Likes: Diamonds, Stay, Nobody’s Business
Dislikes: Phresh Off the Runway, Jump, Pour it Up
Overall: Half trash, half introspection
Ever since Rihanna’s “Rated R” in 2009, I’ve liked her albums less and less. I had utter disdain for the last “Talk That Talk,” which, in my opinion, lacked some of the rudiments that make her music artistically tolerable. That being said, I didn’t expect much from the new “Unapologetic,” but I was pleasantly surprised. After listening to the first few tracks, I was prepared to slam this album as they were the same tawdry, trashy and meaningless tunes we hear more and more from the pop-star. Eventually, however, the record takes a turn half-way through with a stream of semi well-written solemn or dark songs about toxic love and emotional contemplation (with the exception of the lighter and catchy “Nobody’s Business,” which pays a cute homage to Michael Jackson). I describe the lyrics as semi well-written because some of them seem to lack conceptual consistency and are trying too hard to be “deep,” but from Rihanna, I’ll take it (she co-wrote several of the songs). Making too much of an effort to be thoughtful is better than none at all. The southern rap and dance influenced musical production is really scaled back with basic rhythm patterns, so there isn’t much melodically to cling to. Rihanna’s vocals are what they’ve always been; distinctive because of her island accent and thin- making big, held notes hard to listen to (notes on “What Now” are reminiscent of the older “Complicated”). All in all, “Unapologetic” is slightly worth keeping on the IPod.