Coming off the successful Loud, Rihanna has gone 2-minute drill with her sonic game plan and has managed two albums in one year. I’d say Joe Flacco could learn something from this chick, but her no huddle appears to be as limp-wristed as the Ravens (Sorry, but I’m still not over that Seattle loss). My point is that Rihanna’s 4th quarter drop, Talk That Talk sounds as rushed as it probably was.
Another developing issue with Rihanna is her slow roll from sexually evocative to vulgar. I’m not sure of the average age of the Rihanna Navy, but lines like “I love it when you eat it,” “I want to fuck you right now” and “suck my cockiness” should make the average parent of a teenage girl bristle. And honestly I don’t know anyone over 30 that would consider paying for a Rihanna album. Make that 25. That’s not here nor there though. Let’s get to the nuts and bolts of this LP.
Lol@nuts. That might be right up her alley. Lol @ right up her alley. Sigh
Anyway, the sordid affair begins with “You Da One,” an island/Pop concoction that salutes that special man that stays on her mind. It’s a cute, mid-tempo song with bouncy keys and an even bouncier delivery from Miss Fenty. This should do well on top 40 radio. “Where Have You Been” takes a darker turn with all the fixings of a strobe light stomper, replete with double-time claps and squiggley synth. The restraint of this piece is actually very pretty.
The jewel of the album, “We Found Love” is next. It’s by far the best cut of the 11 and Talk That Talk’s first single. Nothing on this album comes close to the quality of the Calvin Harris-produced house throwback that could beckon the most wallflowery soul to the middle of the dance floor. The forward momentum comes to an immediate halt with the title track though, as the Rhianna/Jay-Z collab that should have spelled awesomeness, ends up horribly disappointing. From the draggy, snare-infused foundation, to the nursery rhyme lyrics, “1 and 2 and 3 and 4, come and let me know if you want some more,” this song devolves into filler when it should be a highlight.
“Cockiness Love It” is one of the songs those lovely lyrics above are removed from. Bangladesh gives Rihanna a slow burner with bass for days and a tribal sensibility upon which she spreads some seriously naughty suggestions. Rihanna’s island sound is in full flower here. It’s not a bad song necessarily, just not appropriate for your kids. “Birthday Cake” cements the nasty-as-you-wanna-be theme with flying, frenetic synth and a slow bassline. There’s lots of moaning and begging for tongue action. Rihanna wants to make you her bissssshhhhhhh. Then it fades like it’s a snippet.
An intro eerily reminiscent of RHCP’s “Under the Bridge” leads into “We All Want Love.” She’s lonely? With all that dick around? Maybe this is an attempt to present all the previous sex stuff as unfulfilling. Or it could be an attempt to round out her personality. Either way it’s a nice break from the filth, flarn, flarn filth, even if it’s a bit boring. “Drunk on Love” follows that same emotional path with more energy.
The bottom tracks are probably the most forgettable of the album. “Roc Me Out’s” track is full of femme fatale energy, and Rihanna goes on about how she wants to get done. It’s not bad, but not great. “Watch n Learn” is a primer on how to boink Rhi properly. Listen and learn fellas.
“Farewell” closes this thing down in a sweeping big time ballad kind of way, but misses the mark. It just doesn’t have the depth of feeling that some of Rhianna’s other ballads have mustered. And it doesn’t seem to fit into the thematic scope of this album.
Talk That Talk is a collection of some great songs bookended by some scraps from the cutting room floor designed to take advantage of that holiday rush. In Rihanna’s defense, plenty of artists have done this with even less success. Her fans will buy it. She’ll have a head start on other artists in the New Year and plenty of young dudes will again be reminded of how much they want to bang her. Even in its meh state, Talk That Talk is a winning proposition.
out of 5
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