However internationally, "California King Bed" served as the fourth single, as it was announced.Stacey Anderson of Spin commented on the song: " 'California King Bed' is a wrenching ballad about the waking death of a relationship, the stage of limbo before the final crash; it's so well-delivered, in fact, that it's hard to hear." Ryan Dombell from Pitchfork Media said, "'California King Bed' is a 'I Don't Want to Miss a Thing'-type power ballad genetically engineered to soundtrack a bi-coastal Kate Hudson rom-com." Boston Phoenix writer Daniel Brockman perceived the song as an innocuous soft jam. Andy Gill of The Independent viewed the song as a big break-up power-ballad and that it features Rihanna's best vocal performance. Andy Kellman of AllMusic, however, was disparaging of the song, labelling it an "overwrought rock weeper."
Rihanna "California King Bed" Song
NME's Emily Mackay also felt the song was a "howler of a ballad, with shlocky acoustic intro, trite piano and a faux-Slash solo." Robert Copsey from Digital Spy gave the song four out of five stars, saying that, "The fourth single proper from Loud may pull in the reins as far as the hectic dance beats and sado-masochistic lyrics go, but it's no less beefy and extravagant. Lilting acoustic guitars metamorphose into '80s rawk ones as she sings about the kind of separate-togetherness felt moments before a break-up. She belts out in a range well beyond her natural vocal ability." "California King Bed" was written by Andrew Harr, Jermaine Jackson, and Priscilla Renea. In the song, Rihanna sings of being in the same bed as her partner, but feeling emotionally distant ("In this California king bed / We're 10,000 miles apart"; "You gave me one last touch that made everything feel better / And even then, my eyes got wetter"), among other emotions. The song is written in the key of G major with a moderately slow tempo of 92 beats per minute. "California King Bed" follows a chord progression of G/B–C2 for the verses, and G–D–Em–C for the chorus.
Before officially being released as a single, "California King Bed" debuted on the Australian Singles Chart and New Zealand Singles Chart. In Australia, it debuted at number sixty-one on April 11, 2011 and has peaked at number four. In New Zealand, the song debuted at eighteen on April 18, 2011 and has peaked at five. In the United Kingdom, the song debuted at thirty-six for the week of May 22, 2011 and rose to twenty the following week. The song reached a peak of number eight on June 5, 2011. In the United States, the song made its debut for the week ending June 4, 2011 at number eighty on the US Billboard Hot 100. On the Canadian Hot 100 it debuted at eighty-two for the week of May 28, 2011 and jumped to forty-two the week that followed.Rihanna filmed the music video for "California King Bed" in March 2011.
The shots took one day on a stage in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. The video is almost entirely set in an open-air bedroom by the beach of an ocean. Director of the video was Anthony Mandler, who is a regular collaborator of Rihanna. He directed a dozen music videos for her, including "Russian Roulette" and "Only Girl (In the World)". About the video and his long collaboration with Rihanna, Mandler spoke to MTV News: I think it's something that is so unique about Rihanna whatever she's doing, whatever character she's playing, whatever side of herself she's showing, she's in it 1,000 percent... And I think the song and the theme of this song, she wanted to obviously show a softer side, a lighter side, one that's caught in maybe a tumultuous relationship... There's so much variety with her and it's been such a journey with her.The creative director, Ciarra Pardo, designed a custom bed that is 18 feet long and is capable of transporting Rihanna the full length of the bed. Another notable object in the bedroom is a sculptural "Strata" chair designed by Stew Design by Twentieth.
The video premiered Monday, May 9, 2011 on her official website Rihannanow.com and VEVO. Almost the whole video set is made in tropical and romantic setting. The video begins with a shot of Rihanna herself laying down in grass. Then scenes of Rihanna walking on the beach and Rihanna curling up on the chair are shown. This is followed by her own and her partner holding each other closely in bed, sitting on different sides of a large bed, and other scenes featuring Rihanna singing through sheer curtains and drapery. In the video there are also black-white scenes showing Rihanna touching to a stone wall. In this video, Rihanna returned to nature as in her video for her previous single, "Only Girl (In the World)", which features nearly the same colors as the California King Bed video. Rihanna's just rolled-out-bed appearance is completed by the modest, cream-colored attire in the airy, light-filled clip.
Rihanna first performed "California King Bed" in a country style, along with Sugarland front woman Jennifer Nettles, during the ACM Awards held by Academy of Country Music on April 3, 2011. She was also a special guest star on the tenth season of US series American Idol, on April 14, 2011, where she performed the song for a second time. Rihanna promoted the song with few performances in European cities such as Milan, Paris and Hamburg where she was appearing for her campaign with the Nivea skincare. It was also performed on May 27, 2011 on NBC's Today show, as a part of the Summer Concert Series, along with her US Billboard Hot 100 number-one hits from "Loud", Only Girl (In the World), "What's My Name?" and "S&M". The song is also included on the set list of the Loud Tour.