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!
on January 1, 2013
Okay so today I picked up this album at Target, and I do not regret it one bit. It gives you variaties of song genres, from r&b to reggae. I've listened to all the tracks, and I enjoy them all a lot.
1)Fresh off the runway (***): It's a catchy song, not my favorite on the album, but it is definietly a dance/club track.
2) Diamonds (*****): I really like this song. I know a lot of peopl were dissapointed when thi debuted, to be honest I didn't like it at first, but I got to listening to it a couple weeks back, and it's gotten to be one of my favorites. I really like how it shows off her vocals.
3) Numb (***'): I like how it starts off, and I really enjoy the beat. It's r&b/pop with a touch of island/reggae feel and I like that. But I really don't like Eminems part. It's a little too silly in my opinion. It sounds a little like "Just Lose It" by him, which I like, but it doesnt fit with the song. Sorry.
4) Pour It Up (*****): Although the message flat (money), I really like how the song was constructed, the beat is sick, and I like the cockiness in the song. It is really catchy.
5) Loveeeee song (*****): This song features FUTURE. Anyway this song is great. Aside from being layed back and chill, its lyrics aren't that bad either. I find this more of a FUTURE song though, so if you hate him or something, you might now be into it.
6)Jump (****): This song is really catchy. The only part I honestly don't like the dubstep breakdowns, but whatever. The lyrics are pretty dirty. I really like the rythmn, and the way the song was put together.
7) Right Now(***') not too fond of the dubstep breakdowns again, but the rest of the song has meaning and its pretty good.
8) What Now(*****): I like this song a lot. Really don't find anything wrong with it. Just explains the feeling of the bad ending of a good relationship.
9)Stay(****') not my favorite on the album but it's not bad. I like how her an Mikky collaborate.
10) Nobodies Buisness(****): Shows how Chriannas going to stick together and they don't care if anybody thinks it's good or bad. Not bad.
11) Mother mary(*****): This is kind of like two songs in one. I really like it. It explains that Rih didn't expect all of the fame to happen to her and how shes still trying to be in Gods arms, but she explains that its hard being part of the public eye. She also says that love has its ups and downs, and no relationship is perfect, but you have to focus on the future and try to set the past aside.
12)Get it over with(****): catchy song. Pretty sure it's about getting high but I like it.
13)No Love Allowed(*****): THIS SONG IS AMAZING! It's catchy. Even though a lot of people don't like it when she does reggae, I don't mind. It's great. I have to say it is my favorite on the whole album, and I will. It is extremely catchy and it a song you would want to listen over and over again. Nothing bad to say about this song AT ALL!
14)Lost in Paradise(****'): I enjoy a lot of the lyrics in this song. Well put together point blank period.
on January 26, 2013
THIS ALBUM IS EXCELLENT! Omg! I can't stop listening to it! Every song has a different style that I find amazing! This is probably the best album that she's EVER had!
YOU CAN LISTEN TO IT STRAIGHT THROUGH!
1. Fresh Off the Runway: a nice little explicit song with a GREAT beat! If it didn't curse so much, it could be used in a fast paced runway show.
2. Diamonds: If you are reading this review, this song probably brought you to the album.
3. Numb feat. Eminem: One of my faves. Beat is addictive and Em is funny, like he used to be. I love this song!
4. Pour It Up: Rihanna's second single from the album. Her shortest songs are always so great! IT BEATS SO HARD! Sounds like a JuicyJ song. This song is great in the car or a strip club! (I've never been to a strip club, but listen to it and you'll know why.)
5. Loveeeeeee Song: My least fav song on the album. I just don't like Future. She could have made the song alone.
6. Jump: stolen excerpts from Ginuwine's "Pony", but nice to hear parts of his song again! This song is a great club song!
7. Right Now: Another great club song! Great beat!
8. What Now: A nice pop ballad. Used to be my fav song.
9. Stay: Another ballad. This song is okay. I listen to it. I like the words.
10. Nobody's Business: Perfect song for Rihanna and Chris. Their lives are nobody's business. Just listen to their music and get over it. She did.
