Barbadian beaut's sixth studio album is on general release now.
What better place to start than Rihanna. As a self-confessed fangirl, while she tours the country, her new album suffices to satisfy my longings to see her live, for now. Is it any good?
Recently released 'You da One' (thought it sounded familliar) opens the eleven strong track-listing, setting the scene for mid-tempo, Caribbean cruising with dubstep influences making themselves known half way through. By the time the second track, entitled 'Where Have You Been' has a chance to unfold, its clear that Talk That Talk fancies itself as an all singing, all dancing, clubbers compilation, complete with mandatory ai ai aiiis. The lyrics of 'Where Have You Been' serenade over a generic electro beat with a heavier-than-we're-used-to-for-Rihanna's-standards bass line defining the penultimate quarter, fading out to remind us of her stripped back, soulful self.
Which paves the way for the lead single 'We Found Love'. If there's anyone to pull you out of your somber song habits- Calvin Harris be that man (or David Guetta but she's been there, done that). What can only be described as disco-ecstasy, 'We Found Love' is an instantaneous pick me up, begging for your dancing shoes to be danced in. I defy you to not so much as to tap your feet. Granted impossible. The accompanying visuals of 80's tearaways in denim and dms were enough, in themselves, to get my vote on this one.
Track by track, the album's premise becomes more obvious. If you haven't guessed yet, Talk That Talk, is Rihanna's two fingers up to tormented lovers previous. The disguised innuendos of 'Cockiness (Love it)' (the initial piano strokes are deceiving) are juxtapositioned next to Jay-Z's cameo appearance on title track, 'Talk That Talk' which transports Rihanna back to her roots; signature wailing over token, reggae drums coupled with affirmative, ghetto 'yeahs'.
'Birthday Cake' ain't quite up to the "go shortee, it's ya birthday" a la 50 Cent standard that I was genuinely expecting but on hearing the opening, guitar riffs of 'We All Want Love', 'Birthday Cake' is a welcome interlude, especially, after being told to "suck my cockiness, lick my persuasion" in 'Cockiness (Love it)'. Rihanna rectifies this temporary, rude boi return on reverting to her penchant for softer, acoustic tones and roaring sing-alongs in the form of 'We All Want Love'. 'Drunk On Love' confirms that aforementioned demons from a particular, previous relationship have been everlastingly, ousted. I couldn't be happier for her.
The lyrics of 'Roc Me Out' and 'Watch n' Learn' offer further suggestion that Rihanna is more than ready to introduce the next potential suitor to her life via clattering synths and bouncing, hip-hop melodies, respectively.
The rapturous tones of 'Farewell' offer an appropriate conclusion to all that have come before it. Reminding you of what lured you in to listen in the first place; the Barbadian beauty's, unadulterated charisma.
Admittedly, there were a few occasions where I actually forgot it was Riri I was listening to; backdrop echoes of euro-friendly thumps had her mistaken for your average Jo(lene?) female, club-song singer. It is evident that she has taken a temporary hiatus from song lyricing to focus her efforts on music making. The resultant product is Talk That Talk; a forgivably catchy, unmistakeably, toe-tap inducing, eclectic rebellion.
The press seem to be happy that she's moved away from the darker themes that defined her previous two albums. I dare say, I prefer the former. I haven't been blown away nor disappointed. It may be a grower. 'We found Love' is a fucking good time tune though, minus Agy D. There is no doubting that. Kudos to the production team for making her happy dance once again.
There you have it. I have subscribed myself to music reviewing. Don't know about you but I quite liked it. Stick to the day job? Oh, isn't that ironic..