Mackenzie Cummings-Grady Journal Staff
It comes as no surprise to any pop-music follower to know that Rihanna has released a new album. The pop/dance diva has put out a continuous stream of albums since 2009’s triple platinum album Good Girl Gone Bad. Since then, Rated R, LOUD and Talk That Talk have all followed in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Now with a new year comes her new release Unapologetic, which has Rihanna taking on a more hip-hop-oriented tone than her previous albums. While the sexy album cover may be deceiving, the album in its entirety is nothing new or exciting, and will likely land itself in the “Discount Bin” at Barnes & Nobles everywhere come 2013.
The first single off the album “Diamonds,” was released back in October to many mixed reviews. While not as catchy as “We Found Love”, her last big single from Talk That Talk, it was a well-produced track that showcased Rihanna’s pop talent. From then on, the album fails to impress me. The opener “Phresh Out The Runway” has an auto-tuned Rihanna trying, and failing, to copy the hip-hop swagger of Nicki Minaj. At best, this song sounds like it could be a cover of “Come on a Cone.” With jumbled verses like “All of the bank dollars got change for small dollars/Everything plain dollars” Rihanna should expect an angry phone call from Nicki any day.
The disappointment continues from then on with tracks like “Numb”, “Jump” and “Pour It Up”, which has Rihanna continuing her abysmal rap career, and “Jump” even provides a mind-numbing dub-step drop as a bonus!
There are glimmers of hope off of the album. Songs like “Right Now” with David Guetta have her returning to the pop power force of “We Found Love” and serve as a breath of fresh air in an album bogged down with horrible beats and messy rhymes. “Stay” has her returning to the days of “Good Girl Gone Bad,” and “Love Song” has the same smooth and sexy impact as “What’s My Name?” had over a year ago.
As for the song with her abusive ex Chris Brown, I’ll leave it to the listeners to decide on Rihanna’s sanity, and if it’s still intact or not. There is no question the collaboration was a money making strategy, but as far as the song goes, it’s pretty damn catchy. For “Unapologetic” all in all, you really have to dig deep to find the songs worth listening too, and whether it be the pompous Nicki Minaj sound-a-likes, the guilty pleasure ballads, or the collaboration with Chris Brown, I suppose it’s “Nobody’s Business.”