ALBUM REVIEW: RIHANNA - TALK THAT TALK
For pop-sensation Rihanna, 2011 has definitely been a promising year. With a bunch of her songs constantly topping the charts the anticipation for her sixth studio release was ridiculously high. Talk That Talk was released on November 18, via Def Jam Recordings.
Opening the record is “You Da One” which is the albums second single to date. Similar in structure and style to likes of “Man Down” which featured on her last album Loud, “You Da One” sticks to a steady, Caribbean like beat equipped with easy sing-along lyrics. Although “You Da One” may not be the most complex of songs and I fear it may fall flat in the charts, it definitely has the potential to become memorable. At the very least it can be described as an average opener that eases us into the rest of the album.
“Where Have You Been” then follows by picking up the tempo with a piano melody and thudding drum beats. Rihanna’s strong vocals and lengthy notes make up for her lack of imaginative lyrics, but her technique of falling back on repetition is somewhat disappointing. However, this track seems to excel during the synth breakdowns which create a much needed positive and upbeat atmosphere. Sticking to the re-occurring theme of love which is featured throughout the album, the energetic nature of this track easily makes it one of my favourites.
The third track, “We Found Love” featuring Calvin Harris, is the first single from Talk That Talk and it has already achieved worldwide success. Reaching No.1 on both the UK and US charts this song has definitely concocted the winning formula. Relatable and heartfelt lyrics fused with an intense beat has left us all singing about how “we found love in a hopeless place”.
Title Track “Talk That Talk” featuring Jay Z is up next. Although the structure of the song is predictable and the lyrics are nothing extraordinary, the bridge showcases an exciting mix of effects and it is definitely a commendable effort on behalf of both artists.
Talk That Talk has been referred to as Rihanna’s “dirtiest album yet”, and the lyrics in “Cockiness (Love It)” certainly suggest this may be true. “Suck my cockiness / lick my persuasion”. This song however, alongside “Birthday Cake” which is of a similar nature both seem to draw influences from popular artist Nicki Minaj. Unfortunately I think Rihanna’s attempt of pulling off something similar has only damaged both tracks.
“We All Want Love” is a slower track which really focuses on the sincerity and simplicity of the lyrics. It is a much welcomed change of pace and is very easy listening. “Drunk On Love” follows, however it showcases The xx’s popular beat from their hit song “Intro”. Initially I thought using another artists beat for a whole song was simply lazy and uninventive, yet after a few listens it’s easy to see that both songs mix incredibly well. This song possesses a haunting amount of power and feeling that no other song on the album has captured yet.
“Roc Me Out” does exactly as the title may suggest. It incorporates a heavier, rock-like beat, but still somehow grips onto the pop/dance like nature Rihanna is known for. While this is a decent song, and is structured well, I can’t help feeling like it is a little bit tedious and may not be the most remembered on the album. Whereas “Watch n’ Learn” portrays a completely different style to anything Rihanna has ever released before. While the lyrics once again aren’t brilliant and rely on repetition the beat of the song seems much more reggae like creating an interesting twist.
Closing the album is “Farewell” which slows the pace of the album right down again. This song reminds me of a mixture of something P!nk and Taylor Swift would release. It is presented well, and is one of the slower jams Rihanna has perfected. It is a very fitting ending, allowing us time to consume the album as a whole.
Despite mixed opinions, as a whole I think Talk That Talk is an above average album. Although I am unsure as to what direction Rihanna's music will take next, I think this is a step up from the darker themes she sings about in past albums and believe it has great potential. I look forward to seeing how it fends in the charts.
Top Tracks: “Where Have You Been” / “We Found Love” / “Drunk On Love” / “Farewell”