18 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Unapologetic - 3.5 stars,
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This review is from: Unapologetic [Deluxe Edition] [CD/DVD] (Audio CD)Another year, another Rihanna album. This one shifted gears away from the raunchy lyrics on both LOUD & TTT to songs that brag about her wealth & lifestyle (much like rappers), touch on her relationship with Chris Brown and reveal her seeming bemusement with her fame. That being said, there is no real introspection in the lyrics of this album and again Rih retains an icy, distant, automaton demeanor which keeps me from totally investing in her as an artist.
This album like the previous 3 was rushed and had her still recording vocals almost 2 weeks prior to the release date which shows on some tracks that have virtually no lyrics and are uninspiring; one other thing that I must comment on is how distasteful I find her use of the 'n' word on some of these songs. I wish that word would be abolished or there was some magic memory loss drug to make everyone forget it but I digress.
The songs that I really like are:
GET IT OVER WITH - although I get that this song is a kind of "ratchet" ode to weed, the production is dreamy and evokes the feeling of floating on a high;
DIAMONDS - Rih sounds great singing this song that is like an "earworm" with just enough lyrics so that I was able to quickly learn them to sing along;
FRESH OFF THE RUNWAY - I had a sense of deja vu the 1st time I heard this song & after listening to it a few times, I realized that it reminds me of a Kelis track called, 'AW S***'. Although Kelis' was produced by Bangledesh, both songs feature frentic production as the artists kind of rap/sing over the music;
WHAT NOW - I like how softly this song begins and builds to her belting out the chorus of 'what now';
STAY f/ Mikky Ekko - very interesting ballad on which her vocals shine;
NOBODY'S BUSINESS f/ Chris Brown - when I saw the track listing, I viewed this as another PR stunt much like BDAY CAKE earlier this year. A tactic to get people talking about the album, their relationship, THEM period. However it is a well constructed enjoyable song that sounds like a late '80s track and finds Chris doing his best Michael Jackson impersonation as they trade verses about their relationship status being "nobody's bid-ness" but theirs;
HALF OF ME - great autobiographical lyrics which ring true given how she has to live out loud due to the heavy paparazzi presence around her but we don't really know the real her
LOVE WITHOUT TRAGEDY - a really good ballad whose lyrics touch (again) on her beating and;
DIAMONDS (David Aude remix) - love it! He was able to exceed the original by speeding it up a bit and adding a phat beat that made it sound more like a dance anthem.
The tracks that I can take or leave are:
NUMB - this is a really lazy track as there are basically no lyrics but the music production is interesting (wish I could get an instrumental);
JUMP - although I don't care for the lyrics, the arrangement makes me want to dance;
RIGHT NOW - feels like a "been there, done that" track, it's not special nor does it stand out;
LOVEEEEEEE SONG f/ Future - I like how her lyrics were sung in a higher register and sound sweet vs his auto-tuned vocals (especially at the end as they sing together) and;
POUR IT UP - again, dicey lyrics but great arrangement/production.
Finally I don't like:
MOTHER MARY - very dreary 2nd half of a long song, it doesn't really go anywhere (although I do like the line that references her growing up on an island never dreaming she'd become such a big star);
NO LOVE ALLOWED - forced "breezy" sounding island track;
LOST IN PARADISE - truly unremarkable track and;
DIAMONDS (Gregor Salto downtempo remix) - just don't care for his arrangement of the song.
On the superficial side, although the album is housed in digi-casing, it's certainly the most original I have bought thus far. It's bigger than traditional cd packaging and contains both the cd & dvd as well as a pictorial booklet (which unfortunately feature a lot of pics of her smoking and/or drinking) and the album liner notes (which although squeezed onto one side is presented much better than the TTT liner notes so that I can actually read it). The dvd is a brief glimpse of her upcoming LOUD tour dvd.
I rated the album as "ok" because oddly the more I listen to it, the less I like it. Overall I don't enjoy this album more than her previous releases but the positives are: there are a few songs that I do like, I can hear improvement in her singing (although the smoking isn't going to help in the long run) and I admire the fact that she & her producers/song writers switch it up every time and try to have her cover multiple genres so that she can appeal to a wide audience of music lovers.
I'd recommend this deluxe version to fans because of the extra tracks and the dvd.