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This review is from: Unapologetic (Standard Explicit) (MP3 Music)
In a way I feel bad for Rihanna. She has really tried so hard to embrace this hard image she adopted after she was assaulted and I feel like she was rushed into becoming something that doesn't always fit her aesthetic well. I've had this issue with her since `Rated R' when she first incorporated this level of edginess into her music. When Rihanna first popped on the scene she was yet another pop princess with little to differentiate her from every other young singer in the game other than a slight accent in her singing. Then she dropped `Good Girl Gone Bad' and left us with `Umbrella' and `Disturbia', two tracks that cemented her in the game in a big way.
She had the right amount of edge to sustain her career.
Sadly after her life altering altercation with Chris Brown she became intent on lacing her every move with a hardness that almost at times embraces the abuse and uses it as a catapult into a newfound musical territory for her. It works at times, but I have been turned off by Rihanna's intent on throwing out four letter works and singing about killing people as a way to convince us that she is hardcore. It feels forced and uncomfortable.
When she fits so comfortable into tracks like `Diamonds' and `We Found Love' why is there a need to try so hard.
`Phresh Out the Runway' is the perfect example of her just sounding stupid. Yes, let's color every sentence with twelve F-words and try, yet again, to be all gangster when it never sounds right coming out of my mouth. It doesn't really stop there though. The poor choices on this album are pretty detrimental. `Numb' is a vocal fumble, leaving Rihanna sounding really bad. Her attempt to give an edge to her verse deliver just makes her sound out of tune. The trend continues right into `Pour It Up', which is atrocious. The lyrical content is obsurd (singing about wasting money in a strip club does not make you sound as cool as you think it does), but the vocals are the worst she has ever contributed to any track. She comes across like a young teenager trying to look cool in front of her peers. "Look at me, I have lots of money and like naked women!" She even uses the line "I'm going dumb with all my friends" and that is exactly what it sounds like. The disco throwback that is `Right Now' was ill advised. It doesn't fit and loses all edge and sounds like a dated misstep regardless of the forced techno vibe. `Get Over It' is also kind of bad. It just feels poorly executed and boring. I hate the lazy development of the chorus.
But nothing on this album is as offensive or as tacky as `Nobody's Business'. I really think that someone should have sat Rihanna down and informed her that the tragedy that took place between her and Chris Brown became the world's business when it was plastered all over the place, and while she has made a career out of exploiting that situation and has effective completely remodeled her image, singing a song WITH Brown basically sticking it to everyone who has supported her through this is just in poor taste. It doesn't help that the song is dated and dumb, but I'm just insulted and offended that she thought this was a good idea. If you have forgiven him and love him and want to be with him then yay for you, but singing such a tacky song with him about your affections was just wrong.
So that's a lot of bad; but when she hits high marks they are really high.
`Diamonds' is intoxicating, alluring and the best single Rihanna has dropped in four albums. `Loveeeeee Song' has such soulful flare and delicate vocal delivery that proves Rihanna has the vocal chops. `What Now' is astonishingly good, with such vocal highs for Rihanna that I'm shocked and amazed it's on the same album as `Pour It Up'. Those chorus vocals are just beautiful and emotionally touching. `Stay' is also very touching and beautifully sung (and features a male vocal that doesn't make me squirm).
Then there are some admirable tries that don't nail it but come close. `Jump' features a ripped chorus from the 90's classic `Pony' and it also features a SICK beat that makes this must have club music. The dual `Love Without Tragedy/Mother Mary' opens with a beat obviously inspired by `Message in a Bottle' and it works really well. It does feel a tad disjointed in the segues (it almost feels like three separate songs) but it isn't disjointed enough for me to find the song offputting, especially since Rihanna flows into each section flawlessly. `Get Over it' may be my favorite island inspired Rihanna song. I find her attempt to bring island flare forced a lot of the time, but she gets this one very close to right. `Lost in Paradise' closes the album on a nice note. It isn't her finest moment, but it has a real uplift to it that makes it feel almost rock ballad epic in parts.
So, in closing, I'm disappointed in where Rihanna has taken her career. Reinventing her career and going the hard/edgy route was not a bad choice, but she hasn't learnt how to balance that out yet. `Loud' was the closest she came, but she got too tacky with `Talk That Talk' and seems to have lost her way entirely here. Despite having four songs I actually LOVE, this album as a whole is a mess.
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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 30, 2012 12:31:57 AM PST
Your assessment of Rihanna is so dead on it's eerie, you have summed up all my thoughts about her perfectly.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 5:13:21 AM PST
Thanks Terelon. It is sad where she has come, because she truly could have been something special.
Posted on Dec 1, 2012 10:42:01 AM PST
Customer #1 says:
This is one of my favorite Rihanna albums. Numb is my FAVORITE track......little lacking in substance, but the beat and the feel is unreal. This will definitely be offending the white soccer moms who will claim its crass and immature. Rihanna is 24.......not 44. I hope she gets more vulgar and harder. Great move Rihanna....first CD I've ever bought of hers.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012 4:56:57 PM PST
I'm glad you enjoy. Sadly, Rihanna has gone so far downhill it is depressing. BTW, I'm not a 'white soccer mom' and while she doesn't offend me, I find it stupid that she feels the need to stoop this low to try and create an image that is off-putting.
Posted on Dec 2, 2012 11:56:54 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012 11:57:26 AM PST
None of these songs jump at me besides 'No Love Allowed'- The lilting rhythm suits her voice perfectly.
Sounds like CB was her first true love- its hard to let go of that attachment even with history of abuse.
I can relate.
How about pulling together an island album, riri?... much love girl!
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012 8:10:56 PM PST
I understand the first love thing, and I honestly do feel that her business is her business, but that song was tacky and showed a lack of self respect and respect for her fans and supporters to be honest.
Posted on Dec 3, 2012 11:44:23 AM PST
Wow! You have got a lot of time on your hands to write such a boring review. Get a life and just enjoy (or don't enjoy) the music!
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2012 12:53:17 PM PST
Let me guess...you loved this album and can't believe someone else has a differing opinion. I bet if I gave the album five stars and yet still wrote about it in detail you'd be elated and think my review was wonderful.
Posted on Dec 3, 2012 9:41:57 PM PST
It's pretty pathetic that you feel the need to get up on your moral high horse to get on a woman about her own choices. I wonder just how many bad decisions you've made in your life we can review in public until you squirm.
Posted on Dec 3, 2012 10:05:11 PM PST
The Universal Truth says:
Actually, I think you're assessment of Rihanna is completely backwards.
From the start they tried to push her into the "next big thing" good girl image but countless industry insiders have maintained that wasn't her. Her first single was Unfaithful - a song about regrets over infidelity. There are pictures and videos of her parading and dancing half naked in Caribbean parades. To put this into perspective.. she wasn't abused by Chris Brown - she attacked him with fists, before removing a high-heeled shoe and beating him in the head with it. These are hardly the actions of a sweet little angel. There were whispers of her abusing Brown by numerous insiders and radio show hosts months before their well publicized incident.
In short, she's given up on who you thought she was and decided to be herself. Most artists come into the industry with a label-created image.. it's up to them to run with it or go their own way.