Top positive review
74 people found this helpful
Exceeds my expectations: a sparkling diamond!
on November 19, 2012
Three years ago, Rihanna released, what was in my opinion, her best album yet; "Rated R". The album found her, or her producers and writers, lyrically and sonically pushing the envelope with songs like "Russian Roulette", "G4L", and "Photographs", to mention a few. "Unapologetic" sounds like the logical follow-up to that album, and much like that collection, is laden with winners, while trying something a bit new here and there, and attempting to stretch vocally.
Opening cut "Fresh Off The Runway" layers distorted synths over Hip Hop beats. The delightful lead-single "Diamonds" is somber electro R&B set to plodding beats. "Numb" is trippy Middle eastern Dub with distorted slowed-down vocals by Eminem. "Pour It Up" is that hazy R&B sound Drake, The Weeknd or The-Dream are known for, as is the moody mid tempo "Loveeeee Song" featuring an auto-tuned Future pleading for "love and affection".
"Jump" is Dubstep and samples Ginuwine's hit "Pony". The David Guetta-penned & produced "Right Now" is a catchy club anthem with Techno and Dubstep flourishes. Next come a pair of ballads; "What Now" (an acoustic/piano ballad with an almost Dub Step chorus) and the spare Elton John-style piano ballad "Stay" featuring Mikky Ekko (who reminds me of Thom Yorke). The eighties-sounding R&B/House "Nobody's Business" features Chris Brown (channelling MJ) and is lyrically both of them against the world, set to an insanely catchy groove.
Next comes the album's highlight, the ambitious tempo-shifting 7 minute long "Love Without Tragedy / Mother Mary" with chiming guitars and personal confessional lyrics ("You took the best years of my life"). "Get Over It" is dreamy with lush synth strings and spare percussion. "No Love Around" is drum-free woozy Reggae with Rihanna singing "Your love hit me to the core, I was fine until you knocked me to the floor." Closing is "Lost In Paradise", bouncy Pop with pseudo Dubstep flourishes.
The deluxe version has two remixes of "Diamonds", as well as the Emile Sandé-penned ballad "Half Of Me" where she tells us that what we see on television is "half of it... half of me". Much will be made of the lyrics of most of the songs (is she singing about Chris Brown or not?), but this is undeniably good. Love it!