Album Review: Rihanna

talk that talk (deluxe edition)

Rihanna's domination of the pop world is still going strong, so much so that her latest achievements in the industry have named her the first female to simultaneously top the UK singles and albums charts twice in one year. This record was first broken thanks to her album, Loud, and the single, What's My Name featuring Drake, both of which reached the top of the charts back in January. Now, Rihanna's sixth studio album has scooped the number spot again, in its first week on sale.

The follow-up to 2010's Loud, Talk That Talk is a 14 track innuendo-fueled, metaphor-ridden record brimming with typical Rihanna-esque lyrics, purposely created for offence and outrage. But that's why we all love her, isn't it?

It seems like Rihanna is putting out singles like they're going out of fashion. Releases follow each other almost instantaneously, sometimes even before she, or the public, has a chance to draw breath. Perhaps this has more to do with the current state of the music industry; impatient, greedy and easily bored consumers forcing labels to adapt to the way albums are now consumed - in single tracks, rather than whole albums.

The first single taken from the album is Rhianna's collaboration with dance producer, Calvin Harris, We Found Love. Apart from the disappointing drop into the chorus (it's lacking real oomph, for want of a better word), the track is excellent. Rihanna's voice is ecstatic, and underneath the upbeat, danceable synths, lies the often troublesome underbelly to many of her songs. The dancefloor vibe is continued throughout the record, particularly in tracks like Where have you been, but I can't help feeling that amongst the ballads (farewell, We All Want Love, Fool In Love)and standard pop filler, it's the darker, dirtier and bassier songs that prove most effective. This kind of material is what we know Rihanna best for, and honestly, it's where she appears most animated and alive in her vocal.

Take Watch n' Learn, for example - a flirtatious, ragga-tinged track which celebrates Rihanna's Barbadan heritage and features classic reggae-style rar-a-tat snares. It's these more adventurous and believable productions that really work. Songs like Cockiness (Love It), see Rihanna's playful, sexually-charged demeanour really emerge. Only she could get away with lyrics like, "Suck my cock..iness, swallow my p..ersuasion". The beat is truley hypnotising with a slightly middle-eastern feel and real attitude in her heavy accented vocals. The most explicit of the tracks is Red Lipstick; a dubstep-infused, dark, bass-heavy beat, which makes previous single, S&M, seem like child's play.

Of course, there's a couple of other name-drops in the album, including Jay-Z (Talk That Talk) and a haunting sample taken from the xx (Drunk On Love), but i'll let you discover those for yourself. Rihanna has some really great songs on the album and delivers them in a noticably more grown-up fashion. Despite the inuenndos and playful/sexual lyricism, they somehow seem more mature and believable and are backed up by interesting productions which sway just to the left of the standard pop track.

Listen to Watch n' Learn, below:

Track List:

  • You Da One
  • Where Have You Been
  • We Found Love - Ft. Calvin Harris
  • Talk That Talk Ft. Jay Z
  • Cokiness (Love It)
  • Birthday Cake
  • We All Want Love
  • Drunk On Love
  • Roc Me Out
  • Watch n' Learn
  • Farewell
  • Red Lipstick
  • Do ya Thing
  • Fool In Love