As Rihanna announced last week, “the wait is ova.” She debuted her new single “Russian Roulette” on her official Web site this morning. The track is a slow-burning ballad written and produced by Ne-Yo that shows off the more confessional side of the singer. “You can see my heart beating/ You can see it through my chest,” she sings in the chorus. Picking a ballad as the lead single to an album as hotly anticipated as Rated R is always something of a crapshoot, but the emotion and the melody behind the tune should carry it to success.

And even if the song doesn’t grab people, the artwork associated with it certainly should help. The cover of the single features the Barbados-born singer stripped to the waist with barbed wire wrapped around her chest. She also has her hair slicked back and is wearing something around her eye that appears to be an eye patch with the center cut out of it (which is consistent with the motif that has been showing up in photos grabbed from her recent video shoot).

The visuals already associated with Rated R (which has nothing to do with the Queens of the Stone Age album of the same name, though a Rihanna cover of “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” would be pretty rad) already seem to continue the themes that were established in the video for “Disturbia,” her performance at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards and her guest spot in the clip for Jay-Z’s “Run This Town.” There are a lot of vague visions of a troublesome future, as though she’s deeply concerned about the reality proposed in “The Road Warrior.” In any case, she is still pushing the envelope both sonically and visually, and it’s good to have her back. The wait is ova, indeed.

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