Sunday, January 19, 2014

Talk That Talk | Rihanna

REWIND REVIEW (2011)


★★★☆☆


Apparently Rihanna wasn't kidding when she said "that Rihanna reign just won't let up," because she kept pumping out albums a few years ago and tried to stay at the top of the pop music game. Although her singles kept lighting up on the Billboard Hot 100, her albums keep feeling a bit lukewarm.

I had boycotted the annual Rihanna album releases beginning with Loud because at that point it looked like she was starting to get desperate. I mean, sure, I liked a few of the singles being spawned from the album, but I definitely did not want to throw $13.99 at Rihanna for doing almost nothing. However, for $5.00 on sale during Black Friday? I'll take it (and Unapologetic, as well).

My main motivation behind taking the final jump and finally purchasing Talk That Talk came from one of the album's most popular singles, "Where Have You Been." The fact of the matter is that it is amazing. The production of the song was handled by Dr. Luke, Cirkut, and Calvin Harris, and the battle between the sounds of Dr. Luke and Harris make the song perfect. Plus, in the song, Rihanna's voice is the strongest I've ever heard it. The loud "Are you hiding from me, yeah? / Somewhere in the crowd" and "Where have you been?" belts cut through listeners like a sharp knife and draws them to pay close attention.

Sadly, "Where Have You Been" was slightly overshadowed by the album's lead single, "We Found Love." It reached successful heights around the globe, but I'm still not sure how it happened. Frankly, the song is a repetitive piece of trash. Calvin Harris has made some great tracks (please see: "Sweet Nothing," "I Need Your Love," the previously-mentioned "Where Have You Been,") but this one just doesn't cut it. And lyrically, the song is almost a dirge: "We found love in a hopeless place / We found love in a hopeless place / We found love in a hopeless place / We found love in a hopeless place / We found love in a hopeless place." Like, seriously girl, we get it.

"You da One" aims for the rhythmic and urban radio jugular, with a handful of reggae sounds, which all break into a quick electronic bridge before snapping back into the chorus towards the end of the song. Lyrically, it's definitely no where near a masterpiece (Well, none of the songs on this album are, but this one's pretty bad... I mean, the non-existent word "da" is in the title, so that should set off some alarms), but overall it sounds really relaxed and is definitely likable. 

I can't let this review slide away with mentioning "Cockiness (Love It)" either... Upon my first listen, I was completely stunned to hear "Suck my cockiness, lick my persuasion" open the song. My first thought? Oh my gosh that's disgusting! My second thought? Holy crap, that's really clever! The song's got a great beat to it, but most of the lyrics are still pretty raunchy: "I love, I love it, I love it when you eat it" and "I want you to be my sex slave / Anything that I desire." I must say, though, that those opening lines get me laughing every time...

The rest of the album, sadly yet unexpectedly, falls flat. Once "Birthday Cake" ends, I feel like the rest of the album just kind of blends together. "We All Want Love" "Roc Me Out" and "Watch N' Learn" just... don't have the spark it takes. "Farewell" is a prettier ballad, but it's shoved behind all of the boring tracks as the light at the end of the tunnel. Even with "Farewell" to save it, the latter half of the album is just boring when compared to the alright tracks on the first part.

Talk That Talk had a handful of catchy songs on it and could have been a solid piece of work if some of the rotten tomatoes were picked out of the bunch. In fact, if Unapologetic and Talk That Talk were solidified into one album full of hits, it would be a great Rihanna album. However, Rihanna's been going for quantity over quality so this is what we've ended up with. I'm going to continue to ignore parts of the album, but I can assure you that "Where Have You Been" and "Talk That Talk" will be on replay for a while.

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