The XX Factor

Chris Brown, Silly Boy

It’s been a little over three months since Rihanna missed the Grammys after being allegedly assaulted by her boyfriend Chris Brown . As she more or less announced last week, when she appeared at the Costume Institute Gala in a feisty tux , she’s back-and now she has the single to prove it. ” Silly Boy ,” her new song, is a radio-ready dance track that’s just about impossible to interpret as not being about Brown. These are the lyrics:

You’re calling me more than ever now that we’re done/ Took keys back to my place we were having no fun/But you’re not ok telling me you miss my face/ I remember when you would say you hate my ways/ I said I’m not coming back.

You fooled me once but you can’t have that ego turning/Just too bad for you, that when you had me /Didn’t know what to do. Game’s over/ You didn’t know what to do/ ‘cause you had a good girl, good girl, girl/ That’s a keeper/ You had a good girl, good girl/ didn’t know how to treat her

So silly boy get out my face/ Why do you like the way regrets taste?/So Silly boy get out my hair/ I don’t want you, no, get out of here/ Silly boy, silly boy, why you acting silly, boy?

You coming with those corny lines can’t live without me/ I’ll get some flowers for the day that you are buried/I know people make mistakes but I just think you’re a disgrace/ The only thing I want from you is for you to stay away.

The words get more vitriolic as the track goes on, but they’re never strikingly raw or angry. If you didn’t know the back story, “Silly Boy” would fit right into the oeuvres of both Rihanna and the increasingly fascinating Lady Gaga, who helped write the song, without comment. (Gaga, who the New Yorker ‘s Sasha Frère Jones defended vigorously, and convincingly, here , is simultaneously bringing back freaky leotards and the piano . “Silly Boy” sounds like nothing so much as Gaga’s hit single ” Poker Face ,” which, in an unfortunate coincidence, celebrates rough sex.) That means “Silly Boy” will fit right in on top 40 radio. All summer long we’re going to be singing and humming about what a silly boy Chris Brown is. It’s probably not the word most of us would have picked to describe him, but I suspect it will do.