Happy 5th birthday, Russian Roulette!
Russian Roulette premiered on radio stations worldwide on October 20, 2009 and was released as the album’s lead single on October 27, 2009 through Def Jam Recordings. Written and produced by Ne-Yo and Chuck Harmony, “Russian Roulette” is a pop and R&B ballad that contains dark, haunting, morbid, and tense atmospheric elements.
"Russian Roulette" received generally positive reviews from music critics, with many praising Rihanna’s vocal performance and the song’s lyrics. The song received commercial success, reaching number one in Israel, Norway, Slovakia and Switzerland. It also charted within the top ten of eighteen other countries worldwide, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Spain and Sweden. The song reached number two on the UK Singles Chart and number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100. It also topped the UK R&B and US Hot Dance Club Songs charts.
The song’s accompanying music video, directed by Rihanna’s regular collaborator Anthony Mandler, includes dark imagery depicting Rihanna playing a game of the titular Russian roulette with the character of actor Jesse Williams, with a revolver. Other scenes include Rihanna in the woods where she is run over by a car, in a gas chamber, in a padded cell, and shots being fired at her underwater. “Russian Roulette” has been performed on both sides of the Atlantic, including on the sixth series of The X Factor in the United Kingdom, and on the Late Show with David Letterman in the United States. The song was included on Rihanna’s Last Girl on Earth Tour (2010–11).