Tag Archive: Rihanna


For those who cared and got their copy of Talk That Talk, Rihanna’s sixth studio album, or at least bothered to download, know the amazing unfinished addition of ‘Birthday Cake’, credited as a mere interlude.

The all-too-short track was a highlight from the very beginning, fans ranted in their network sites and even tweeted producer The-Dream, requesting the song to be made full length.

After serious consideration, the complete version of ‘Cake’ was slated to be made available on Rihanna’s site and digital retailers between Feb. 16th and Feb. 20th (the singer’s actual birthday), and a male feature was confirmed. Around this time, rumors emerged appointing Chris Brown as the alleged feature, who physically assaulted Rihanna three years ago on the eve of the Grammy Awards; he was issued a restriction order, and she became a spokesperson against domestic abuse.

All the rumors turned out to be TRUE, Brown features on ‘Cake’, and as if it weren’t enough, Rihanna also features in the official Remix of Brown’s current single ‘Turn Up The Music’.

‘Birthday Cake’ is indeed amazing, but Brown’s verses taint it to the point one can’t avoid but associate his lyrics to knocking her down again. While she drops a couple I miss you’s and a ‘I love you baby’ in her respective verse for ‘Turn Up The Music’. If they are getting back together or not, publicity stunt or mere act of forgiveness, this is not looking good for her.

As good as the song alone may be (minus Brown), it is going too far. Roughly two years ago before Rated R kicked off, Rihanna fought tears to Diane Sawyer, in a tell-all interview claiming,

When I realized that my selfish decision for love could result into some young girl getting killed, I could not be easy with that. I couldn’t be held responsible for telling them to go back. Even if Chris never hit me again, who’s to say their boyfriend won’t kill these girls. These are young girls and … I just didn’t realize how much of an impact I had on these girls live until that happened. It was a wake-up call for me – big time.

And now this happens; one of the biggest hypocritical acts in the industry yet. If Rihanna wanted to prove how bad she is, she has done it, but she has also proven the idiot she is as well. What she is delivering is not only an ode to cunnilingus ‘hidden’ in not so subtle cake references, but is also putting on a billboard that going back to an abuser and putting your life at risk is okay, acceptable and totally normal. Whether she likes it or not, she became a poster-girl for the matter, and a model for young girls out there who went through the same.

Brown hasn’t shown signs of change, instead he has been bashing ‘haters’ in his Twitter account, making offensive remarks, and bidding his Grammy as the ‘ultimate fuck off’.

Either Rihanna wasn’t beaten enough, or needs to go over her post-assault shots, and re-watch her  20/20 interview; or hell, maybe the lyrics to ‘S&M’ couldn’t make any more sense than they do now,

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me’.

Welcome the new Tina & Ike Turner.

C.Perez

Take a look at how ‘well-received’ Rihanna’s latest (which isn’t even in her actual album to begin with) has been; click to enlarge.

It seems it was yesterday Rihanna released her billionth single off Loud, now it is a whole new album preceded by the basic/half cooked ‘We Found Love’.

Surprisingly, the video is not as half cooked, and basic as the song in itself, neither  the everyday packed club themed visual, but is instead a very good graphic metaphor of the deterioration of a relationship, compared to that of the self-destruction of drugs.

With a Chris Brown look-a-like, and a similar instance to that of what happened previously to the 2009 Grammy’s, Rihanna seems to be tackling the bittersweet journey she underwent with Brown.

The video opens with a British-accent delivered monologue about looking back and trying to get the ‘good’. She sings in a solitary corner with projected clouds, as her past relationship is recounted in remembrances, such as trashing a supermarket, rough sex, dancing in an open field, smoking into each other’s mouth, and extensive arguing.

It is worth noting the beats of the song match the video sequences, and some pretty rad effects incorporate in the course of the visual; a consuming cigarette in varying color hues, dilated pupil close-ups, and the high energy scenes complementing the fast paced rhythm of the segment before the chorus.

Even though it is not a dance-driven video, Rihanna gets away with it. First, because the song is not build for proper choreography due to its overtly repetitive pattern,  and second, because for once it seemed to carry a message, instead of scenes thrown for shock value.

If this video delivers anything else than how her romance died out, it also communicates how much she LOVES to smoke. For once we can say Melina really thought outside of the box; great shooting angles, and on-point illumination.

This is Rihanna’s ‘Teenage Dream’ gone beyond corrupted and out of context. It is raw, and makes the song tolerable.

Probably her best yet.

★★★★

C.Perez

Watch ‘We Found Love’ below!

54th Grammy Awards recap

It is hard to sit through an entire award show, except for relevant performances, but this year the Grammy’s have given the ceremony a very consistent line-up that had you stuck on your seat.

Opening with a prayer in honor of the late Whitney Houston, as everyone in the building bowed their heads, the show went on with show-stopping performances, mild tributes and shout-outs to Whitney throughout. It was overall a very gripping event.  Adele, Katy Perry, Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars, Paul McCartney, Rihanna, Coldplay, The Band Perry, Jennifer Hudson, Blake Shelton, The Beach Boys themselves, and many more all under one roof, was definitely a moment to remember.

