Thursday, November 11, 2010

Loud, Rihanna

I am not the best person to review pop music. I enjoy pop music. But, mostly, I view it as something trivial. Music for a good time. For dancing. Etc. I have never viewed pop music as something with much substance. Of course, there are those I cherish... Madonna and Lady Gaga. So, take what I say with a grain of salt. I'm pretty harsh.

Looking at the artwork for the album cover, one expects a softer side of Rihanna. After the dark and angry cover of the previous album, Rated R, I thought maybe the cover image was used to match the tone of the album. But, at the start, it feels I may be wrong. 'S&M' is the opening track. It is a kinky song filled with mediocre lyrics, but I love it. In fact, on first listen of the album, I listened to 'S&M' about ten times before I allowed myself to move on in the album. The song doesn't quite match the sexual charge of 'Rude Boy,' but it is a nice addition to the sexually charged sound of Rihanna.

The second song is 'What's My Name?' which is catchy enough. It gets in your head and is beautifully produced. But, it doesn't go far above a radio friendly mid-level hit. 'Cheers(Drink to That)' is a little too forced. And, her accent a little too heavy. I'm not sure I understand the reason for bringing out such a different piece of her voice. From here on out the album begins to fall apart. The songs become a little slower and a little melodramatic.

I have never enjoyed a Rihanna slow song. Not sure I really understand the point in most pop music ballads. If I want an emotionally heavy song, I want little production and a lot of big voice. I don't feel Rihanna is capable of this on her own. If she is, I haven't seen it. She tries on 'California King Bed' (which has a lovely first few lines, but quickly fades to cliche), 'Complicated,' and 'Fading.'

I am supposed to be excited about 'Raining Men.' Supposed to have some interest in this Nicki Minaj, but I don't. In fact, I've done my best to avoid her ever since her name has been thrown about music blogs. And, 'Raining Men' does not deliver something new. For the most part, just a series of ADHD sounds and distorted vocals. I am annoyed before the song is over.

'Skin' and 'Only Girl(In the World)' are the only other rewarding tracks on the album. So, to be honest, I really only enjoy Rihanna when she's singing about sex or there's a dance beat involved.


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