Rihanna and camp know how to make a hit. Ever since her first album came out in 2005, Rihanna has put out a new record every year since with the exception of 2008 when instead it was a re-release of Good Girl Gone Bad (retitled: Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded) which contained the new hits Take A Bow and Disturbia. December 2011 saw the release of her sixth record Talk That Talk.
With Talk That Talk, she continues her upward trend of improving upon herself. Immediately with one listen, this record is sonically superior to last year’s Loud(read my review here), with more uptempo tracks and a varied selection of songs. Of course, having the list of producers she had for this record are the reason for this sound. Only two tracks from super-hitmaker Dr. Luke to make room for a few from Stargate and of course the man behind the smash We Found Love, Calvin Harris. Whatever happens, this album was made to produce hits and that’s what’s going to happen.
We Found Love opened Rihanna to a new sound featuring house and dance influences that is en route to becoming her biggest hit to date. The entire album follows suit to the progression of We Found Love. Strong start to a very promising recording but once it takes off, it doesn’t really go anywhere beyond that. Not quite disappointing but you feel set up, wanting more but not getting anywhere.
Songs like Cockiness (Love It) takes a page from Katy Perry‘s Peacock with its not-at-all-subtle sexual innuendo but it is undeniably the hottest song on the album. Produced by Bangladesh, the guy behind some of the grittiest hip hop hits in the last decade including What’s Your Fantasy (Ludacris), A Milli (Lil’Wayne) and Did It On’Em (Nicki Minaj), Cockiness is Rihanna finally oozing personality and owning this song rather than singing facelessly, which nearly all of her prior songs have been – very little personality. And Birthday Cake brings her back for seconds, even at just one minute eighteen seconds.
Much of Talk The Talk is sitting at the forefront of the coming year of music based on what 2011 brought. You Da One continues with pop’s current obsession with dub-step, leading the way for what might be the next era in mainstream music as electro-pop and dance takes its final breaths for this era while songs like Where Have You Been and Roc Me Out are safe bets for hit-status should the music landscape change direction. Even the title track is reminiscent of Nicole Scherzinger‘s Right There from last year, should radio suddenly decide that’s more of what they want. All bases are covered and Rihanna is going to have another great year.
Talk That Talk definitely has more hits than forgettable tracks and that’s sure to keep Rihanna going for the next twelve or so months until the next album. Even if the album itself continues on the Rihanna trend of not turning into a blockbuster hit (she has yet to have a #1 album), the songs themselves will continue to define pop music for another year (We Found Love is her 11th #1 single).
1. You Da One
2. Where Have You Been
3. We Found Love [featuring Calvin Harris]
4. Talk That Talk [featuring Jay-Z]
5. Cockiness (Love It)
6. Birthday Cake
7. We All Want Love
8. Drunk On Love
9. Roc Me Out
10. Watch N’ Learn