Monday, November 14, 2011

Album Review: Rihanna - Talk That Talk

Rihanna - Talk That Talk

I was going to wait until the Deluxe version had leaked or maybe the release date...but I think I need to get some stuff about this album off of my chest, so I am going to go ahead and do my review of the standard edition now. I will probably update the review and overall rating once the deluxe tracks leak.

So, Rihanna. The reigning bad girl of pop at the moment. The Bajan hit factory. Fashion and sex symbol. Twitter wig snatcher. More than anyone else right now (yes, even more than GaGa), Rihanna is the it-girl of pop music right now. While this may not always equate to the highest of album sales (our girl still doesn’t have a #1 album) or ticket sales (not her strongest suit), Rihanna’s endless hard work has made her a worldwide sensation and a near guaranteed #1 song with every single release. Sure, she may put out singles a little too quickly and an album every single year is getting to be a bit overkill...but for the most part, new Rihanna music is ALWAYS welcome because it is always going to be sexy, catchy, and getting us dancing. So, just as her last album, LOUD, is wrapping up, we now have her new one: Talk That Talk. After initial reviews citing it to be her most cohesive, aurally satisfying, and dirtiest album to date...I was more than a little bit excited. Let’s see if it lives up to the hype!

The album starts off with 2nd single, “You Da One”, a Carribean-fueled dance track that has Rihanna sweetly declaring her love for her man over Europop and dubstep beats. It is a cute enough song, but not quite as catchy right away as we have come to expect from Rihanna. But while this song may not quite have grabbed me the way I expected, all thoughts of it are gone when the truly spectacular “Where Have You Been” begins. One of, if not THE best dance tracks in her discography, this song takes off on a truly huge beat with plenty of synths and stuttering to keep you dancing for hours (anyone wanna put together an extended remix for me? Please? Please?!). This high-energy track flows seamlessly into the lead single, “We Found Love”, which has annoyingly grown on me after my initial claims that it was too generic to be a great track. Not saying I’ve changed my mind...just saying it doesn’t bother me anymore.

From this energetic intro into the album, we get to the title track, the more urban, and truly spectacular, “Talk That Talk.” The one feature on the album by Mr. JiggaMan himself is good and all, but honestly not so sure he adds that much to the song. It is that carefree, smooth delivery of Rihanna’s on the chorus that really perked my ears up. It is one of Rih’s greatest talents to give that cool edge to a song, and it comes out in full force here. This has been the track I have been going back to listen to the most from the album. So far so good, right? Well here is where the album sort of starts losing me.

The much talked about lyric “Suck my cockiness, lick my persuasion” along with the chattering “I love it i love it i love it when you eat it” made Cockiness probably the most anticipated song from the album. And while those little bits are hilarious and amazing...that’s really the only good thing about the song for me. It is the type of song that seems like they had these few great spare parts that they wanted on a song, so they just threw them all together on one track. It is too all over the place and I can never quite get into the groove of the song. This one is a miss for me. And the fact that the criminally cut off “Birthday Cake” manages to surpass “Cockiness” in about a third of the time is quite telling. Equally lack-luster is the semi-inspirational “We All Want Love” ballad. While I actually like the song, it is out of place on the album and is perhaps the type of song that should have gone to more of a powerhouse singer to really bring home. (No shade, I actually think Rih is a great singer. Just saying...)

The rest of the album brings it back a little bit, with the vocally strong “Drunk On Love” and “Farewell” giving Rihanna some time to shine, and the swanky, sexy “Roc Me Out” and “Watch N Learn” takes us back to the sexual nature of the album as a whole. Overall, this is a really fun album and as always I am ecstatic to have new Rihanna to strut around to. But something about it doesn’t quite do it for me. There are some seriously brilliant songs on here, but others were cut short of greatness (LITERALLY for “Birthday Cake”), and others just never quite connect in the way I was hoping they would (“We All Want Love”, “Cockiness”). Granted, with the deluxe tracks taking the place of the stinkers, my opinion of the album might change. But SEEMS rushed this time around. 

When LOUD came out, it was the perfect connection between Rated R’s “Rude Boy” success and it was the necessary change in image and sound from the dark period Rihanna had gone through. We were happy to be dancing and flirting along with her again. This feels like she should have taken more time and given us something better. Also, let me point out that I am not particularly pleased that almost the entire album is done by 3 or 4 songwriters/producers. Yeah, sure, it makes it more cohesive. But it also makes it less interesting.

While there is no doubt I will be playing this album out, and possibly changing my mind about some of it the way I did about “We Found Love”...for now I am left simply wanting more.

3.5/5 Wigs Snatched

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