By: Adam McGovern
February 20, 2012

We’ve known RIHANNA (Robyn Rihanna Fenty, born 1988) since she was a teenager, and known she was our elder from that point on, born to her gifts and burdened with her fame like royalty, or a god. But this was a divinity we wished to save, when the media made her a sacrifice to sensationalism in her domestic violence victimhood, and her youth and misplaced devotion at first made her a symbol of how far men and women hadn’t come. But love and sex and hope and life rise from the flames of each smokin’ single, a bacchanal of beats promising endless five-minute rites of salvation. Never has the line between dancefloor chant and holy invocation been hazier, as confessions of self-preserving murder and prayers for emotional exclusivity will into existence what you can’t live without or testify the truth of what you just can’t take. Most pop is escapism; this is sanctuary, from the pouring rain of a world that won’t understand and the hopeless places where what’s most good can’t last. In communion from every vid-stream and store-PA and ringtone and radio that’s left, the high-velocity ecstasies and melodic laments seem to tell us all she’s feeling, and echo every one of ours, with the absolution that, for at least as long as you’re listening, there can be no such thing as loving too much.


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Manny Farber and Poison Ivy.

READ MORE about members of the Social Darwikians Generation (1984-93).