Talk That Talk by Rihanna
Three out of Five Stars
Riri is at it again. Sixth album in seven years or something like that. The heavy dance influenced and dub-step heavy album seems to be a perfect blend of “Loud”, her previous album and “Rated R”, her most controversial album till date.”Talk That Talk” is significantly darker then “Loud”, i mean not as bright. Aside from “Rated R”, “Talk That Talk”might be Rihanna’s most personal album yet.
This would go along with the string of personal albums by artists in 2011. Albums like Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”, Beyonce’s “4” and Drake’s “Take Care”. This year has been filled with many of the most honest albums we have heard in a while. The album signifies that Rihanna knows that it is time to move on from “that fateful night” and strive for another love.
Having said that, I don’t think that “Talk That Talk” shows much of Rihanna’s growth as a person and sometimes not as an artist. Admittedly, “Talk That Talk”is another follow up album by the dance queen. It is a perfect follow up album because it ends one era of Rihanna while brilliantly beginning another. This means it is not a brand new act. It is as Rihanna says ,a continuation of the Loud Era .Having said that i think i would have preferred a lengthier”Loud” album than a follow up “Talk That Talk” album.
“Talk That Talk” is proudly the hangover of “Rated R” and “Loud”. Rihanna continues to rule the charts, proving that she is the true new queen of pop. “Talk That Talk” also proves that Rihanna is serious about holding on to her throne on the charts. Rihanna is not giving her competition a chance to catch up.
This could be a good and a bad thing. the good then the ugly. It could be a good thing because it shows how dedicated Riri is to her career. It also shows how much she loves giving her fans, basically anyone who listens to the radio, which would be..everybody new music.
Now there are many reasons why this is a bad thing. First and most important, it is very unhealthy. It is unhealthy for her body, her vocal chords. Promoting , singing and performing for an album is a lot of work and takes quite a toll on the musician. Rihanna is also notorious for guest starring on other artist’s tracks. Rihanna was also working on a movie during this time.
It can also be unhealthy for her publicity. It could get annoying to hear Rihanna on almost every single channel on the radio. It is also quite unfair to her competition. it might come across to other in the business that Rihanna is selfish and is hoarding her spot in Top 40. like her best friend Katy Perry.It is all too much, as one critic noted, it might have been better for her to justv let the “Loud” Era end. with many hits, race reviews and controversy,”Loud” did not need a follow up.
Hopefully after this record, Riri will decide to take a rest. i really have to hand it to her for being so prolific and being absolutely glamorous all at the same time.
She has done it again with the lead single from her latest E.P., “We Found Love”. “We Found Love” was an instant hit and is currently her longest lasting number one single. A record that i am very sure will soon be broken. The song had all the makings of a hit. With Disc Jockey, Calvin Harris featuring on it, It was an intentional competition for David Guetta and the new Dance era he has brought about.
Rihanna reminds us of her ability to be current and how quickly she can change and evolve and adapt to new sounds as an artist. Rihanna, in this album, is able to keep all the songs on the record, uptempo, even the ballads. As one of her critics noted, Rihanna’s enthusiasm drives you throughout the album, wanting to hear just one more song.
As expected Rihanna jumps from Dance to pop to R&B to HIp Hop to Reggae infused sounds cleverly. She does all this jumping around effortlessly and quickly. Rihanna has never really been known to settle in one genre , the jumping around of genres has become part of her label. One can say that the beauty of “Talk That Talk” is in its wonderful mix of genres. From Calvin Harris to Jay-Z, “Talk That Talk”, is able to be cool and calm while being busy and diversity.
Theme wise, however Rihanna goes from love struck “You Da One”, “Birthday Cake” to a hopeless romantic , who is craving love , “We All Want Love”.
The album begins with the heavily dub-step influenced “You Da One”, one of Riri’s best love songs till date. I have no idea why i like the song so much, i just do. It is just so compelling and the presence of the dub-step keeps you jamming from the beginning to the very end. This is true throughout the album, Rihanna’s voice is so strangely compelling and makes you want to not only hear but understand all that she is chorusing.
With all this compliments, comes one of the low points of Talk That Talk and Rihanna’s career. Rihanna’s songs are so strangely pop and radio friendly that sometimes you get lost in their radio-friendliness. Rihanna’s constant success bring about the problem of being a sell out. Some may interpret it as her not being strong enough of an artist to have total control of her own career. Her songs and lyrics sometimes feel so insincere and far from genuine.
Next are “Where Have You Been” and “We Found Love” are like twin sisters. They are so incredibly similar in theme and sound. A departure from dub-step and solid entrance to a David-Guetta-meets-Lady-Gaga kind of dance. These songs show how strong Rihanna is when she is doing what she does best, Dance. However of the two songs i am afraid that the ugly sister is ‘Where Have you Been”. As i said earlier , it is a beautiful song, but in comparison to “We Found Love”, it seems to lack luster.
Next are the Hip Hop Triplets, “Talk That Talk” ,the title track, “Cockiness (Love It)”and the interlude “Birthday Cake”. These three songs might be the nest summary of what is happening in Hip Hop/R&B and Rap. “Talk That Talk”, which comes after “We Found Love” , serves as the second and last song with a guest star on the album. The song is very reminiscent of “Run This Town” and “Hard”. The song, like the album, also incorporates heavy sampling, which is very popular in Hip Hop right now. Jay-Z was the perfect match for the groovy, low-tempo track Rihanna cajoles and persuades on this track , somehow without appearing vulnerable.
Then there is “Cockiness (Love It)”. This song is very reminiscent of Kelly Rowand’s breakthrough summer jam “Motivation” and Rihanna’s own hit “S&M”. It is a sultry and flirty track that only Rihanna could really pull of. Then there is the fun interlude “Birthday Cake”. “Birthday Cake” is probably the most current Hip Hop song on the entire album. The basic dance track in the background is similar to Big Sean’s “Dance”, Drake’s “The Motto” and Tyga’s “Rack city”.
Then there are the love twin brothers. “We All Want Love”, “Drunk on Love”. These two songs are probably of the most honest and sincere songs on the entire album. Rihanna’s voice is unusually story-teller like and as i said earlier, convincing with a honest tone.They are part of the love triplets on the album, where Rihanna admits she is in need of love and she is tired of being strong and gimmicky. “We All Want Love” is probably my favorite song on the whole record, so i definitely recommend it. One of Rihanna’s critics noted that Rihanna is finally at a state of wanting love and being bold enough to admit and embrace it. One of the reasons that “Talk That Talk” is much different from “Loud” is because of the theme of love. In Comparison to “Loud”,’Talk That Talk”takes time to explore and discover Rihanna’s emotional side. This probably because “Loud” from beginning to the very end was a party. Rihanna has mentioned recently that being single sucks and maybe she is finally capable to send that message through her music.
Then there are the “Roc Me Out”, “Watch N Learn” and “Farewell”. These songs fir the true definition of an album song. They are the least memorable songs on the album, theme wise, lyrically wise and sound wise. I do however love “Farewell”because i feel like it is a mature way to end an album. It perfectly summarizes and rounds up the groovy journey that is “Talk That Talk”.