11. Love Without Tragedy/Mother Mary: MY FAV SONG(S) on the album! (For now! It keeps changing!) These songs are fantastic! Slow, and words to both are great! Rihanna shows how she feels in "Mother Mary".
12. Get It Over With: I REALLY like this song. May end up becoming a fav. So soft and the words are great. Don't talk about things, just do it and "Get It Over With".
13. No Love Allowed: One of my favs too! If you have been hurt by someone, you can feel this song. Great music also!
14. Lost In Paradise: I don't really listen to this song. It's cool though.
on December 11, 2012
"Talk that Talk" was the first Rihanna album I'd ever purchased; not because I wasn't a fan but because her singles were so hit and miss. In my opinion, talk that talk was a great album. It had a lot of energy and grit and a great balance of the two.
It's easy to appreciate the hurt and heart she's put into this album. Though most of her albums have a common theme (tragedy and triumph), this one feels as if she's giving the audience more of herself by being completely exposed.
"Get it over with" is all written within a hidden text and beautifully so. It is one of my FAVORITE songs on the album. It allows the listener to relate, let loose and vibe with the synths of the track and the meaning to be taken in this subliminal tone. Though at first I initially thought it was an interlude, as a track it definitely holds its own.
"Love song" (only because I am so against FUTURE and everything he's about) is garbage. I understand the need to collab/market with a new up and coming artist, but FUTURE was a horrible choice.
If T-Pain murdered Auto-tune then FUTURE is the serial killer that's yet to have been caught. Ghastly..
"Diamonds" is obviously a hit, as is "Fresh off the runway" especially for those of you who are club heads. I myself enjoy a good beat from time to time, though the lyrics are lacking.
"Stay" and "What now" are great ballads. She delivers a very convincing emotional performance.
"Lost in Paradise" is a great closer. It's light and hearty, which gives the listener a chance to reflect on the journey they've just taken. There were some up's and downs...happy times and sad, but in the end...RIRI will always come out on top.
on January 2, 2013
Overall, there's great production value to this album. However, there's no standout, radio worthy, pop-catchy tracks. That may be praise or critique. If you're one who doesn't care for what it blasted over the airwaves, then this album may be more for you. If you are fans of Rihanna's pop hits such as Umbrella or Rude Boy I find such anthems void on this album. That's not to say there's not the sometimes crass, often repetitive verses aren't here. They definitely are. They just aren't as catchy (or perhaps, not as annoying). If you're a Rihanna fan, you'll probably enjoy. If you're not, I doubt this will change your mind. It isn't her strongest offering to date.
on April 1, 2013
Rihanna is one of very few artists who can release back to back albums successfully. Maybe this is mostly due to the fact that she's a Pop act who tries to stay more current than artistic. She knows the best people to contribute to her album and she oozes sex appeal not only to men but to women. This works for her. She's Mariah Carey or Celine Dion. Nor is she a Beyonce who can entertain even the most reluctant fan. She stays in her lane and this works for her. I own 6/7 of Rihanna's albums and I'd say I can listen to about half of them without skipping a single song. Unapologetic is probably the album that I skip the most songs (besides A Girl Like Me) is this is mostly due to the fact that I have absolutely no clue what's she talking about on some of the songs like "Numb" or even the smash like "Diamonds". But the songs I do like, I really like. "Pour it Up" is one of those songs that even though you hate it, you somehow still manage to know every word to it. "Phresh Out the Runway" is one of my 3 favorite songs on the album because I love it when a female singer sounds 'gangsta' and she does. "Stay" and "Love without Tragedy" are lyrically the best songs on the album. Even if she didn't write them; they fit her because she can speak from experience. That is one of the best things I love about Rihanna. Even if she had absolutely no lyrical or production input on some of her songs; they still fit her. They were made for her and her voice meshes well with the melody of it all. I think this is what makes Rihanna such a successful artist.
