A fresh new female face of reggae has hit the USA, compliments of Jay-Z and Def Jam, and to the vacationing producer and his wife who stumbled upon Rihanna in her home turf in Barbados.
Lucky to be in the right place at the right time with the right voice and song, Rihanna captured the dance scene with her catchy single "Pon De Replay", a dancehall track with Sean Paul type rhythms, and Lumidee appeal.
To lovers of Caribbean music, this is standard fare, played at parties everywhere, and although the rest of the album is likeable, there's nothing spectacular. The second track "Here I Go Again" is what we call "Lover's Rock", with a beat as old as the hills, a genre that inspired millions of bump and grind slow dances. "You Don't Love Me (No, No, No)" is another Lover's Rock remix, and although she's only 17, she sounds much older singing this type of ballad.
"Music of the Sun" is a good track, with a chorus sounding like Debarge's "Rhythm of the Night"
Feel the beat of the rhythm of the night
dance until the morning light
Forget about the worries on your mind
you can leave them all behind
feel the beat of the rhythm of the night..
oohh the rhythm of the night...ooohh yeah
Can you feel the music in the air
Let the rise of the rhythm take you there
It doesn't matter who are or where you from
Come and dance to the music of the sun
Forget about your troubles it's alright
Let `em know that you see the morning light
Hear the beat and the bodies move as one
Come and dance to the music of the sun
Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel add a little spice to the album, and other buzz-worthy songs are the dance friendly "Rush", "Let Me" and the pumping "Pon De (Replay Mix )" featuring Elephant Man.
Not a bad debut album from the young Bajan girl from the land of Sun, Surf and Sand.
Amanda Richards, September 17, 2005
on September 5, 2005
First off I must say that Rihanna is a beutiful lady and is extremely talented. I'm going to do a song by song diagnosis. So to start off:
1) Pon de Replay-infetious dancehall song with a booming bass and a catchy hook so irresistible, no matter what mood your in it just makes you wanna get out of your seat and dance. With that said the lyrics aren't really all that complicated but it's just a fun song to dance to- 3.5/5
2) Here I go Again- this song is off the chains, the beat is so laidback and sounds likie something you'd find in an old Kingston record shop her vocals are on point and the lyrics match the song perfectly and the rap from J-Status fits the song perfectly. A single worth song that would do extremely well. 4.5/5
3) If It's Lovin that U Want- 2nd single that will blow up on radio for sure, personally the second single should've been "here I go again" but this still works well. Produced by the trackmasters it has a nice guitar and the layered vocals and the only problem with it is that it really has no bridge but she brings it home at the end by hitting some high notes and influencing a reggae track with some slick r&b vocals. 4/5
4) You Don't Love Me (No No No) f. Vybz Kartel- Cover of Dawn Penn's original version but Rihanna's is so much better it's a shame, she covers this song so well infusing her own itwist and adding her own trills and adlibs (which she does very well) Then with the addition of Kartel on the track makes it so much better, this song has sooo much personality and is just a excellent song to lay back to and rock to. 4.5/5
5) That La, La, La- a hip hop inspired track that proves that Rihanna is capable of more than just oozing smooth seductive vocals on reggae/dancehall tracks but can do it well over a hip hop beat and does it much better than her labelmate Teairra who can learn a few lessons from Rihanna on how to make a solid album. In any case this song would do well in the urban community and would be a great crossover single.3.5/5
6) The Last Time- OMG! this song is absolutely amazing the acoustic guitars on this track make it a beautiful r&b song and her vocals are on point and the slowing down of the beat before the chorus make it such an original song that many of her contemporaries would struggle to do successflly, but her original voice suits the beat and the adlibbing near the end draws the song to a grand finale that is grande indeed. Also the lyrics are very mature "still standing tall as I walk away" and shows her innocent but yet strong take on break ups rather than the man bashing we see from many other young females. 6/5
7) Willing to Wait- This is a nice r&b track something you would hear on a quiet storm, the lyrics are appropiate for the age as many young girls her age are pressured into sex, hopefully in this case life imitates the art of this song and she continues to wait until she's old enough as she still is a young girl. Also the vocals are very strong on this song and it proves Rihanna can carry a r&b song with class and style.3.5/5
