It’s been a year since the rebirth of Rihanna began. She took full creative control and while people may argue that she hasn’t been as successful with her attempts I don’t think you should underestimate her power.
“ANTI” is game changing, genre bending and is brave with the risks she has taken. There is no pop single. This is not an album that will continue her in the “pop queen lane” this album sees her becoming a musician and showcasing her talent and power.
Opening with “Consideration” and “James Joint” these short tracks perfectly set the vibe for the record with simple reggae fused RNB beats that allow her to get vibey and experiment with different vocal techniques. “Kiss It Better” is the closest you will get to past RIRI with a slightly sexy pop chorus that oozes with an epic guitar riff which will have every part of you popping. “Work” backs it up with a RNB-Electro sound which is already becoming the future twerking anthem and while it’s not instantly likeable it will quickly grow on you with each listen. And I promise you, it will become your favourite song of right now even if the vocals in some parts sound like they are being sung in Sim.“Desperado” and “Woo” follow the trend with electronic RNB tracks that are dark, mysterious but ultimately catchy.
The other half of the album is quite emotional and dark. “Needed Me” and “Never Ending” are simple in production but will win your fragile hearts over. “Love On The Brain” has her attempting the Doo-Woop trend and providing one of the albums strongest moments. “No matter what I do, I’m no good without you. And I can’t get enough, must be love on the brain”. There was a rumour leading up to the release of “ANTI” that she would cover a Tame Impala song. Now I thought this would mean she would steal a hook and maybe a beat then turn it into a big RNB song. But no, she literally did an exact cover of “Same Ol’ Mistakes” (Originally “New Person, Same Old Mistakes”) right down to the exact same vocal production. While there is no originality on the track she still smashes the song and will have you falling in love with it again.
In its entirety ANTI is not the album you expected from Rihanna but even if it was unknowingly, this is the album you wanted from her. She’s confident, brave, honest and all types of sexy. This album will encourage other artists to take more risks with their music and not heavily worry about what the record labels want or deem “hit ready”. Popular music is evolving, has Rihanna given us the future?
Words: Thomas Bleach
Words: Frances van Eeden