My overall issue with this album is simply that I do not like about half the songs on this album. People raved about "Jump", her version of Ginuwine's "Pony" and I absolutely hate the song and know not one word of it. The million remixes of "Diamonds" were completely unecessary and I can't imagine anyone wanting to listen to them unless they're a DJ that plays the songs in the club. "No Love Allowed" reminds me a lot of "Man Down" from Loud, mostly because of it's island tempo that crazy appealing. "Half of Me" lyrically is good, but the delivery is mediocre. All in all, Unapologetic is a solid album that I'm sure people will still listen to out of admiration of Rihanna the artist, but compared to her other albums, it falls very short on the scale of Excellent to Poor.
on January 29, 2013
I like Rihanna a lot, I think shes really innovative when it comes to music. Though I was pretty dissapointed with the entire album, let me give you my opinions on each song:
Fresh Off the Runway: It gives Rihanna a new type of sound, and I mean it sounds okay. Theres nothing special about the track, but I think its catchy.
Diamond's: Was released as the 1st single, and I mean the song is amazing. Which is why I was shocked the entire album didnt sound this good.
Numb: I sometime's listen to this song, but I mean there really isnt anything cool about this track. Its lame, generic, and its just another filler track for the album to me.
Pour It Up: Was released as her 3rd single, though the song is just lame. Nothing special about it, its something we all have heard, just another filler track.
Loveeeeeee song: I actually like this song a lot, its one of my favorites. Its not the best song I have ever heard, but I like it, I think its a great song.
Right Now: This song should have been released as the 3rd single. I mean I dont think the song is amazing, but its an OK pop song, and way better than Pour It Up.
What Now: Eh, the song is okay. The song does sound at least a little different from the other songs on the album.
Stay: This song was released as the 2nd single, and I like that its a ballad, but honestly the song is just so basic. The meaning of the song is good, but the lyrics just ruin it. Saying something as simple as "I was you to stay", be more creative and say "Never leave my side, be forever mine, and let me be complete", or something like that.
Nobody's Business: Eh, the song is okay to listen to, but really its just another filler track. I dont hate the song, I just wouldnt mind if I never heard it again.
Love Without Tradegy: Probably another one of the only songs I like on the album. I do like that its a ballad, and the beat to it its pretty cool, but the lyrics make the song kinda confusing. Its a good song though.
Get It Over With: I think this is a good song, its slow, but catchy.
No Love Allowed: Kinda reminds me of Man Down, with how the beat sounds. I like the song but I mean its just boring sorta. Just another filler track.
Lost In Paradise: I think that this song is good for the most part, a little boring, but its tolerable.
Half of Me: One of my favorites on the album, the song is more biographical, but I mean the beat and everything is well put together.
Im probably going to seem like a big time Rihanna hater after this album lol. I like Rihanna but this album is just kinda basic. She needs another album like Good Girl gone Bad, or Loud. This is her 7th album, and shes been making a new album every year, but honestly she needs to just take it slower. If she produces an album every year its only gonna have like 2-4 good songs on it, and the rest are just gonna be pretty crappy tracks. :/, I hope her next album will be better.
on December 16, 2012
Another year, another Rihanna album. This one shifted gears away from the raunchy lyrics on both LOUD & TTT to songs that brag about her wealth & lifestyle (much like rappers), touch on her relationship with Chris Brown and reveal her seeming bemusement with her fame. That being said, there is no real introspection in the lyrics of this album and again Rih retains an icy, distant, automaton demeanor which keeps me from totally investing in her as an artist.
This album like the previous 3 was rushed and had her still recording vocals almost 2 weeks prior to the release date which shows on some tracks that have virtually no lyrics and are uninspiring; one other thing that I must comment on is how distasteful I find her use of the 'n' word on some of these songs. I wish that word would be abolished or there was some magic memory loss drug to make everyone forget it but I digress.