8) Music of the Sun- IMO the best song I've heard in a while, I'm absolutely in love with this song. The lyrics aren't complicated or deep, but they fit the title perfectly and make for a great song to slow wind to in the midnight hour and the beat is awesome, reggae with a beautiful acoustic guitar and a riding bass that doesn't overpower the song in the least bit. Although I think this should've been the first song on the cd as a great opener, in any case, the note she hits at the end is held perfectly and yet again she trills and adlibs beautifully without ever overdoing it like some people *cough cough* Beyoncé (still love her though) 5.5/5
9) Let Me- another hip hop inspired track that is a highlight of the album, she claims this as a fun yet naughty song, but it's not naughty at all it's just fun and playful, and she rides the beat perfectly, and the little dancehall interlude makes perfect for a dance number, should there ever be a video to it. 5/5
10) Rush f. Kardinal- T.Dot stand up Kardi represents on this track to the fullest and she returns to straight dancehall on this track. The vocals seems strained at parts, but the beat makes up for it because it's so off the cahins and as always Kardinal brings that fiyah with a hot guest appearance and this track is calling to be a single and would do wonders for Rihanna as well as putting Kardinal on the map. 5/5
11) There's a thug in my Life- A r&b/hip hop track that a lot of ladies can relate to the lyrics as with the rest of the album is age appropiate as immature as it maybe it still has a mass appeal to a young audience and her vocals are strong, however I can mind to skip this track, but when I do listen to it, the beat stands out the most as it is very catchy as much as the hook is. 3.5/5
12) Now I Know- A lovely ballad that is so beautiful and touching, she adds such a degree of class and emotion over such a relaxing r&b track that is backed simply by a piano and a arrangement of strings. The songis not oversung and just the right amount of tirlls and adlibbing adds to the overall appeal of the song, this song caters to a more mature audience with much more mature lyrics and stunning vocals. 6/5
13) Pon de Replay (remix) f. Elephant Man- a energetic remix with the Energy guy Elephant Man, he adds a new dimension pleaing alongside Rihanna to tun up de music mister deejay. 5/5
Songs= 59 /65-----> 4.5/5
A strong debut from such a young artist is very seldom these days, this album is very listenable and will stay in my cd player in heavy rotation for years. Rihanna is able to fuse r&b vocals and songs, dancehall beats, reggae and hip hop all into one amazing album.
By the way, this album is a choreographer's dream.
on September 2, 2005
Rihanna, a new artist signed to Jay-Z's Def Jam, comes with a straight fire debut. She combines R&B and Caribbean/Reggae together and it comes out great. Definately a great buy which everyone needs to purchase.
Pon De Replay - 10/10 - The first single, and everyone's heard it. Definately fire.
Here I Go Again - 8.5/10 - Not the best beat, but Rihanna kills it!
If It's Lovin' That You Want - 7/10 - Nice beat, but not a good performence by Rihanna. Not my choice for the second single.
You Don't Love Me (No, No, No) - 5/10 - How many times has this song been redone? Jae Millz definately killed his version though. Anyway, Rihanna does do a good job on the chorus, and I just don't like the verses, along with the beat and the whole vibe of it.
That La la La - 9/10 - A CRAZY beat, which Rihanna gets a good chorus over. Nice job.
The Last Time - 9/10 - A slower song with a soothing guitar. A breakup song basiclly. The R&B side, which this song she pulls off great.
Willing To Wait - 6/10 - Another R&B song, which isn't too good this time around. Seems like it lasts forever, which isn't a good sign.
Music of the Sun - 7/10 - Being that the album title is basiclly Music of the Caribbean, I would predict a much more up-tempo song here like earlier in the album. But, no. It's still okay, a little more up-tempo than the last two songs, but it's not good, a little repetitive. More like an intro, or at least a song early in the album, not halfway through.
Let Me - 7/10 - A nice start, and Rihanna jumps in and kills it! Nice beat, and a more R&B inspired Hip-Hop kind of song. Really reminded of Amerie. If I heard this on the radio, I might've thought it was her! But, doesn't flow with the rest of album, and sort've thwrows you off.
Rush ft. Kardinall Offishall - 7/10 - Nice performence by Kardinall, and a nice beat, but another R&B/Hip-Hop Rihanna, which doesn't sound too good. This song is much better than "Let Me", though.
There's A Thug In My Life - 10/10 - My favorite song on the whole album! Crazy song, I'm speechless after hearing it.
Now I Know - 9/10 - A piano is the background, and Rihanna really shows off her voice. That's nice, but it's more Alicia Keys's type, not my favorite, especially at 5:01. I'm giving a high rating because how strog Rihanna's voice is, and how good she does on this song. It's not a song I'll be repeating too often though.
