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Album Review: Rihanna, ‘Anti’

Rihanna could not get her IDGAF vibe across any stronger with her eight album ‘Anti.’

Opening with the song “Consideration”, the pop star sings and challenges the listener and her former label if we could take her and her music seriously and in case we don’t, she couldn’t give a rat’s ass about it. The first track is very evident that Riri is taking a different approach in her sound. It has a trip hoppy opening beat that instantly hooks the listener to the song.  Featuring the underground R&B artist SZA in singing the chorus, the song packs a strong message of wanting independence despite its down tempo and chilled production. The short but dopey second song, “James Joint”, obviously  is not just about Rihanna’s love for the organic high but also a love song that talks about being interested in a man who has a history with the police.

This new direction that her album’s sound has taken is clearly nothing we’ve heard from the Barbados native. Ever since releasing “Music from the Sun” in 2005, the singer has constantly release seven more albums almost yearly. While others will argue that she’s only manufacturing tunes that can be easily consumed but not assimilated by the public, no one can deny that she’s one of the most prolific artists out there.  In this album however, Rihanna still kept her pop sensibilities with more radio-friendly songs like “Kiss It Better” and another collaboration with rapper Drake, “Work.” These two songs feel like finished products by her team, unlike the others but that’s not to say that the other songs are not good. Releasing “Work” as one of her singles for this album was a smart move as the song still shows the chemistry between the two artists.

From then on, the album starts to show you how Rihanna wanted to sound minus the pop production backing her. “Desperado” gives a darker country vibe with her accent turning into a southern drawl. “Woo” and “Needed Me” are both the stoner versions of the independent women. She also covered Tame Impala’s song “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” which probably is one the most stand out tracks in the album. Keeping the same arrangement and just putting her vocals on, Rihanna managed to make the song her own with her delivery of the song’s lyrics: “I can just hear them now/’How could you let us down?’ Maybe she knew that her listeners will be perplexed by her different sonic aesthetic.

Whatever Rihanna is smoking right now, pop stars could take a cue from it and start exploring their own sound. Riri sure did. And even with her IDGAF attitude, this album was the most real and vulnerable she has ever been.

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