Monday, November 21, 2011

ALBUM REVIEW: Rihanna's "Talk That Talk"

Six years and six albums in, Rihanna has truly mastered dance Pop (despite the fact that she's never shown a talent for dancing on stage, apart from gyrating). On the M.I.A.-like "You Da One," she takes you back to her island roots with reggae-baked beats, and taps into the electric bass of techno with the first single "We Found Love," "Where Have You Been," and "We All Want Love"—the last of which will be a stadium pleaser for sure.

But there seems to be too clashing themes on this album: one that heralds love as the be-all-and-end-all and another that champions sex as her reason-for-waking-up-in-the-morning. The Bahamian diva is actually credited on a few tracks as Robyn Fenty. And "We All Want Love" is interestingly one of the tracks she didn't co-write, presumably suggesting that she's not one of the collective "all." She's also absent on "Drunk on Love," where she proclaims that it's all that she needs. So it would seem that love isn't really on her agenda. No, Ms. Fenty seems far more interested in sex.

The most intensely sexual track on the album is "Cockiness (Love It)," which starts off:
Suck my COCKiness / Lick my PUSSuasion / Eat my poison / and swallow your pride down down / place my wants and needs / over your resistance / and then you come around / you come around / you come around / I want you to be my sex slave
and is later followed by her repeating "I love it when you eat it" about...a million times. I....pretty much just stopped listening after that. A tamer track is "Birthday Cake," which I can tolerate mainly because it's 1 minute and 20 seconds long and she says "Imma make you my bitch," which cracks me up. The theme continues with her request to have her legs in the clouds on "Roc Me Out," and with a list of all the places she plans to do it until her lipstick comes off on "Watch n' Learn."

However, not every song is worth talking about. The title track, which features Jay-Z and samples The Notorious B.I.G.'s "I Got a Story to Tell," fails to recapture the buzz of "Umbrella" or "Run This Town." And the only true ballad on the album, "Farewell," lacks the anguish required for the lyrics.

Ultimately, I would recommend buying this album if you're in need of a bombastic sex playlist OR a hardcore Rihanna fan, because this isn't for the faint of heart.

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