Pone De Replay (Replay Mix) ft. Elephant Man - 9/10 - Not as good as the original, but Elephant Man does do decent. Sizza!
on August 30, 2005
When Miss Robyn "Rihanna" Fenty won Miss Combermere Pageant 2004, many people did not have a clue that she was destined for greatness. This album proves it. As her former guidance counsellor, I can truly say that I am so proud of her and I am enjoying this album. Rihanna is one of the few ladies doing dancehall in any way - and doing it well. The album is a MUST for any Bajan/ Barbadian. We DO support our own!
My favourite songs are: "The Last Time" and "There's a Thug in my Life" . "Music of the Sun" is exquisite and "Now I know" is absolutely lovely. Her voice is great, the beats are absolutely hypnotic and the lyrics are pretty good. My least favourite song is "Willing to Wait". However, the album is a true display of a teenager on her way to fantastic music career. My only disappointment is that there are too few ballads and she has a beautiful voice that needs to be showcased with very lush and rich ballads.
I don't think that we have seen the last of this young lady. She has not only done herself proud, but her high school (Combermere School), her family, her label and her country. I CAN HARDLY WAIT FOR HER NEXT ALBUM!
on October 17, 2005
I wasnt expecting a great album from young Rihanna but this album is hot...It has a lot of up-tempo dance tracks as well as a few Caribbean-flavored tracks...She actually reminds me a lot of Ciara...But Rihanna has a GREAT voice, and her album is way more likable compared to "Goodies", not as many fillers!
1. Pon De Replay - The first single, a great club track....7/10
2. Here I Go Again - This track is a Caribbean style track its ok, but the pop based tracks are way better than these 5/10
3. If It's Lovin' That You Want - The 2nd single...I dont mind the track, but would have never picked it as a single 6/10
4. You Don't Love Me (No, No, No) - Another Caribbean track but this one is actually quite cool...a mid-tempo track 6/10
5. That La, La, La - One of the best tracks on the album, about a girl trying to steal your man but it aint gonna happen because what we have is sooooo strong 7/10
6. The Last Time - A nice ballad, she sounds like Ciara, but the song is nice......7/10
7. Willing To Wait - Another slow-paced song, old school RnB...a bit like Aaliyah sounding track 7/10
8. Music Of The Sun - The titled track, I dont know why it was chosen, its far from the best track on the album, it does show Rihanna's Caribbean side, maybe its close 2 her heart 6/10
9. Let Me - A pop based track, it rocks... The lyrics are smooth, its just a fun song 8/10
10. Rush - This is the best track on the entire album, I hope its a single soon.....Its a cool jam and the featured rapper makes the track sound like part 2 of Beyonce's "Baby Boy", Its a great song.....10/10
11. There's A Thug In My Life - Every girl has a time in their life were they date a thug and this is a song where Rihanna finds herself with one and like most young girls worry about is what people are gonna think.....Very tight track 9/10
12. Now I Know - This is the best ballad on the album. Rihanna shows her vocals here.....9/10
I luv this album it's nice to be able to hear some RnB from someone thats not American! Rihanna has a bright future ahead of her........Go and buy the album, or download "Rush" coz it will get you addicted to her music!
This year, for the most part has been a year where many new contemporary R&B artists have made their debuts and they have been overall very well put together. There have also been some strong returns (aka Amerie's excellent "TOUCH"). Rihanna's debut is no different from excellent offerings from Teairra Mari (ROC-A-FELLA PRESENTS...) and Keyshia Cole (THE WAY IT IS, which is ultimately a combination between contemporary R&B, Urban, and neo-soul). Rihanna, again separates herself from other contemporary artists because she chooses to include tropical influences (Carribbean) mixed with R&B/Dance-Club type music. For the most part, Rihanna pulls this off very well.
Production for the most part throughout this album is very strong. Most notably, it is strongest on the dance tunes as opposed to the balladry. Where the balladry is concerned, the production feels as if it is to spare to serve as an effective backdrop for Rihanna's vocals. With that said, ballads like "The Last Time" and "Willing To Wait" are pretty, but they feel like they're missing a little heart, soul, and emotion. Furthermore, "Now I Know" is pretty as well, but it is too slow and makes the album lose momentum towards the end. Luckily, "Pon De Replay Remix" feat. Elephant Man revives the album and ends it on a high not. Despite the mishaps of the included ballads, Rihanna does show off her vocals, which are well developed for her young age of 17, but still have to achieve more maturity (Keyshia Cole & Fantasia, who are slightly older than Rihanna are more mature vocally).
