First Listen: Rihanna’s Dark New 'Star Trek' Anthem

"Sledgehammer" goes boldly where singer has never gone before

By Kirk Miller

 
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27 June 2016

As metaphors go, it’s certainly not a fountain of creativity.

Originally teased Sunday on Instagram, Rihanna’s new single “Sledgehammer” was released on Monday as a stream on Tidal (and a bit later, Spotify), as well as prominently featured in the final Star Trek: Beyond trailer.

(The title comes courtesy of the the chorus: “You’re just another brick and I’m a sledgehammer...”)

Written by hitmaker-to-the-stars Sia (Ne-Yo, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna’s own “Diamonds”), the song features some ominous piano tinkling that gives way to RiRi belting, “I’m bracing for the pain and am letting goooooo.”

It’s anthemic, for sure.

That said, the song is far removed from the singer’s Caribbean/hip-hop/R&B roots. A bold cinematic ballad, it suffers only in that it could have been performed by any number of strong pop divas (Pink comes to mind, “And Adele would have done it better,” grumbles one of our editors).

As for the movie: Simon Pegg’s increased involvement in the film seems decidedly hidden in the new trailer, given that the final product is looking rather rather dour and maybe ... suggesting an end? “You spent all this time trying to be your dad ... now you’re wondering what it means to be you,” a voiceover tells us, along with the usual threat of being “overwhelmed by something you’ve never seen before” and the inevitable destruction of the Enterprise.

It's a sad week for Trek fans, given Anton Yelchin’s untimely death. Hopefully the movie, out July 22nd and starring Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto and John Cho, will provide an uplift.

With Rihanna providing the soundtrack.

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