By Kevin Rutherford
To send off Saturday Night Live‘s 40th season in style, the show brought out the big guns in Louis C.K. and Rihanna.
The singer, prepping for the release of her new album sometime this year, hit the SNL stage–and though she didn’t appear in any sketches, that didn’t make her performances any less thematic.
She kicked off her set with current R&B radio single “B—- Better Have My Money,” and it wasn’t any sort of normal performance: Rihanna started in a mock car setup, one hand on the steering wheel and another on the microphone. As the camera panned outward, she’s joined by an indisposed woman in the backseat, tied up and presumably owing Rihanna currency of some sort.
Then came her other current single, “American Oxygen.” Think a bit less cinematic this time, but still with a stunning visual: this time due to video screens surrounding the singer that played footage of different moments in history, from Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration to 9/11–much of it from the song’s music video.