The true highlights of MUSIC OF THE SUN are the dance tunes. The ubiquitous "Pon De Replay" is definitely a catchy, well produced single. While it is a great first single, great summer single, and probably the strongest album track, it may not quite the caliber of say Ciara's "Goodies", Amerie's "1 Thing", J.Lo's "Get Right", or Beyonce's "Crazy in Love", yet it does give each of those singles a run for their money.
"Here I Go Again" is personally my favorite. It has the reggae production going for it and it is a nice mid-tempo lazy feel to it. I think that it would be a wonderful choice for a single at some point for Rihanna. The third selection from the album, "If It's Loving That You Want" is another great selection. "You Don't Love Me" isn't bad, but it isn't in my top 3 of best tracks. "That La, La, La" is an infections, well,yet simply produced number that would also be a credible single choice. The other selections don't evoke as much excitement as the best. "Let Me" is a decent track and I could see it being used as a single, However the title track, "Music of The Sun" comes over as filler material, which is a shame considering the fact that it is the title track. "Rush" and "There's A Thug in My Life" are merely average filler tracks and don't add any real "oomph" to MUSIC OF THE SUN".
Overall, Rihanna is off to a good start, but she stills has some things to improve on. Some things are just maturity factorsl; like Teairra Mari, she has a great voice, but she is just 17--she needs a few more years to truly mature into a "powerhouse" vocalist. Furthermore, the producers should make Rihanna's next album a bit more consistent. If you look at say Kanye West's THE COLLEGE DROPOUT, you see a consistent album where every track is great. Same with Anthony Hamilton's COMING FROM WHERE I'M FROM, to use an R&B example. Rihanna's debut is a bit scattered, but it is also a welcome addition to the music industry's summer catalogue, especially for the simple fact that Rihanna includes Caribbean influence into her songs. For me, I would rate this either 3 or 3.5 stars. Overall, not a bad debut Rihanna.
on August 30, 2005
This is something different coming from Def Jam, but I love it. Pon Da Reply was definitely a hit of the summer and the other songs will help bring in the fall. I would describe this album as a mix of Caribbean and R&B. It's a great CD for hanging out. My favorite tracks are Pon Da Replay (original and remix),Here I Go Again, If It's Lovin' that You Want, You Don't Love Me(No! No! No!), Music of the Sun, Rush and There's A Thug In My Life (familiar beat). The only flaw I see with Rihanna is that she doesn't have a lot of passion in her voice or performances. I think she can improve. Great debut!
on September 9, 2005
When I first saw Rihanna's video on BET and heard the song Pon De Replay, I knew I had to cop this album and couldn't wait for it to be released. I was able to burn a copy from a friend who bought the album on it's release date and as always, I'll leave any new CD in the stereo for at least 3 days to give it a fair chance. While I like a few cuts on this album, especially the Pon De Replay remix on track number 13, I noticed a familiarity about her vocals. Closed my eyes, listened to each track and........almost mistook her for Beyonce' ! Don't get me wrong, there is only ONE Beyonce'. When I learned that Rihanna was on Def Jam and under the wing of Jay-Z, it started to make since to me. Rihanna IS talented but did Beyonce' or HER people write her material and her vocal arrangments ? While Beyonce's voice is definately more mature, let's be honest, certain songs on the Music of the Sun sound JUST like Beyonce'. I don't think this is fair, being that Rihanna is only 17 and if she was groomed to sing the same style. This will only harm her career.
I DO agree with other reviewers when it comes down to a lack of passion in some of Rihanna's vocals as well has unenthused performances I have seen her give. All and all, I still give this album 3 stars because she IS young, has skills, and for songs like Pon De Replay, Thug in my life & Now I know, but Def Jam, in particular Jay-Z needs to give this young flower room to grow with her sound and should have HEARD in the sound booth just WHO her voice may have reminded him of.........lol, or perhaps he already knew.
on August 31, 2005
Wow this CD is awesome. Far better than I expected. Rihanna has combined both R&B and Reggae and it sounds great. The only flaw I have for Music of the Sun is her Rihanna's voice isn't that powerful. She's only 17, she can practise. Keep it up Rihanna, and I can't wait to see what you do in the future!
on September 3, 2005
I'm quite pleased with this album. I like that fact that she stuck with her reggae roots and gave the album a little reggae vibe. Here voice at times does sound a little off but the beats are decent and the quality is decent. She doesn't swear or use profanity which is good. Definitely worth it.