Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rihanna - Talk That Talk (Album Review)


Whether you like it or not, Rihanna is one of those things that you can’t simply escape. She’s everywhere. With this newest release, her sixth album in six years, she takes us all to da club. As usual,the topics she discusses here are about sex, love and errrm… some more sex. As y'all might have noticed, singing f-word-laced lyrics is lately trending worldwide (Cee lo Green’s  “Fuck You”, Enrique Iglesias’s  “Tonight I’m Fucking You” and Pink's "Fucking Perfect", just to name a few), so it is not surprising to find Rihanna as well desperately swearing away on this album. Back in the day, only hip-hop artists’ albums would have the Parental Advisory label but nowadays mainstream artists like Rihanna, Lady GaGa are also deliberately trying to get that label on their albums because, I guess, it looks cool. It makes you badass. Badass is cool, no?

A long list of writers and producers who contributed to this album simply questions Rihanna’s imput as an artist. Not that it really matters for she is more of a brand than an artist. The first single “We Found Love”, already a #1 smash, is epic. Good news is that there are plenty more epic trance-flavored club bangers such as “Where Have You Been” and “Roc Me Out” on this set. Also, the title track, “Talk That Talk” that features Jay Z’s rapping and “You Da One”, the second single, further establish her status as the reigning Caribbean queen.

I bet it is still quite appropriate for Rihanna, now 23 years old, to be singing lines like “You the shit. Yeah, baby! You da bomb. Middle of the day. Give me what I want. It feels so special. It feels so good.”  I mean, right? Yeah??? Okay then. I’m just checkin’. I know I am here for the party, drink up and get shitfaced.  Definitely not here for the intellectual c.o.n.v.e.r.s.a.t.i.o.n. So I shouldn’t complain. 

“Drunk on love” finds her singing at the top of her range.  Rihanna indeed has a beautiful syrupy tone in her voice. Her instrument is, although somewhat weak, a distinctive one that sounds great even when all the electronic beats and production hoopla are stripped off. Besides, her vocals have improved a lot on this album. Check out “Fool In Love”.  But... then again, I don’t expect her to be singing unplugged or accompanied only by a piano baring her soul anytime soon. (Hi, Adele!) At least she’s good at what she does.  

“Farewell”, a compulsory ballad, has to be there simply just because. “Birthday Cake” is sex in the most distasteful way and it’s unfinished. What’s up with that? Missed the deadline? Very odd. As one of the leading dance music artists out there, she does deliver fresh electro sounds on tracks like “Cockiness” and “Red Lipstick”. However, you can skip “Do Ya Thang”, “We All Want Love” and “Watch n’ Learn”. Yawn!!!

In a nutshell, the album certainly lives up to its title, “Talk That Talk”, although there is no denying that she plays it safe by following pretty much the same winning formula. Here she talks loud and in fact, it’s louder than “Loud” (2010).

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