As it was predicted, and pretty much a given, Adele swept the entire night nabbing the six Grammy’s she was nominated for (including Album of The Year), and deservedly so. The Foo Fighters were not too far off, taking a total of five for Best Long Form Video, Best Rock performance, Best Hard Rock/Metal performance, Best Rock Song, and Best Rock album respectively. Kanye West followed with four, and Skrillex with three. The flawless Bon Iver scored their first two Grammys for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album; even Chris Brown won one for Best R&B album (Odd, since F.A.M.E. is predominantly filled with dance cuts).

Bruno Mars brought the house down with ‘Runaway Baby’. With an old fashioned lit marquis and all, Mars shut it down with his vocals and stage presence. Alicia Keys and  Bonnie Reitt performed in honor of the late Etta James, along piano keys and acoustic guitar; their voices matched perfectly.

‘Don’t You Wanna Stay’ was impeccably sung on behalf of Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, who took in Aldean’s line when his microphone went off; beautiful duet. Chris Brown busted a move for a medley of ‘Turn Up The Music’ and ‘Beautiful People’, it was a gymnastics spectacle but nothing too impressive; usual Brown. The Foo Fighters proved rock is not dead with ‘Walk’; felt like 1990 all of a sudden.

Rihanna reworked the introduction to her smash ‘We Found Love’ and struggled to keep her pitch, she ultimately could (with help of a backing track), and for once, showed energy on the stage dancing alongside a dance troupe. She later joined Chris Martin for an acoustic performance of ‘Princess of China’; Rihanna outdid Martin, as he sounded like a howling/dying animal. ‘Paradise’ was no different, Martin’s vocals sounded exhausted; the stage set-up was brilliant though.

The night went on in a cute note with Taylor Swift, who performed ‘Mean’ and seemed genuinely humbled by the standing ovation she received at the end of her number. This girl has come a long way, it was amazing to see her remaining so down to earth, at an event of this magnitude.

Ironic how Katy Perry alluded to her wedding, and dedicated her performance to all the lovers in last year’s ceremony, just to now slam Russell Brand on the face.  She misleadingly initiated ‘E.T.’, before a sound intermission allowed a rapid costume change, so she could deliver the bruised opening lines of ‘Part Of Me’, ensued by the pulsating riffs of the song, while she descended on stage (‘Part Of Me’ precedes her album re-release). Katy looked triumphant up there in a warrior-esque latex ensemble, breaking glass, spinning on her feet, and melting ice sculptures. She tore that stage, build it up again, just to bring it down on fire. It was a powerful performance, very heart-felt and filled with passion; it must’ve been cathartic and therapeutic all at once for Perry. It was major; standing O.

Maroon 5 and Foster The People honored the legendary Beach Boys; it is worth mentioned the lead vocalist of the latter band, seemed awkward the entire time. The Beach Boys, after years of silence, still got it.

Adele returned to the stage to grace everyone with ‘Rolling In The Deep’. Post having surgery and sounding like this, only Adele could; she was on perfect key. Jennifer Hudson was given the honor of farewelling Whitney with her trademark ‘I Will Always Love You’; she was breathtaking, but kept her full range on low key.

Despite the outstanding performances on behalf of the aforementioned, there was Nicki Minaj, making her best Lady GaGa impersonation, as she ‘exorcised’ herself in a horrendous rap beat, that was more yelling and ridiculous eye popping than anything else. The religious allusions were unnecessary and offensive. The show could’ve done without. In what was another mess, was the mash up of David Guetta, Dead Mouse, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown performing ‘Rope’. All the strobe light, neon and mind numbing beats were out of place.

In its whole, the Grammy’s outdid themselves for once. And kudos for putting something up for Whitney Houston on short notice.

Looking forward to next year!

C.Perez

Below, a list of this year’s Grammy’s winners.

Album of the Year: Adele – 21
Record of the Year: Adele – Rolling in the Deep
Song of the Year: Adele – Rolling in the Deep
Best New Artist: Bon Iver
Best Pop Solo Performance: Adele – Someone Like You
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse – Body And Soul
Best Pop Instrumental Album: Booker T. Jones – The Road From Memphis
Best Pop Vocal Album: Adele – 21
Best Dance Recording: Skrillex – Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites
Best Dance/Electronica Album: Skrillex – Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Tony Bennett & Various Artists – Duets II
Best Rock Performance: Foo Fighters – Walk
Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance: Foo Fighters – White Limo
Best Rock Song: Foo Fighters – Walk
Best Rock Album: Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
Best Alternative Music Album: Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Best R&B Performance: Corinne Bailey Rae – In This Love
Best Traditional R&B Performance: Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona – Fool For You
Best R&B Song: Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona – Fool For You
Best R&B Album: Chris Brown – F.A.M.E.
Best Rap Performance: Kanye West & Jay-Z – Otis
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie – All Of The Lights
Best Rap Song: Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie – All Of The Lights
Best Rap Album: Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Best Country Solo Performance: Taylor Swift – Mean
Best Country Duo/Group Performance: The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
Best Country Song: Taylor Swift – Mean
Best Country Album: Lady Antebellum – Own The Night
Best Short Form Music Video: Adele – Rolling in the Deep
Best Long Form Music Video: Foo Fighters – Back And Forth

