Rihanna Loves This ‘Honest’ Song She Wrote About Setting a Lover on Fire
Rihanna has given us pop hits of every variety. From rock ballads to dancehall jams to trap bangers, her discography is huge and eclectic. However, there’s one song she wished she could have released as a single. Here’s what she had to say.
One of Rihanna’s favorite Rihanna songs
In a 2011 interview with Glamour, Logan Hill asked Rihanna which song she wished was a single. Her answer was “Fire Bomb.” AllMusic says she co-wrote the track with James Fauntleroy and B. Kennedy Seals. The track features brutally honest lyrics about hating a lover. “I just wanna set you on fire/So I won’t have to burn alone/Then you/Then you’ll know where/I’m coming from/Fire bomb/Fire bomb.”
Rihanna told Glamour “’Fire Bomb’ is one of my favorite songs…It’s not the most positive message; it’s just honest. It’s about wanting revenge, because you just feel like no one can understand what you’re feeling unless you burn them the way they burned you. And that was at a time when I didn’t really want to be angry but I couldn’t help it, and ‘Fire Bomb’ was like that therapeutic song for me.”
Discussing lyrical honesty, Rihanna said “I think honesty is the ultimate liberation in life. People want to shy away from the truth and keep sweeping it under the rug. But after a while, you pick up the rug and there’s just way too much dirt, so you might as well just be up front about it. If you just face it today, then tomorrow you can move on to something else.”
Rihanna on being honest with her fans
Rihanna said she likes being honest because it takes ammunition away from her critics. “It just reminds me of 8 Mile, when Eminem rapped every dis they could say about him. It gives you that freedom, because, what are they going to say about you now?”
Rated R, the album which features “Fire Bomb,” was a turning point in Rihanna’s music. “[The album] Good Girl Gone Bad was the first time I really took the reins in my career creatively. Then Rated R came right after that, and that’s when I realized, OK, my fans love the music; now I need to get a little deep with them, get a little more vulnerable, open up.”
She added “Rated R was the album that became really real, very honest. After that, it’s hard to go back to doing songs that are fiction. There was no coming back.”
Did ‘Fire Bomb’ work?
Rihanna’s creative risk with “Fire Bomb” paid off. In 2009, the Los Angles Times gave the track a rave review. The publication said “Fire Bomb” “puts Rihanna in a Molotov cocktail of a car…If these images read as corny, they’re made powerful by their settings, which also recall the classic melodrama of girl groups like the Shangri-Las, and by Rihanna’s singing, which powerfully invokes the internal conflict of a lover who knows what’s good for her but needs time to fully feel it.”
“Fire Bomb” wasn’t a hit. It wasn’t even a single. But for many Rihanna fans, it was an unforgettable artistic triumph.