Favorites: “Fire Bomb”, “Rude Boy”, “Cold Case Love”
Dislikes: “Stupid in Love” “Wait Your Turn”
Overall: if you love R&B/Pop, you’ll probably like this album
This album has an equal blend of pros and cons. First, let me say that it was much better than I anticipated. It’s surprisingly the type of album that you can play all the way through, assuming you enjoy R&B/Pop. Now, that I’ve started with some pros, let me continue with them. Although Rihanna’s specialty is R&B/Pop, the album is pretty multi-genre, blending in a little bit of hip-hop, latin and rock.
The album is written fairly well, making use of symbolism, imagery and metaphors to illustrate the different shades of love and relationships, both light and dark, on songs like “Russian Roulette”, “Firebomb”, “Photographs”, “Cold Case Love” and “Te Amo.” I used the word “fairly”, because although the imagery and symbolism is intriguing and creative, some of the songs still have enough ambiguity to where one can be confused about the topic. It shouldn’t be a guessing game when you’re listening to an album; which brings me to the cons.
A decent portion of the album is written well, but the portion that isn’t is pretty awful. “Wait Your Turn”, “Stupid in Love”, “Rockstar 101” and “G4L (Gangsta for Life)” are a blend of underwhelming, senseless or pointless. “Turn” was a terrible choice to come behind the enticing, build-up intro “Mad House,” because it’s dull and forgettable. “Turn” was supposed to assist songs like “Hard”, “Rockstar” and “G4L” in creating this edgy, tough, hard feel for the record. Obviously, being “tough” is the album’s theme, but it isn’t very believable. It all feels a bit pretentious; kinda like rappers from the suburbs acting like they’re from the hood. In “G4L”, she talks about hunting people down and using guns. In “Rockstar,” she claims it’s necessary to frisk her and sings “got my middle finger up, I don’t really give a f***.” A handful of the songs are littered with expletives. The “gangsta” shoe doesn’t fit Rihanna well. And the fact that every other song is trying to convince you of such is irritating. Overall, as I said, the album has pros and cons. You’ll either hate it or love it.