While ‘We Found Love’ proves to be a smash success atop the charts, Rihanna has completed her sixth studio album Talk That Talk and is ready to move on with single number two, choosing ‘You Da One’, to be sent to airwaves tomorrow Friday, with an iTunes release this Sunday, Nov. 13th.

‘You Da One’ is a stop-and-go slapping drum number with Rihanna’s staple accent throughout. It’s very street, and a swell soft blend of R&B and hip-hop, with a whipping beat; production accredited to hit-maker Dr. Luke.

Over the years Rihanna has established herself as a bonafide act and settled her reign in pop music, and apparently Talk That Talk reflects it, as it is sounding like an explosion of her last two records taken to higher ground in the volume and tempo department.

Basing oneself on the album snippets, the new record seems to be a step-up in Rihanna’s game, if Loud was indeed supposed to be ‘loud’ and hard-edge but came across as bland in the end, Talk That Talk won’t divide anyone’s opinion and won’t fall short (unless you emphasize disappointment to discover the amazing ‘Birthday Cake’ is just a one minute-eighteen seconds track), since it is sounding sex-drenched, sledgehammering, a little hip-hop with underlaid guitar strums, and island dub-step all at once. She is definitely growing and growing each time, stating versatility with ease.

VH1 has got an exclusive listen to the soon to hit the shelves album, and they are claiming it to be the most sexual record to be put out since Madonna’s Erotica. As far as the track previews go, they don’t sound much of a blush yet, but one will just have to wait and properly judge once the real thing is out, and until then fans will be the ones to decide if Rihanna has made the porn soundtrack to pop music.

The new album features production on behalf of Stargate, Bangladesh, Hit-Boy, Big Juice, The-Dream, Calvin Harris and Dr. Luke, with major writing credits to Ester Dean and Rihanna herself. Are you Rih-dy?

C.Perez

Preview ‘You Da One’ below.

Talk That Talk out November 21st.

 

Just when everyone thought Rihanna was either going all Rated R or dancey on her fans, turns out she furthers her electronic beats from Loud and takes them to straight dance gone overseas.

‘We Found Love’ serves as the first offering of her upcoming sixth release, and draws prominent influences from the European dance floors, with a 90’s beat induced by a background electric keyboard.

In terms of production and lyrical structure, it is kept simple, short and sweet. Her vocal delivery is smooth and she manages to keep the pitch, the lyrics are poor and mindless, but the song carries a consistent trance throughout the three and a half minutes it lasts. It sounds very La Bouche (a popular 90’s techno duo); ‘We Found Love’ could’ve perfectly fit then in their Sweet Dreams album.

In its whole, the track is good, the only problem is it has the exact same build-up or ascending beat as every other Euro-dance song does, which makes it predictable. It technically sounds like a looped version of a fragment of the actual song, and at times as if it were the remix of a ballad, since the song in itself is a ballad disguised in electric production; it doesn’t go anywhere, it is as if it just were there, keeping on going on.

It lacks a chorus, but does have its hook where she repeats she ‘Fell in love in a hopeless place’ (If one knows that line, one pretty much has the entire song covered). It is catchy, but it feels like something is missing, and makes one wonder if its too early for a new single, if not too rushed. It doesn’t sound half-assed, because production-wise it could swerve on the edge of brilliance for its simplicity, but it could easily be the most lacking-in-lyrics song released all year as well; the lazy lyricism from ‘S&M’ stuck on this one.

It is generic and mildly forgettable, but it will surely generate jumping madness in clubs around the globe.

★★★

C.Perez

Download ‘We Found Love’

Look out for Rihanna’s sixth album coming late in the fall.

Rihanna has not showed signs of stopping ever since she debuted in 2005 with Music of The Sun, followed by a nearly eight-month period until her follow-up, and 2011 is no different; it is no surprise the girl releases music as she breathes.

She broke the news via Twitter, by announcing a new single is on the way, and also confirmed a brand new album scheduled for the Fall. This marks Rihanna’s sixth release, on the toes of Loud, which happens to currently have a Top 10 charting single in the Billboart Hot 100 with ‘Cheers (Drink To That)’.

The new single is reported to be titled ‘We Found Love’,  and produced by Calvin Harris (he also features in the track). It was initially set to hit airwaves October 11th, but  its date has been pushed forward to Thursday, Sept. 22nd. It is also enlisted to be performed live in Rihanna’s touring stint in South America, this September 23rd.

