress, and applying makeup, before strapping on her heels. The next clip shows Rihanna and her boyfriend are in a restaurant dining. They talk for a bit, and he leaves for the bathroom. In between, more clips of her pulling her hair back is shown. Across the room, a man—later revealed as her lover—hands the waiter a folded note, and orders to give it to Rihanna. Once she receives it, she quickly reads it, and her boyfriend returns. Short clips of her and her boyfriend are played. Rihanna leaves the dressing room, and a man is shown on the piano in a stage (her lover). She walks into the stage and begins singing with the man. More footage of her and her boyfriend are shown. She is then shown singing, and walking and dancing around the piano. While her boyfriend is asleep, she is shown either text messaging him, or her lover. More clips of them together are shown, before we see her then sliding into her lover's car. More clips are once again showing as the video progresses. After this, she is shown in bed with her lover, fading into more clips of her and her boyfriend. Then the music stops, and she and her lover walk towards each other and kiss. The music plays again. The rest of the video is mainly different clips. But at the end, she leaves the stage, and walks outside. Her boyfriend is waiting, they hug, and Rihanna sheds a tear.

Track listing and formats

  • CD single (UK version)
  1. "Unfaithful" (Eriksen, M./Hermansen, T./Smith, S.) — 3:48
  2. "SOS (Moto Blanco Remix)" (Bogart, E. Kidd/Cobb, E./Rotem, J.) — 5:14
  • CD single Pt. 2
  1. "Unfaithful" (Eriksen, M./Hermansen, T./Smith, S.) — 3:48
  2. "Unfaithful (Tony Moran Radio Edit)" (Eriksen, M./Hermansen, T./Smith, S.) — 3:10
  3. "Unfaithful (Instrumental)" (Eriksen, M./Hermansen, T./Smith, S.)
  • Extras:
"Unfaithful" (Video) — 4:34
  • Dutch CD single
  1. "Unfaithful" (Eriksen, M./Hermansen, T./Smith, S.) — 3:48
  2. "Unfaithful (Tony Moran Radio Edit)" (Eriksen, M./Hermansen, T./Smith, S.) — 3:10
  • UK 12" vinyl single

Side A

  1. Radio Edit
  2. Instrumental

Side B

  1. Remix
  • Australian Single
  1. "Unfaithful" - 3:48
  2. "SOS" (Moto Blanco Remix) - 8:37
  • Australian Single Pt. 2
  1. "Unfaithful" - 3:48
  2. "Unfaithful" (Tony Moran Radio Mix) - 4:16
  • Australian Remixes
  1. "Unfaithful" (Tony Moran Radio Mix) - 4:15
  2. "Unfaithful" (Hamel Radio Edit) - 3:53
  3. "Unfaithful" (Maurice's Radio Edit) - 3:28
  4. "Unfaithful" (Tony Moran Club Mix) - 9:08
  5. "Unfaithful" (Hamel Club Mix) - 8:48
  6. "Unfaithful" (Maurice's Club Mix) - 6:57
  7. "Unfaithful" (AOL Music Sessions) - 3:49

Charts

Chart (2006) Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart 2
Austrian Singles Chart 2
Belgian Singles Chart 3
Canadian Singles Chart 1
Dutch Top 40 4
Finnish Singles Chart 13
French Singles Chart 1
German Singles Chart 2
Irish Singles Chart 2
Italian Singles Chart 14
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 4
Norwegian Singles Chart 2
Romanian Top 100 8
Swedish Singles Chart 6
Swiss Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart 2
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 6
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 1
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 18
U.S. Billboard Pop 100 4

References

Preceded by
"World, Hold On (Children of the Sky)" by Bob Sinclar
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
July 29, 2006
Succeeded by
"Promiscuous" by Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland
Preceded by
"Get Together" by Madonna
Billboard Hot Dance Airplay number-one single
August 5-19, 2006
Succeeded by
"Ain't No Other Man" by Christina Aguilera
Preceded by
"Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean
Eurochart Hot 100 number-one single
September 10, 2006 - September 17, 2006
Succeeded by
"SexyBack" by Justin Timberlake featuring Timbaland
Preceded by
"Słowa" by Gosia Andrzejewicz
Polish National Top 50 number-one single
September 18, 2006
Succeeded by
"Słowa" by Gosia Andrzejewicz
Preceded by
"Buttons" by Pussycat Dolls featuring Snoop Dogg
Portuguese
number one single

September 24, 2006
Succeeded by
"Flor" by Floribella
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