Most helpful positive review
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Not What I Expected
on November 16, 2010
When "Only Girl In The World" dropped as the first single, I was anticipating a dance album much like "A Girl Like Me" and not continuing in the more melodic darker pop sound she found on "Rated R." Much to my surprise, even though there is a strong underlying beat/rhythm to her songs--this album is so much more than just pop. Rihanna incorporates R&B, Rap, Caribbean, Rock and Enya (listen to "Fading"--it's there) to create an album that isn't really one specific genre. This is in my opinion both it's greatest strength as well as it's biggest weakness. This album most certainly won't bore you, but say if you only like Rihanna when she's singing more R&B/Rap songs style songs than you'll probably be disappointed with about half of the album. Also, on "Rated R" there was a specific sound that brought the whole album together, where this album just doesn't sound as cohesive and put together. Basically, it's not as consistently good as "Rated R."
However, that being said--this album rocks. I love that Rihanna is branching out into even more genres, and there is one constant--Rihanna's voice sounds phenomenal and is really showcased on tracks like "Complicated." I was excited to see producers like Timbaland, David Guetta and Ne-Yo all on-board. Also--she sampled Avril Lavigne on "Cheers"-how could you not love that. Also, the Part II of "Love the Way You Lie" with Eminem is just sic. My favorite songs are actually the more rock influenced or more stripped down songs because I find these ones really suit Rihanna's voice quality best. "California King Bed", "Man Down" and "Complicated" are stand outs.
I think this album was a necessary progression in Rihanna's musical evolution, and for the most part-she's spot on. I would definitely recommend this album. Listen to the sample tracks first though to see if you like variety of genres because if you expect them all to sound like "Only Girl In the World" or even the second single with Drake "What's My Name", then you'll be really dissapointed. If you keep an open mind though-I think you'll find you will love the majority at least of this album.