A Facebook application has been launched to unlock exclusive information regarding the upcoming musical project. The logos and overall design of the artwork reminisce the promotion for Rated R, combined with the dim-paint-brushed R present in promotion for Loud; could Rihanna be going back to a darker sound, in contrast to the much dancier beats she has endorsed as of recently? Or both?

Rihanna has proven her talent over the years, by stepping up her game in 2007 with Good Girl Gone Bad, and churning hit after a hit since then. Despite her nasal tone, Rihanna happens to possess that Je Nais Sais Quoi factor that keeps everyone interested, so one best believe this is a sure fire winner waiting to happen.

She may be pawned and predicted to suffer from overexposure just like Lady GaGa and Beyoncé due to this in the coming future, but mark these words: Notions will be changed once she blasts out the speakers.

C.Perez

Look forward to the upcoming record to be released in the last quarter of the year.

When one thinks of ways to get a song to the number one spot of the charts, one would think heavy promotion, a video release on the right timing, and heavy radio airplay resulting in digital sales, but Rihanna has added the remix treatment to the previously mentioned ways, as she reached out to Britney Spears to cut a couple lines for an ‘S&M’ remix and boom, it goes number one all of a sudden.

The ‘Rihmix’ is the exact same ‘S&M’, except it carries a huge ‘featuring’ with a ‘Britney Spears’ tagged along for enhancement. To be honest, the song should’ve been left as it was, not that Britney ruins it, at all, she just adds a little to it, but it just appears to be a forced act. Seductively Rihanna and Britney are toe-to-toe, but when it comes to the actual delivery, Britney’s vocals are not as ponderous as Rihanna’s, she just doesn’t seem to have reached the ‘energetic’ in it. Both sound great with their nasal tones, but there is something about the production that doesn’t feel right. The good thing about it, is the song in itself is very Britney-esque, but Britney takes the esque of it, since Spears’ verse is on perfect point for the track, it is short, yes, but very fitting and surprisingly, called for at least.

This would’ve been even more amazing, if only a real collab between these two would’ve been on the sketch book from the get-go, other than a copy and paste of vocals over the song’s original beat.

This really seemed like a desperate stunt on Rihanna’s side to keep the consecutive number ones coming. The only artist having consecutive number ones at this point is Katy Perry, who has amassed an impressive 4 consecutive #1 hits since the promotion for her sophomore album Teenage Dream began last year in June; its only clear who Rihanna wants to have running for her money. Perry first enlisted Kanye West to feature on her latest single ‘E.T.’, but it wasn’t done when ‘E.T.’ was on the 2nd position in the charts and seemingly doomed for a fall off.

★★★

C.Perez

Download ‘S&M (Rihmix)’

Rihanna was named the ‘next Britney Spears’ by the ignorant Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic band frontman and producer), and hey similarities in their careers are close but by no means is Rihanna a star in the caliber of Britney Spears, who’s sole flashed appearance equals ridiculous loads of money made. Rihanna is certainly a star, she just doesn’t reach as high; close if one will. A song like ‘S&M’ is very Britney-esque, and the video couldn’t be any more Britney as it gets.

Rihanna slaps the media and all the criticism she has been inflicted upon, ranging from personal attacks to the sound and style of her music. The video is very ‘Piece Of Me’, and very David LaChapelle at the same time, for similarities to his overall catalog of work. The feud between LaChapelle and Rihanna is not hot news, so that shall be left behind. The concept works mighty wonders for the song, which doesn’t go straight to the obvious but keeps it meshed with a kiss-off underlay to the paparazzo and the media. LaChapelle should consider it a homage, because it is so well put and shot, it makes his work be brought to lusher ground, since it is LaChapelle’s imagery blended with a huge amount of color and oozing jaw dropping sensual teasing. This is higher ground for Rihanna (and LaChapelle, if he only felt flattered rather than ripped off).

The video is eye trance and a spicy treat in its whole. Rihanna is laced on the floor pounding and making contort faces, she teases with a white whip while putting handfuls of pink candy in her mouth seductively, and goes even further as playing with an ice cream cone and slowly putting a peeled banana fellatiously in her mouth with a suggestively inviting stare; boys, doozy anyone? It is absolutely hot tamale.

Truth is no one can get enough of Rihanna, and this proves it; she has the media begging for more. Perez-Hilton’s appearance in the video comes across as unnecessary at first, but it validates Rihanna’s video argument against the media. It is funny how she even makes fun of herself and the whole Chris Brown issue, at the end by wearing band-aids, a black cross on her cheek, a smiley face on her left eye and a Rolling Stones lips sticker on. The frenetic or fast paced movement of the video is a great touch, and the symbolic imagery (even though obviously rehashed from LaChapelle) conveys where is Rihanna standing right now, and gives a piece of her mind as to how much the critics and tabloids affect her (if at all; she’s having a blast).

