Likes: Man Down, Raining Men, California King Bed, Love the Way You Lie (Piano Version)
Dislikes: What’s My Name
Overall: If you want light-hearted, flirty tracks, this is the album for you. If you want edge or depth, not so much.
Some reviewers found “Loud” to be refreshing in light of the dark, intense material featured on Rihanna’s previous album, “Rated R”, but I found “Loud” to be too much of an opposite. As a general rule, I feel recording artists should take the best of their previous work and build on it and improve the weaker aspects. The best part about “Rated R” is that there was a lot of metaphoric and symbolic lyrical content. The worst part was the persistent, “I’m so tough” theme that wasn’t believable. “Loud” wasn’t as pretentious, but the material went so far into light-hearted fun land, that album ended up lacking depth. “California King Bed,” “Complicated” and “Love the Way You Lie” have the best lyrical content (although “California” is oddly titled). “Man Down” would’ve been lyrically stronger if it had more of a storyboard to it. I appreciated Rihanna getting back to her island roots with “Man” and “Raining Men”; it was a nice touch. “S&M” and “What’s My Name” annoyed me; I’m tired of Rihanna telling me that she’s horny and wants it rough. How many songs are you going to make about that? Vocally, Rihanna is about the same: fairly weak and annoying at times, but tolerable. She didn’t do anything impressive or different vocally (except for a little rock rasp on “S&M”.) Loved the guitars on “California” and “Skin”.
* Love the Way You Lie (Piano Version) can be found on ITunes.