The Limelight: Album Review- Rihanna “Rated R”

Rihanna has had quite a year, after being on top of the music world with her third album “Good Girl Gone Bad”, to suddenly becoming the media spotlight due to her relationship and abuse with Chris Brown. Rihanna has begin to speak publicly since her  20/20 interview a few weeks ago, and she has made it clear she is standing strong, and will continue her music career. Rihanna released her fourth album “Rated R” on November 24, and it is far from the dancehall, pop singer fans grew to love. The 13 track album features production from Ne-Yo, Justin Timberlake, Tricky Stewart, and The Dream.

Rihanna opens with “Mad House”, a grim sounding track welcoming you into her world. She follows with the second single “Wait Your Turn” and Tricky Stewart produced the third single, “Hard” featuring Young Jeezy.  Judging by the lyrics, its safe to say “Stupid In Love” is about her situation with Breezy, as she sings “I may be young but I’m not stupid. I’m not stupid in love.” The Dream and Tricky Stewart follow up with “Rockstar 101”, an edgy, bass and guitar filled track. The controversial first single “Russian Roulette” is followed by a more  subtle, pop side of Rihanna on the track “Fire Bomb.” Ester Dean penned the StarGate produced track “Rude Boy,” a more up-tempo, pop track with sexual references.

Will.I.Am lent a hand on “Photographs,” a track about the tough times of past relationships. “G4L” stands for Gangsta For Life, which Rihanna sings like she is fresh off the gang streets as she sings, “we driving by with them headlights off we know where you stay/know what you did we dont play that shit, ni**a we dont play.” StarGate produced “Te Amo,” an average love ballad. Justin Timberlake penned a standout track “Cold Case Love,” (clearly about Chris Brown) as the production matches Rihanna’s tone and lyrics as she sings, “What you did to me was a crime/Cold case love/And I let you reach me one more time/But that’s enough.” The album closes with “The Last Song,” a mix of guitar and slow tempo, and makes this track the least notable.

Rihanna’s production team and writers did  great work creating the unexpected for fans. Of course the album features songs addressing her situation with Chris Brown, but most tracks feature a more provocative and dark side of Rihanna that fans never expected. I have never been a big fan of Rihanna’s music, but I give her a round of applause for Rated R”, as the album is 3.5 out of 5.

Songs 2 Check For: “Cold Case Love”, “Hard”, “Rude Boy”, “G4L”


By: Sarah J

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