Rihanna is strikilingly good looking, and her physical feats are flaunted in here in latex body suits and short skimpy dresses, ‘censored’ tank tops exposing her mid-riff and low rider jeans; the video does her justice. The girl is glamorous to tears, and the dazzling red afro worn throughout gives the song the ‘Loud’ concept her record carries. It is a brilliant execution to a vociferating song as ‘S&M’ is, everything, from the styling, camera work to the colors is in perfect mold. If anything could top the colors and elating vibes from the Guetta featured ‘Who’s That Chick?’ video, ‘S&M’ is the answer.

★★★★★

C.Perez

Watch ‘S&M’ below!

With four albums under her belt, Rihanna has established herself as a major act in pop music. She was able to craft a very island sound in her debut, craft full pop in her sophomore, tinge at R&B pop in her third and explore a rock-R&B-pop hybrid in her fourth. Now Rihanna attempts electronic pop, while bringing in her Caribbean swag and throwing in R&B for measure in Loud.

Judging by its first singles, ‘Only Girl (In the World)’ and ‘What’s My Name?’, Loud may holler dance, up-tempo, upbeat and energetic, but the album isn’t as ‘loud’ as it claims itself to be. This does not mean it is not a fun pop record, on the contrary, it brings about a happier approach to Rihanna in comparison to the droning mood of Rated R, but some tracks seem a bit inconsistent with the alleged album concept and sound of the rest of the body of work.

The album kicks in with ‘S&M’ which does become the epitome of the record; it is energetic, unashamed, catchy and suggestive. Rihanna taunts about being laced, while she admits to loving the smell of sex nonchalantly. It is unrestrained and infectiously fun, it may be repetitive and poor in lyrical structure, but pop music isn’t about the substance anyway; it is a naughty solid cut.  The Drake featured ‘What’s My Name?’ follows; the song is amazing, point blank. It is catchy, danceable and sexy. Rihanna goes back to her Caribbean roots not only music-wise but her tone and accent are flaunted throughout. The synths and ‘Rude Boy’-like percussion are impossible to resist to. It is saucy, heated and filled with swagger.

Avril Lavigne’s ‘I’m With You’ sampled ‘Cheers (Drink To That)’ is a letdown; Lavigne’s interpolated segment is pointless and annoying. The song is supposed to be some sort of celebration, but turns out to be a snoozefest and a sloppy glass toast instead. It is unexciting, dreary, tedious and all its derivatives. The drunken-chanted chorus before the song ends is unoriginal and forced; Katy Perry did it first in Teenage Dream with the much successfully festive ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)’, which sounded appealing, and far superior. ‘Fading’ is a well delivered track both musically and vocally. The piano interspersion nods back to her Rated R cut ‘Cold Case Love’. It is a nice breakup kiss off. It can easily be related to letting go and overcoming the Chris Brown feud from the past two years, since she sarcastically waves goodbye and slaps in mocking ta-ta’s and so long’s before singing the chorus.

‘Only Girl (In the World)’ is a generic dance track, it is good, but it draws too much similarities to other tracks released in the same genre, for instance, David Guetta’s Akon assisted ‘Sexy Bitch’, it does have more tempo, it is catchier, and most importantly, it is indeed ‘loud’, but it isn’t anything one hasn’t heard before; it could be considered a distant cousin from Guetta’s aforementioned track. Despite similarities, it is not a downer, it is predominantly danceable and Rihanna is up there vocally; she is able to prolong her delivery and keeps it as thunderous possible.

‘California King Bed’ is Rihanna’s ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, where she sings about growing apart in a relationship. It follows an acoustic, more stripped down sound from the rest of the tracks in the album. Her voice sounds incredibly powerful in this one, and shows a side of Rihanna no one thought she could pull off. Her voice is unswervingly strong, and proves she has talent; she is no Whitney Houston in her early days, but she can work with what she has. The theme of the track seems out of place in the continuity of the album, in contrast to the proposed ones it finds itself amidst.

She gets her Bob Marley on in the stricly reggae ‘Man Down’, where she showcases her natural voice in a fantasy of shooting her man in Central Station. She breaks the song down in an emulation of bullets being shot; in the same vibe she introduced ‘Disturbia’. The Shontelle penned track is a sonic step-up for Rihanna and the production is iridescent for its creative underlay of police sirens. It sounds like this is her essence, meshed with anger and an unconventional innocence. ‘Raining Men’ is captivating and fierce with its eenie-meenie pre-chorus and it’s recurrent oh yeah yeah, oh oh’s. Nicki Minaj’s verses are on point, and she doesn’t go overboard like she usually does. The production is quirky, amusing and fresh. It may sound or draw comparisons to Beyoncé’s ‘Diva’ at certain parts, but this is definitely better. ‘Complicated’ is an ear-candy trance. Lyrically it follows a love reproach. It is a great take on dance pop; the beat is rushed and goes in line with the perceptible angst in the mood of the song.

