The #Navy is singing praises! Rihanna has finally released her new album ANTI, allowing all of us alike to pound her sultry voice through our speakers anew. It’s been four years since the artist released new music, with her last album “Unapologetic” reaching number one on the Billboard 200 charts upon it’s debut. With singles like “Diamonds,” “Pour it Up,” and “Stay” featuring Mikky Ekko under her belt, it was clear that this Barbados queen was dominating the pop charts, leaving fans hungrier than ever for more.
Well the wait is over! Ri Ri was feeling generous and gave fans free access to download the entire album in one fell swoop! So of course I jumped at the chance to add to my Rihanna collection, and was pleasantly surprised. As her latest artistic statement to the world, this album is like nothing she’s put out before. To me that’s what makes it so refreshing.
I had an idea in my head of what I thought ANTI was going to sound like, but in reality it was the exact opposite. Rihanna’s new sound is no longer focused solely on making the chart topping singles, but on exploring her limits as an artist. It’s always interesting to see what an artist will do when they are less concerned with selling music, but more concerned with making music. I feel like this is one of the first albums in a while where she truly pushed herself as a vocalist, letting go of the simplistic melodies and rap-like singing that’s made her popular. Seems as if she is truly digging to reclaim herself as a real musician.
I have to say this shift in theme reminds me of her earlier album “Rated R” which offered a variety in sound, often drifting into alternative music. Songs like “Work” and “Kiss It Better” give you that Rihanna you know now, but as the album continues it becomes more mellow and heartfelt. By the time you reach the end, old-school doo-wop songs like “Love On The Brain” or “Higher” will have you looking at your phone screen like:
“Is this Rihanna?!”
And once you hit “Close To You”, well you might just cry a river (I think I did). For me, the biggest bright spot on this project is the lyricism. There were some great songwriters at work here, finding a way to meld the toughness of hip-hop with the feels of a good old love song. And I think that probably is the best way to define the heart of Rihanna’s sound.
So ANTI may not give you too many songs you can dance to in the club, but it’s definitely something to appreciate. This album gives a vulnerable look at Rihanna the singer, and I think it’s a side of her that’s admirable to see.