More than a year after its release, Rihanna’s eighth studio album, ANTI, remains a pop fixture. “Love on the Brain,” one of the most impressive vocal showcases on the LP — and of her career — hit No. 5 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in March and currently sits at No. 24. Now, alt-rockers Cold War Kids and their powerhouse vocalist Nathan Willett have put their own spin on the track, with an assist from rising indie-pop singer Bishop Briggs. EW is excited to exclusively premiere their version of the song, streaming below.
“I have stayed up all night watching a hundred YouTube live versions of Rihanna singing this song. There is nothing better,” Willett tells EW in a statement. “She has this way of being vulnerable in her words but protecting herself with so much attitude. The song feels like a modern pop standard.
“For this version, I felt like we needed to put a microscope on the vulnerable, aching side,” he explains. “Singing it with Bishop — having that female-male dialogue back and forth is so powerful and classic.” And, Willett adds, recording with Briggs was so great that he hopes to collaborate with her again in the future: “I would love to do a whole duet record of covers with Bishop someday — Lee Hazlewood-Nancy Sinatra style.”
Still, Cold War Kids and Briggs may have had an ulterior motive in recording “Love on the Brain”: “Mostly, this might be the only way we get to meet Riri,” Willett jokes.
Cold War Kids released their sixth studio album, L.A. Divine, earlier this month, and its sweeping single “Love Is Mystical” currently sits at No. 4 on Billboard‘s Alternative Songs chart. Meanwhile, Briggs released her debut, self-titled EP last Friday. And for her part, Rihanna has remained active since ANTI; the 29-year-old singer most recently appeared on “LOYALTY.,” a standout track from Kendrick Lamar’s new album DAMN.
Watch Cold War Kids and Briggs cover “Love on the Brain” above.