Rihanna – Unapologetic

November 16, 2012 at 8:34 PM | Posted in Rihanna | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Rihanna – Unapologetic

1. Phresh Out The Runway
2. Diamonds
3. Numb (feat. Eminem)
4. Pour It Up
5. Loveeeeeee Song (feat. Future)
6. Jump
7. Right Now (feat. David Guetta)
8. What Now
9. Stay (feat. Mikky Ekko)
10. Nobody’s Business (feat. Chris Brown)
11. Love Without Tragedy / Mother Mary
12. Get It Over With
13. No Love Allowed
14. Lost In Paradise

♦ ♦ ♦

Unapologetic is the seventh studio album by Barbadian singer Rihanna, released on November 19, 2012. The album’s lead single Diamonds made its premiere on iHeartRadio on September 26. After its release, the song has reached number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.

Phresh Out The Runway already blasts through your speakers with a hard hiphop sound which is pretty fly, I must admit. It’s easily one of the most agressive hiphop tracks Riri ever did, she even semi-raps some of her lyrics (and there’s a lot of swearing involved). How could this have been produced by David Guetta…? I think this is one of those typical tracks that has to grow on me since it’s a lot to take in right now, but I’m sure I’ll appreciate some time in the future.

I’m actually pretty glad Diamonds is the next track since it drew my attention from the first time I heard it playing on the radio. It’s a midtempo track that’s a complete 180 from Phresh Out The Runway with a more 80s pop/soul backbeat sound and synths. Another thing I noticed is the theme of the lyrics, which is love instead of a relationship gone wrong. Good to hear that Rihanna can still turn out a happy and uplifting song, she really needed this.

Numb (feat. Eminem) had quite a weird opening and that strange sound keeps playing in the background throughout the song. After a refreshing light pop sound, Rihanna goes right back to the ‘G’ side of herself with another hiphop heavy track and although I like hiphop most of the time, I just can’t dig this since there’s no flow in the track. Eminem easily finds his way into the track, but it doesn’t get any better. I’m not really into this one tbh.

So it appears this entire album is probably going to be more heavy on the hiphop sound that Riri’s previous albums, since Pour It Up is another track with a hiphop flavor through the heavy beats and bass, Rihanna’s singing/semi-rapping and lots of handclaps. This wasn’t just short, it was also very repetitious and as generic as hell. I can’t even. I had hoped this would be like a Drink To That Part II or something, but oh well…

Loveeeeeee Song (feat. Future), with its weird title, is probably what comes closest to a ballad at this point. I don’t even know who this Future guy is, but he doesn’t really add something to the track. I must say it’s better than some previous tracks in some ways, but other than that I’m disappointed again. The electric guitar solo near the end was a great and unexpected addition, but Riri doesn’t even have many parts, Future runs the show here, and it’s repetitious again.

Just what I expected, only better. Jump is actually a song that is not typically something that I like since it’s very heavy on synths, hiphop and dubstep altogether (yep, a pretty hot mess indeed) but it actually works! And ofcourse, this song is all about sex again (‘ If you want it, let’s do it // Riding my pony // My saddle is ready // Come and jump on it‘). There’s some uncredited male somewhere in the track and he does a good job, adding something to the track, but it would’ve worked fine without him too. Nice track.

Right Now (feat. David Guetta) features that typical David Guetta sound that immediately adds another dimension to the first half of the album. Although I’m definitely not a dance fan and I don’t particularly like Guetta’s music, right now I can appreciate it a little more because of some missteps earlier on the album. It stays in your head easily, especially the chorus and I must say the synths are rather catchy. Not my favorite, but well excecuted.

So they say the second half is ballad-orientated. Let’s have a listen. Yep, What Now starts off with a soothing and lovely piano melody which is soon accompanied by a soft beat in the background. That soft beat gets much heavier in the chorus, a bit like soft dubstep, but it all works fine together and I’m surprised that this is such a nice track. For the first real ballad (with some aggressive touches ofcourse, like in the form of an amazing electric guitar <3), it’s also one of the few tracks that I really LIKE.

Another artist I don’t know, who the fudge is Mikky Ekko…? Stay (feat. Mikky Ekko) is another ballad track, and it’s a real ballad this time since there are no heavy elements, just piano and guitar. Mikky has beautiful vocals for a guy, and his vocals blend very well with Rihanna’s. It’s good to have such a nice and intimate ballad at this point, it’s still not Rihanna’s best but it’s pretty indeed.

Nobody’s Business (feat. Chris Brown) features quite a fresh pop sound, and ofcourse it’s heavily inspired by Michael Jackson’s amazing track The Way You Make Me Feel. I’m a little bit on the fence with the whole ‘featuring Chris Brown’ part and some of the lyrics (‘You’ll always be mine // Sing it to the world‘), if you know what I mean, especially because of recent developments, but whatever. History or not, Chris still has a nice voice and he and Riri made this a very enjoyable and happy song (I love those cute little piano notes in the background, haha).

The longest track on the album at close to seven minutes, Love Without Tragedy / Mother Mary continues the pop sound with a very good sound to it, pretty unusual for Rihanna. It’s just that there’s a weird transition between the two parts, which are actually two completely different songs. Of the two, Mother Mary is the best with its lovely keyboard sound, light piano notes and R&B beat in the background. Yes, the lyrics are pretty melancholic, but I don’t really mind that part. Decent track.

Damn this second half really is ballad heavy, Get It Over With is another one but then again I immediately notice it has quite a unique sound. Not only on this album but in Riri’s entire discography. I get Michael Jackson vibes from this song with just some strings and a soft smooth beat, but then again Michael’s songs were always memorable and catchy and sadly this track isn’t. It’s nice Rihanna got in touch with this side of herself, but it doesn’t have a highlight. Just get it over with *bad punch*

OMG really… Reggae…? No Love Allowed is like Man Down Part II, since it features about the same sound and Rihanna is using that weird accent of hers again which I don’t really like. Oh, and then you have the lyrics, they also bear some kind of resemblance to the lyrics of Man Down. I like the fact that it’s the introduction of another genre on the album, but I’ve never heard such an empty reggae song in my entire life.

Lost In Paradise has a nice arrangement that mixes all kinds of genres together, mostly dubstep and R&B though, and I really need this track to be good. There are definitely some good elements here, like I said there’s the music, which is very versatile, and the lyrics aren’t that bad either. If I’m not too critical, I think I can dig this track after giving it a couple of listens since I really like the dubstep parts here.

Let’s just face it. This album is Rihanna’s worst to date. I’m sorry Rihanna fans, I know how you all go crazy over the album, claiming it’s her best yet and that it’s like Rated R, but I didn’t like Rated R either. In fact, I start to like Rihanna’s music less and less with every release and I had hoped this album would change that, and it only made it worse. She used to be one of my favorite singers, and now she just fell off her pedestal. Hard. Like a brick. Okay.. okay.. there are some good songs on this album too. They just didn’t impress me all that much, neither of the songs on this album are big hits.

Favorite tracks: Diamonds | Jump | What Now | Stay (feat. Mikky Ekko) | Nobody’s Business (feat. Chris Brown) | Lost In Paradise

OVERALL RATING

2 stars

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