Music Review: Rihanna - Loud
After the dismal success of Rated R, one of the most anticipated albums of the year has finally be released. Rihanna has returned to the scene with her new album Loud and is determined to make a success this time.
Kicking off the album is the sexually driven S & M which makes good use of frenetic electro beats.The chorus is catchy with lyrics "I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it, Sex in the air, I love the smell of it." The track thumps along and shows it's going to be headed to the clubs very soon.
Rihanna then switches pace very quickly with the second track What's My Name featuring Drake. The opening rap is boring and sounds like Drake is groggy after just waking up. The Caribbean feel of the song is relaxing enough but the track, overall, fails to impress the average listener.
The Friday night anthem Cheers (Drink to That) could almost be sung by anyone enjoying after work drinks. It's got a relaxed rock feel to it and is quite enjoyable to listen to. Especially after a hard day in the office.
The next highly notable track is the lead single Only Girl (In The World). If you haven't heard the song yet, where have you been hiding? It's infectious electro beats and easy vocal delivery have made it a fantastic release for Rihanna. It's certainly one of the hottest tracks to have been released for 2010.
California Bed King is probably one of the poorest tracks on the album. An unnecessary ballad that doesn't wow the listener. It's tired and listless in an album of enjoyable tracks. At best it could be considered generic. At worst it's a track that the likes of Lady Gaga would burn at the stake in a pagan ritual to a God she didn't like.
Fortunately, Man Down follows and makes good use of her heritage and Barbadian accent. The almost reggae feel makes the song quite enjoyable. Telling the story of Rihanna murdering a man and then going on the run. It's certainly worth a listen if you like songs that tell a story.
The second of the duets on the album is Raining Men featuring Nicki Minaj. The song quickly becomes all about the guest artist rather than Rihanna. The song is a great addition to the album with Rihanna's 'go with the flow' vocals supporting Minaj's rapping skills. Certainly a highlight of the album.
The electronic sounds continue with Complicated which is a borderline ballad. The soaring vocal gymnastics at the start are reminisce of early Mariah Carey (y'know... before she started wailing). The song has a nice build all the way along before hitting it's peak and dragging the listener along for the ride.
Skin is overtly sexual in both lyrics and sound. It's seductive to the ear and the vocals have a husky quality which invites mental images of a candle lit bedroom and promises of a sweaty night. The song is perfectly delivered and shows Rihanna as a grown woman as compared to the girl she was when she started off.
Rounding out the album is the final duet. Love The Way You Lie (Part II) featuring Eminem. It was certainly one of the highlights on Eminem's last album and stands out as a highlight on this one as well. If you haven't heard it yet, you can't have been listening to the radio too much recently. Rihanna's sweet vocals sing out across the track match Eminem's rapping which raises the mercury and temper quite quickly. The two styling work well together to make an amazing track.
All in all, Loud takes one or two listens before it really takes hold and you can appreciate what is going on with it. It's a mature combination of Good Girl Gone Bad and Rated R. With one or two misses, the album as a whole has a consistent high standard. Even if you decide you don't want to buy it, at least promise yourself to listen to it. It's a great release and a perfect stocking filler for Christmas.