Rihanna – Talk That Talk: Album Review

November 21, 2011 § 11 Comments

Pop princess Britney Spears’ seventh record Femme Fatale (released in March 2011) was deemed the perkier and more upbeat sister to the much edgier 2007 Blackout. Fellow Pop songstress Rihanna’s sixth record, Talk That Talk, has a similar transition. Released today, Rihanna took the darker and experimental notes from her underrated 2009 effort Rated R and transformed it into a sex-driven record that embodies Talk That Talk.

The album opens with “You Da One”, a light and fun island pop song that refers to Rihanna’s first album. The second single is adorable and incredibly catchy. Following is “Where Have You Been”, an international club-ready track that I immediately fell in love with as soon as I heard it. Another Calvin Harris-produced track, “Where Have You Been” should have been released as the first single rather than “We Found Love”; it will be so much more commanding on the dance floor.

“We Found Love”, the first single off Talk That Talk took a while to win me over when it released in September. I didn’t like the song until the video dropped later on in October; the rave-y synths and exciting beat drops have propelled the song into massive rotation.

The title track, “Talk That Talk”, has a nice flavor and bounce to it. I like the juxtaposition of the Wiz Khalifa-esque steady riding beat with the seductive lyrics. Jay-Z’s feature verse is witty and surprisingly sexual, but the rapper makes it work with funny puns.

Talk That Talk then dives right into the sex theme with “Cockiness (Love It).” With its hip-hop sampled beat, it is bold and brash, showing that Rihanna has nothing to hide:

“Suck my cockiness, lick my persuasion! Eat my words and then swallow your pride all down, down!”

“Birthday Cake”, the sole interlude on the album, is ultimate tease. It is so raunchy, bold and definitely not for the prudish. I was quite upset when it was over after only a minute. With its sickening distortion and come hither lyrics, I didn’t want it to stop. It turns out that other “Birthday Cake” fans feel the same; The Dream (the producer of the track) is planning to release the full song after much pressure from fans.

Rihanna turns down the sex notch for a bit and gives us a ballad, with “We All Want Love.” Listening to the mid-tempo track is like coming down from a high from the previous in-your-face tracks. Overall, the track is a filler with not enough authentic emotions vocally or lyrically. “Drunk on Love” is another love-infused ballad but is much stronger and commanding. Rihanna’s vocal abilities will surprise everyone. Hopefully she’ll release it as a single; I can definitely can see this topping the charts.

Talk That Talk soon reverts back to the sultry theme with “Watch n’ Learn” – a reggae-tinged track that is not as heavy hitting as the other tracks. The dull lyrics and elementary beat doesn’t have the same impact as other songs, including deluxe edition tracks like “Red Lipstick.” This gritty track finally utilizes the grimy two-year-old “Saxon” beat. “Red Lipstick” makes you want to do some bad ass shit inside a dark drop-top; you can’t go wrong with dubstep.

It’s almost shocking to realize that Rihanna rushingly pushed out her sixth album release, but Talk That Talk is not one to overlook. While I do think the Bajan singer should have waited to release another album until mid-2012, I do enjoy that she made this record to solely please her fans and not the critics.

2010’s Loud, while it took me a while to grow into it, had more impact with its songs than Talk That Talk. But this sixth record has more developed themes and striking production that mostly took place in hotel rooms. Although it does not show much transitional growth from Rihanna, Talk That Talk is a record that has the possibility to hold its own as it soaks in over the next few months.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Songs on Repeat

Where Have You Been

Talk That Talk

Birthday Cake

Do Ya Thang (Deluxe Edition)

Red Lipstick (Deluxe Edition)

Songs to Skip

We All Want Love

Watch N’ Learn

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