‘Skin’ is a red-light lit room shocker. It sounds like the perfect abridging between Rated R and Loud, it is gritty and dark, but at the same time alluringly seductive and steamy. Her whispery vocal ability comes afloat in full, as she begins to sing a series of bed teasing connotations in a particular patterned tempo. It incorporates an incredible sex-influenced build up, in the sense the track sets a slow place at the beginning, teasing, inviting and placidly foreplaying, before it begins to gain momentum towards the bridge, as it reaches its climax and resolution, in the same way sex does.

Rihanna follows Alicia Keys’ footsteps in recording a continuation to a feature with ‘Love The Way You Lie (Part II)’, just like Keys did with Jay-Z’s ‘Empire State of Mind’. It is a great sequel to the original, lyrically it is more diverse and it’s pleasant to hear less Eminem on it. Rihanna’s vocals are vulnerable, but she manages to reach a strong point during the choruses. It is an odd addition and a waste of space of what could’ve been a newer song in the album track listing though.

Rihanna has grown emotionally, and the music certainly shows it. Loud is superior to her early releases, and sets a balance between Good Girl Gone Bad and Rated R, due to its serious undertones and brisk temperament. It is a pleasant listen, and the production is top notch, but some songs could’ve been louder. Instead of staying true to the title, her team apparently seems to have opted for lush mid-tempos to state talent credibility, not realizing they would make something inconsistent. It seems as if Rihanna started with an aim, but slowed her pace down in the middle of the musical race she got into while envisioning the concept for Loud; the first songs mislead the listener when it comes to the direction the album takes after the first half.

After listening to the album, one might conclude what Rihanna meant by loud might’ve been the range of her voice, because it sounds improved and stronger in comparison to how she started; her vocals are quite impressive in Loud considering her early standards. The album is excellent but its main flaw falls in it being too short; a couple additions wouldn’t have hurt, like the David Guetta produced ‘Who’s That Chick?’ for example, which seems to fulfill the purpose of the album more than most of the songs making the final cut.

Loud is good, but too all over the place; maybe a track listing rearrangement would’ve done it more justice. She gave a taste of where she is right now, hope next time she serves the main course without dosifiying it like she did throughout. The album does have its bang factor, just not the one listeners were introduced to and misled towards.

While Rated R proved how ‘bad’ and how ‘tough’ she could be, in Loud Rihanna proves her versatility; she also proves she gets better with each album, so the future for her looks bright.

★★★1/2

C.Perez

Rihanna has been related to several collabs, from Maroon 5, Ne-Yo, Nicki Minaj, Eminem, to Spaniard David Bisbal even, plus rumors linking her to Katy Perry for a song to be either for a Loud or Teenage Dream re-package.

But out of the blue, Rihanna broke some news earlier today as she announced an upcoming collaboration to be released, and to everyone’s surprise it was revealed to be no other than: Britney Spears.

They both subsequently tweeted each other, after Rihanna broke the news about an upcoming feature she would do, tweeting,

I got a #SEXY collabo comin your way supa dupa soon!!!! OH YEAH!!! By popular demand.

Its BRITNEY BITCH!!!! Britney Spears one of the biggest worldwide popstars! U gangsta #EPIC.

To what Spears replied,

You’re such a tease! I like it, like it…

You think they’re ready Ri Ri?

Don’t get too hyped over it just yet though, because the reason they are getting together is for a remix, or a ‘Rihmix’ (as Rihanna labeled it as) for her latest smash single ‘S&M’, which currently sits at the second spot of the Billboard Hot 100 charts, behind Katy Perry’s ‘E.T.’

A collaboration between these two would’ve been majorly interesting if it were a newly released track. Hopefully they will shoot a revamped video to validate their collaboration, because anyone can lay down vocals and paste them on an already recorded song. Besides, a newly released video of the two would sweep the headline flooding plagiarism allegations Rihanna received from David LaChapelle, after the stunning and colorful visuals for ‘S&M’ turned out almost identical to the director’s work.

‘S&M’ has been out for more than a month by now, and its approaching the top spot apparently, so the remix feature comes across as a little off place (or as a move to get the song to the very top?). But either way seeing them on the same track is already a hot fantasy come true, though still an overall new song would have been even better.

C.Perez

Rihanna wastes no time in releasing singles, even before premiering the music video to her first, she was already shooting the next and announcing the third, without even releasing the album in the first place. ‘What’s My Name?’ serves as her second single off Loud, and is partly assisted by rapper Drake.

Rihanna has not sounded this ‘Islandy’ since Music of the Sun. This is probably the closest she has gone back to her early days. ‘What’s My Name?’ is an absolute smash. It has a brilliant produced beat in the likes of ‘Rude Boy’. It is far superior to the electric dance-half trance ‘Sexy Bitch’-wannabe ‘Only girl (In The World)’. The Drake feature is not predominant in the song but for the first quarter, where he merely introduces the track with an auto-tuned verse. The feature does not go overboard, it is limited as possible and does not take anything away from the Stargate-produced number.