The songs that I really like are:
GET IT OVER WITH - although I get that this song is a kind of "ratchet" ode to weed, the production is dreamy and evokes the feeling of floating on a high;
DIAMONDS - Rih sounds great singing this song that is like an "earworm" with just enough lyrics so that I was able to quickly learn them to sing along;
FRESH OFF THE RUNWAY - I had a sense of deja vu the 1st time I heard this song & after listening to it a few times, I realized that it reminds me of a Kelis track called, 'AW S***'. Although Kelis' was produced by Bangledesh, both songs feature frentic production as the artists kind of rap/sing over the music;
WHAT NOW - I like how softly this song begins and builds to her belting out the chorus of 'what now';
STAY f/ Mikky Ekko - very interesting ballad on which her vocals shine;
NOBODY'S BUSINESS f/ Chris Brown - when I saw the track listing, I viewed this as another PR stunt much like BDAY CAKE earlier this year. A tactic to get people talking about the album, their relationship, THEM period. However it is a well constructed enjoyable song that sounds like a late '80s track and finds Chris doing his best Michael Jackson impersonation as they trade verses about their relationship status being "nobody's bid-ness" but theirs;
HALF OF ME - great autobiographical lyrics which ring true given how she has to live out loud due to the heavy paparazzi presence around her but we don't really know the real her
LOVE WITHOUT TRAGEDY - a really good ballad whose lyrics touch (again) on her beating and;
DIAMONDS (David Aude remix) - love it! He was able to exceed the original by speeding it up a bit and adding a phat beat that made it sound more like a dance anthem.
The tracks that I can take or leave are:
NUMB - this is a really lazy track as there are basically no lyrics but the music production is interesting (wish I could get an instrumental);
JUMP - although I don't care for the lyrics, the arrangement makes me want to dance;
RIGHT NOW - feels like a "been there, done that" track, it's not special nor does it stand out;
LOVEEEEEEE SONG f/ Future - I like how her lyrics were sung in a higher register and sound sweet vs his auto-tuned vocals (especially at the end as they sing together) and;
POUR IT UP - again, dicey lyrics but great arrangement/production.
Finally I don't like:
MOTHER MARY - very dreary 2nd half of a long song, it doesn't really go anywhere (although I do like the line that references her growing up on an island never dreaming she'd become such a big star);
NO LOVE ALLOWED - forced "breezy" sounding island track;
LOST IN PARADISE - truly unremarkable track and;
DIAMONDS (Gregor Salto downtempo remix) - just don't care for his arrangement of the song.
On the superficial side, although the album is housed in digi-casing, it's certainly the most original I have bought thus far. It's bigger than traditional cd packaging and contains both the cd & dvd as well as a pictorial booklet (which unfortunately feature a lot of pics of her smoking and/or drinking) and the album liner notes (which although squeezed onto one side is presented much better than the TTT liner notes so that I can actually read it). The dvd is a brief glimpse of her upcoming LOUD tour dvd.
I rated the album as "ok" because oddly the more I listen to it, the less I like it. Overall I don't enjoy this album more than her previous releases but the positives are: there are a few songs that I do like, I can hear improvement in her singing (although the smoking isn't going to help in the long run) and I admire the fact that she & her producers/song writers switch it up every time and try to have her cover multiple genres so that she can appeal to a wide audience of music lovers.
I'd recommend this deluxe version to fans because of the extra tracks and the dvd.
In a way I feel bad for Rihanna. She has really tried so hard to embrace this hard image she adopted after she was assaulted and I feel like she was rushed into becoming something that doesn't always fit her aesthetic well. I've had this issue with her since `Rated R' when she first incorporated this level of edginess into her music. When Rihanna first popped on the scene she was yet another pop princess with little to differentiate her from every other young singer in the game other than a slight accent in her singing. Then she dropped `Good Girl Gone Bad' and left us with `Umbrella' and `Disturbia', two tracks that cemented her in the game in a big way.
She had the right amount of edge to sustain her career.
Sadly after her life altering altercation with Chris Brown she became intent on lacing her every move with a hardness that almost at times embraces the abuse and uses it as a catapult into a newfound musical territory for her. It works at times, but I have been turned off by Rihanna's intent on throwing out four letter works and singing about killing people as a way to convince us that she is hardcore. It feels forced and uncomfortable.
