Rihanna – Loud

Rihanna - Loud

The cover for Loud by Rihanna

Rihanna is giving Mariah Carey a run for her money with the number of Hot 100 #1s she’s attained in the last five years. Even though Loud only just hit stores in the middle of November, it already boasts two of Rihanna’s nine chart-toppers. (For comparison’s sake, Mariah Carey has earned 18 #1s since 1990).

The second #1, Only Girl (In The World), is a straight-up dance anthem while the first What’s My Name is more attune to Rihanna’s style of R&B-flavoured pop with Drake featured for good measure.
After the overexposed Chris Brown incident and the reflective album that followed in 2009, Rihanna has turned to a more sexual theme in her songs on this record. The first track S&M belts out the line “sticks and stones may break my bones/but whips and chains excite me” and in the entirety of Skin, “don’t hold back/baby I like it rough.”

Being from Barbados, Rihanna hasn’t been in-touch with influences of the island/dancehall much over most of her previous records but it is present on Loud, more noticibly in Cheers (Drink To That) and Raining Men. Cheers (Drink To That) is a mid-tempo bonfire on a beach song that interpolates Avril Lavigne‘s I’m With You, however the loop is too prominent and steals attention from the song itself, leaving distaste. Fading borrows a loop from Enya‘s One By One but does so much more pleasantly resulting in what sounds like a natural fit. On the flipside, borrowed loops aside, Fading isn’t as memorable.

The final track on Loud reprises one of the biggest hits of the year with Eminem but the rolls reversed. Love The Way You Lie (Part II) is a much more stripped down recording from the female perspective with a single rap verse from Eminem. Hearing the hook following the verses in Part II sounds awkward and forced, as if they were written as an afterthought to the chorus which is the centre of attention for this recording.

Two of the album’s most notable tracks come in the middle. California King Bed is a pop/rock song in the vain of Fergie meets Michelle Branch. It’s the only track on Loud that isn’t supported by a heavy beat so its inclusion on the record seems out of place, especially since it would have been a perfect fit on TV and radio in the mid-2000s. Man Down is an island-flavoured recording that depicts an altercation that mistakenly ends in the murder of a man and the realization that now you’re a criminal. The song contains a police siren to accompany the contagious flow of the music and Rihanna’s performance is flawless, perhaps the best song she’s ever recorded.

Rihanna’s vocal abilities continue to get better with each record and Loud is no different. However, the album as a whole isn’t as memorable as some of her previous hits would indicate and while there’s growth (and the song Man Down), it doesn’t make up for the less-than-impressive songs. Two Stars

Tracklisting
1. S&M
2. What’s My Name [featuring Drake]
3. Cheers (Drink To That)
4. Fading
5. Only Girl (In The World)
6. California King Bed
7. Man Down
8. Raining Men [featuring Nicki Minaj]
9. Complicated
10. Skin
11. Love The Way You Lie (Part II) [featuring Eminem]

2 comments

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  • Disagree… this is my second Rihanna purchase. The only other Rihanna album I have is good girl gone bad. I did hear Rated R and I hated most of the tracks besides Russian Roulette. I woud have to say I love S&M. It is a great dance track and it is something we don’t hear fro most artist but just like we have been learning Rihanna likes being beaten and well ever since Love the way we lie We know she likes being burned too. She LOVES it LOL. But I love How you recignise how every song has a different style and a different sound. I think that is what makes this album so awesome!!! There is a mix of dance and hip hop and mid tempo songs like Cheers. Of course I love that song but I am bias because I love Avril Lavigne but I am sure it will be a #1!!

    I would have to say that Only Girl in the world is the most annoying. I don’t mind the beat but it is just what I would call a silly song and I guess I just find it annoyig when She is
    screaming “LIKE I’M THE ONLY GIRL IN THE WORLD” I think they assumed the gays would eat that song up…and of course they did. Except me.

    I do Love California King Bed. You are right. It does sound a bit like one of Fergie’s songs. Not sure what one. But i didn’t think of that till now. I Think this Album has a lot of potential for having lots of releases and great success.

    I went into this album hoping it woud be good and thinking it would suck but honestly I love it. I am very happy with it. Even with Love the way we lie 2. It is such a fun and easy song to sing . I actually can see why you think that they added in lyrics as just an after thought but They dida good job. I think my favorite part is just before Eminems part comes on her voice is so sweet ” till the walla are going up in smoke with allllllllllll our memorieeeeeeeeees ”

    anyway thats all i got.

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