Rihanna delivering harmonized slightly synthesized Oh na na’s and fast paced sung verses, with her unique accent are the cherry on top, and bring the song to life with endless luster and beaming shimmer. The percussive techno-esque rhythm given to the song is marvelously crafted. Stargate is really showing his talents with his recent productions.

The chorus is memorable and it does not outshine the verses in the actual song unlike her first single did, which focused immensely in the chorus alone limiting the track lyrically. This is not the case with ‘’What’s My Name?’, it is well rounded both sonically and lyrically speaking. Every base has been covered with this single and shows off the alleged variety present in her forthcoming album.

‘Only Girl (In the World)’ was described as bigger than her #1 hit ‘Rude Boy’, but in reality the closest to the aforementioned is this, which follows similarly delivered vocals with a chill yet solid strong beat. Rihanna worked amazingly with the dark imagery and moody themes in Rated R, but this sound shows this is what she can manage best with ease and minimal effort. Summer-sunny pop is Rihanna’s niche, which is what she started off initially when she hit the music scene in 2005 with the tropical ‘Pon De Replay’.

‘What’s My Name?’ is the overall concept of Music of the Sun revised and tailored with today’s superior production to sound fresh, avoiding it from sounding dated and repeated; her music is being taken to a whole new level with this, as she just managed to sound slightly electro without losing her Caribbean novelty.

★★★★★

C.Perez

Download ‘What’s My Name?’

Loud in stores November 16th.

With the release of ‘Only Girl (In the World)’, the leak of ‘Who’s that Chick?’ and its accompaying video as part of a Dorito’s campaign, Rihanna thought it was called for to release the album cover of her soon to be released fifth record, Loud.

Loud is an amazing beauty shot, but it does not really represent the ‘loud’, vivacious concept of the album she sloppily described at the set of her film Battleship, right before the Mtv Video Music Awards.

The cover instead induces sleep, judging by the sight of her eyes shut. She looks incredible and the red hot hair seems to be drawing in attention, but it should be her and not her hair the main attraction of her album cover, as only her lips and hair mostly communicate its title. There is no need to be literal, but not contradictory or off mark either.

Rihanna has started formal promotion for Loud with an interview on BBC Radio 1 with Scott Smills, where she discussed the new album, calling it the perfect ‘Rihanna album’, photoshoots, not taking a break, states she has already shot the music video for ‘Only Girl’, and talks about her ridiculous hair. She is also being part of a Dorito’s campaign, in which her David Guetta produced track ‘Who’s that Chick?’, is being used as the theme song. The song has recently been reported to be part of the final tracklisting, after JustJared got a preview listen of tracks to be featured in the album.

Confirmed tracks as of now are a Nicki Minaj assisted uptempo ‘Raining Men’, a ballad titled ‘Fading Away’, ‘What’s My Name’, ‘Cheers’ (which samples Avril Lavigne’s ‘I’m With You’), and ‘S&M’. Her record seems to be shaping up just mighty fine, hope it sounds as incredible as they are hyping it up to be.

Her second single has also been confirmed to be ‘What’s My Name’, contrary to previous statements citing ‘Cheers’ as her following single.

C.Perez

Listen to her interview for BBC Radio 1 with Scott Mills below!

Watch the Dorito’s campaign commercial, featuring Rihanna and brief showings of the set for ‘Who’s that Chick?’. The official video for the track has been taken down due to copyright infringement.

Loud to be released November 16th.

Rihanna purportedly goes back to a dancier lighter pop sound with ‘Only Girl (In the World)’, a pop dance upbeat track which leads the way to the release of Rihanna’s fifth record, Loud. She claims to be doing something different to her previous albums and not attempting to re-do Good Girl Gone Bad (her highest selling album to date), but ‘Only Girl’ sounds like it belongs to the aforementioned record.

It is a mix of ‘Please Don’t Stop the Music’ given an electric shock of a heavy Euro tinge, and an overdose of the current dance trends taking over airwaves. It sounds derived from Lady GaGa and Taio Cruz, or at least it sounds like everything else Rihanna’s contemporaries would do with electro-synthesized beats.

The single had been described as massively bigger than the dance Caribbean flavored ‘Rude Boy’, but it is only an overstatement; ‘Rude Boy’ is still far superior to this. Even though the song was produced by Stargate, it sounds like something David Guetta would have easily crafted; it in fact sounds too Guetta-ish, it draws a lot of comparison to Kelly Rowland’s Guetta-produced ‘Commander’.

Lyrically, ‘Only Girl’ is lacking. The predominant verses are the choruses, which run for almost 50 seconds, nearly a minute. Since Rihanna sings the chorus about three times, the choruses are most of the track leaving the verses with little running time and not allowing them to spread throughout as they should, making the track limited when it comes to actual lyrics. The lyrics are not bad exactly, but they could be extended into something more, it basically conceals itself. Rihanna has improved over the years when it comes to her vocal ability, holding prolonged and stronger notes in the verses consequently giving the song personality and life; even if the song was not written by Rihanna herself, she is able to pull it off the ground.