When she fits so comfortable into tracks like `Diamonds' and `We Found Love' why is there a need to try so hard.
`Phresh Out the Runway' is the perfect example of her just sounding stupid. Yes, let's color every sentence with twelve F-words and try, yet again, to be all gangster when it never sounds right coming out of my mouth. It doesn't really stop there though. The poor choices on this album are pretty detrimental. `Numb' is a vocal fumble, leaving Rihanna sounding really bad. Her attempt to give an edge to her verse deliver just makes her sound out of tune. The trend continues right into `Pour It Up', which is atrocious. The lyrical content is obsurd (singing about wasting money in a strip club does not make you sound as cool as you think it does), but the vocals are the worst she has ever contributed to any track. She comes across like a young teenager trying to look cool in front of her peers. "Look at me, I have lots of money and like naked women!" She even uses the line "I'm going dumb with all my friends" and that is exactly what it sounds like. The disco throwback that is `Right Now' was ill advised. It doesn't fit and loses all edge and sounds like a dated misstep regardless of the forced techno vibe. `Get Over It' is also kind of bad. It just feels poorly executed and boring. I hate the lazy development of the chorus.
But nothing on this album is as offensive or as tacky as `Nobody's Business'. I really think that someone should have sat Rihanna down and informed her that the tragedy that took place between her and Chris Brown became the world's business when it was plastered all over the place, and while she has made a career out of exploiting that situation and has effective completely remodeled her image, singing a song WITH Brown basically sticking it to everyone who has supported her through this is just in poor taste. It doesn't help that the song is dated and dumb, but I'm just insulted and offended that she thought this was a good idea. If you have forgiven him and love him and want to be with him then yay for you, but singing such a tacky song with him about your affections was just wrong.
So that's a lot of bad; but when she hits high marks they are really high.
`Diamonds' is intoxicating, alluring and the best single Rihanna has dropped in four albums. `Loveeeeee Song' has such soulful flare and delicate vocal delivery that proves Rihanna has the vocal chops. `What Now' is astonishingly good, with such vocal highs for Rihanna that I'm shocked and amazed it's on the same album as `Pour It Up'. Those chorus vocals are just beautiful and emotionally touching. `Stay' is also very touching and beautifully sung (and features a male vocal that doesn't make me squirm).
Then there are some admirable tries that don't nail it but come close. `Jump' features a ripped chorus from the 90's classic `Pony' and it also features a SICK beat that makes this must have club music. The dual `Love Without Tragedy/Mother Mary' opens with a beat obviously inspired by `Message in a Bottle' and it works really well. It does feel a tad disjointed in the segues (it almost feels like three separate songs) but it isn't disjointed enough for me to find the song offputting, especially since Rihanna flows into each section flawlessly. `Get Over it' may be my favorite island inspired Rihanna song. I find her attempt to bring island flare forced a lot of the time, but she gets this one very close to right. `Lost in Paradise' closes the album on a nice note. It isn't her finest moment, but it has a real uplift to it that makes it feel almost rock ballad epic in parts.
So, in closing, I'm disappointed in where Rihanna has taken her career. Reinventing her career and going the hard/edgy route was not a bad choice, but she hasn't learnt how to balance that out yet. `Loud' was the closest she came, but she got too tacky with `Talk That Talk' and seems to have lost her way entirely here. Despite having four songs I actually LOVE, this album as a whole is a mess.
on February 10, 2015
I, recently, had a discussion with a coworker about taste in music. She stated that she was not a fan of Aretha Frankiln because Ms. Franklin was not in her generation. This coworker is about in her 30's-40. I explained that generation has nothing to do with it. Music is one of those you like it or you don't things. I am 56, and I heard Rihanna's song "Diamonds". Loved it. The song prompted me to buy her Unapologetic CD. Loveee, Stay, and Numb are my favorite cuts. I have never been a fan od rap but Eminem's contribution to the song Numb was pretty good. I have CDs by Meghan Trainor, Katy Perry, and Jhene Aiko because I like some of their songs. Music is universal, color blind, and not age desciminatory. Either you like the music or you don't.