Diamonds became Rihanna’s 12th number one hit, thus making her the 5th artist with most chart-topping singles, tied with The Supremes and Madonna for that place. It was released as the lead single from the Barbadian singer’s 7th album, Unapologetic.
Many critics saw Diamonds as a lyrical departure, which according to Boston “forgoes the unhealthy relationship themes that are present in several of her songs”. The website also singled out lyrics such as “I choose to be happy” and “We’re like diamonds in the sky” as a proof that the song shows “a side of Rihanna we don’t get to see often”. In their review, MTV’s headline read: “On her latest single, Rihanna seems to be putting past dramas behind her, focusing instead on the pleasures of the present.”
Rihanna herself told Hip Hollywood that she’s excited to surprise people by doing something different than what they would expect. The lyrics to Diamonds were written by Australian singer-songwriter Sia Furler while the music was composed by Benny Blanco (California Gurls, Moves like Jagger, Tik Tok) in collaboration with producing team StarGate. Blanco admitted in an interview with The Source that the original intention was not exactly that of writing a typical Rihanna song: “…we were like, ‘Oh, let’s make something like, as if Kanye [West] can rap on it.’ We weren’t thinking of Rihanna at all and then it’s the one that we weren’t thinking Rihanna, is the one that turned into the Rihanna record.”
Diamonds spent 3 consecutive weeks at number one in Billboard Top 100, before being dethroned by Bruno Mars’ Locked Out of Heaven.