It is definitely a step up from the mostly depressing but interesting sounding Rated R, it is a watered down less urban ‘Rude Boy’ combined with ‘Please Don’t Stop the Music’ given a heavier dance production. It is an enjoyable number but it is not anything to be knocked off one’s feet for.

★★★1/2

C.Perez

Loud scheduled for a November 16th release.

Download ‘Only Girl (In The World)’

Eminem just premiered his second promotional video off his recently released album Recovery.

Rihanna looks great in hot pink hair and Eminem wears basically what he mostly wears in all his videos, low hanging jeans and a white tank. The music video reflects exactly what the song communicates, by showing a love-hate relationship.

The Joseph Kahn directed video is amazing in imagery, the representation of their love dying down in the burning house is superb, the effects do not look cheap and in fact look fantastic, but Eminem and Rihanna are mere fillers in the middle of great visuals and a boring track. Eminem and Rihanna barely interact in the video, and Rihanna seems forced when faking repressed anger when she sings. It seems corny and unnatural. Eminem’s aggressive suggestions are so last year, or so 2004 one should say, his angsty rapping is being too overdone and extremely pointless.

The video is interesting for the storyline of two loving each other but frequently clashing too much. The fact Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan (from the Lost series) play the love counterparts in the video its attention grabbing, but aside from that, the whole thing is a snooze fest.

★★1/2

C.Perez

Watch the video below!

Rihanna really raises the bar in her fourth record, which features collaborations with Ne-Yo, StarGate, Tricky Stewart, Justin Timberlake, The Dream and Will.I.Am, as well as production by Rihanna herself.

Rihanna keeps her guard throughout most of the album, but despite the shell she encloses in, her personality and emotions manage to come through and hold together what makes up for Rated R, a seemingly unrestrained public threat and statement of her reign over pop music.  

Rated R is a magnificent pitch of eccentrically rock R&B. Rihanna bounds and leaps between rock, pop and stringent R&B. The sound works for her and without doubt hems in her inner rock star. It flaunts a lot of growth in as far as it concerns artistry, composition, vocal ability and character.

‘Wait Your Turn’, the promotional single, is a stake at dub-step, and introduces the dark and strong vibe of the record. It is not Rihanna’s best as she is mostly auto-tuned in most of the track, but it is certainly something new for her and sounds like nothing she has ever done before. ‘Russian Roulette’ is jittery, angsty and filled with frustration, reflecting an unstable relationship, of always being hanging by a thread and not knowing when ‘the trigger’ might be pulled and hurt either partner. Lyrically, it is beyond belief, and musically, out of this world.

‘Hard’ is an intimidating pop-hip-hop track where Rihanna states her strength as both a singer and a young woman; it somehow sounds like revenge. ‘Te Amo’ is an odd yet amazing pursuit of feeling attracted towards another female; its elements of a Spanish guitar are insanely the cherry on top. ‘Stupid in Love’ is a piano-driven dreary ballad which showcases Rihanna’s pipes but goes nowhere as the content and lyrics of the song are amateurish and in fact poor. ‘Rude Boy’ is the highest and sunniest moment in the record, where the Rihanna everyone is used to, takes the lead, as she sings amidst a saucy-Caribbean tinged beat.

‘Photographs’ is a very unarmed and frail side to the disc where Rihanna sings about having nothing but memories of past love. ‘Cold Case Love’ is a simple piano midtempo which then turns into a belligerent accusation in varied stringed instrumentation; its content is a marvelous play in crime and love metaphors. ‘The Last Song’ is a haunting break-up song, where Rihanna seems to finally leave behind her anger and hostility, which comes as subtle as a mallet in ‘Firebomb’, basically a description of how she runs over a lover and how his face crashes in the windshield. Rihanna goes pretty much morbid in the aforementioned track as well as in ‘G4L’ (Gangster for Life), which can be just described with one word: violent.

Rihanna’s limited vocal range sounds more developed and much improved than her early recordings. This time around she is able to hold prolonged higher notes and handles stable harmonies. Good Girl Gone Bad, her highest selling record released in 2007, pushed Rihanna to become a better singer and performer, and Rated R becomes an extension of that musical augmentation. She has never sounded this confident and determined since her preceding record.

Its only let-down is its constant dark and angry feeling, and largely ruminating mood slotted in the lyrics. Just about everything in the album seems to be related to Chris Brown and the altercation both had the year previous to the album release. Incorporating this particular dark moment in her life to the majority of the album was complete suicide. Perhaps it was needed for Rihanna to let off some steam and liberate herself from the pain she had to go through, after the lengthened tabloid stirs and entertainment news documenting Brown’s physical attack over her, but the persistent ponderings become droning and repetitive, to the point it becomes too exasperating.

Good Girl Gone Bad was described as edgy when it came out, but by ‘edgy’, this record is what Rihanna probably meant.

★★★1/2

C.Perez