Thursday, November 11, 2010

'LOUD': Rihanna's finest work yet!

Yes, I have to admit, I do own the leaked version of LOUD--but, as a Rihanna stan, I sure as hell will be buying the released copy on November 16 with good reason to do so.

Rihanna is just one of those artists that can produce back-to-back quality music and has amassed hundreds of haters for it. Last year, around this time, she released Rated-R, her most critically-acclaimed yet personal work to date, says Neon Limelight. Fans were scared of the new Rihanna, but it was her. After suffering a brutal domestic altercation by then-boyfriend Chris Brown in February, it was unrealistic to think that the next album would be anything but "dark." She, however, still managed to score a No. 1 hit with Rude Boy (one of the album's only upbeat songs), but it was heart-wrenching, bullet-producing Russian Roulette that got everyone talking--not to mention a world tour, Last Girl On Earth, that had spanned Europe, North America and soon Australia (in 2011).

LOUD is Rihanna's triumphant return to her upbeat, Pop and Reggae roots. What's My Name, the album's second single featuring Drake, is currently No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with Only Girl (In The World), the album's premiere single, sitting comfortably at No. 4. Rihanna's growth in vocals, as many have critiqued, is beautifully showcased throughout the new album.

Neon Limelight has conducted a fantastic review of four of LOUD's most celebrated songs--Complicated, Skin, Cheers (Drink To That) and Man Down. Read the review, below:

Complicated*: “Complicated” is as close to perfection as one pop song can get. Over happy bouncing synths, Rihanna belts — yes, RiRi is belting and sounding pretty damn amazing while doing so — about her beau who isn’t “easy to love” on a chorus that isn’t easy to sing along to, but you’re sure going to have fun trying. “Why is everything with you so complicated?/Why do you make it hard to love you?/Oh, I hate it.” The love/hate relationship results in Rihanna sometimes wanting to kiss her man, “other times, punch you in the face.” “Complicated” is easily one of the best songs on the album, and Rihanna’s best vocal performance, like, ever.
Skin*: Male pop stars have long been able to get sexually graphic in their songs. Trey Songz has made a career of it. But now it’s the ladies’ turn, and Rihanna is taking full advantage of the change of pace. Just call her Rihanna Songz. There’s no hiding what “Skin” is about. Sex, sex, and more butt-naked sex. And apparently Rihanna likes it rough. “Why you standing over there with your clothes on?/Baby, strip down for me, go and take ‘em off/Don’t worry, baby, I’ma meet you halfway/’Cause I know you wanna see me,” Rihanna sings before getting right down to business. “No heels, no shirt, no skirt/All I’m in is just skin.” Sonically, it’s one of the songs on Loud that recalls the gritty feel of Rated R the most with the blaring electric guitar solo at the end.
Cheers (Drink To That)*: This Avril Lavigne-sampling bar romp can be seen as a little more autobiographical than it’s supposed to be. “Life’s too short to be sitting ’round miserable/And people gon’ talk whether you’re going bad or good,” Rihanna starts the beer-praising tune with. Funny. The first time we saw Rihanna reemerge after the now infamous “incident” with Chris Brown was in candid photos of the pop star and pals on their way to the club. But the song isn’t bogged down by any depressing trips down memory lane. It’s all about having a liquored-up good ass time. “Cheers to the freakin’ weekend/Drink to that, yeah yeah.” Cheers, indeed!
Man Down*: You don’t have to be a big reggae fan to appreciate this instant favorite, co-written by fellow Bajan pop star Shontelle, which finds Rihanna truly embracing her island roots. Police sirens sound all throughout “Man Down” as Rihanna sings in a heavier West Indian accent than normal about ending a man’s life. But RiRi isn’t really a murderer. The song is one big swagged out metaphor for breaking a man’s heart. “I didn’t mean to hurt him/Coulda been somebody’s son/And I took his heart when/I pulled out that gun.” The killer — no pun intended! — “rum-pa-pa-pum” refrains that follow make “Man Down” almost impossible to resist — and take off of repeat.

*Note: Click on the highlighted text to hear the designated song. 
Photo via Hello Beautiful

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