Hinting at a new direction, Rihanna goes for acoustic sound with Paul McCartney

Rihanna, who has released seven studio albums, has become an international superstar with electronic-dominated songs such as the ballad Diamonds and the danceable Only Girl (In The World). -- PHOTO: AFP
Rihanna, who has released seven studio albums, has become an international superstar with electronic-dominated songs such as the ballad Diamonds and the danceable Only Girl (In The World). -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Rihanna, who has topped the charts with a pop-driven R&B sound, has unveiled a new acoustic song in a collaboration with Beatles legend Paul McCartney.

Uexpectedly and late on Saturday, the Barbados-born singer released the new single, FourFiveSeconds, which features her signature robust voice but has a minimal backdrop of McCartney's guitar strumming without percussion or electronic elements. The song also features verses sung by rapper Kanye West.

The track is the latest collaboration between West and McCartney, who unexpectedly released a song on New Year's Day after the two stars met each other in Los Angeles.

FourFiveSeconds is a song about personal travails and confusion, with Rihanna singing: "We got three more days 'til Friday / I'm just trying to make it back home by Monday morning."

The song could offer hints at the directions of both Rihanna and West, who are separately expected to unveil new albums this year.

Rihanna, who has released seven studio albums, has become an international superstar with electronic-dominated songs such as the ballad Diamonds and the danceable Only Girl (In The World). Her music has at times been overshadowed by her turbulent relationship with fellow singer Chris Brown, who pleaded guilty to assaulting her in 2009.