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Friday, November 18, 2011

Track-by-Track: Rihanna - Talk That Talk

Rihanna has never been cooler. From the styling to the distillation of sounds on her sixth album, I'm a big fan of this era in her career. Though there's a clunker or two, and the tracks could do with some reshuffling, this could easily end up as my favorite Rihanna album.

1. You Da One - This track suffers greatly from being the opener, where it's completely out of place. Looking past that, it's a solid mid-tempo reggae flavored song. We've heard this before from Rihanna, but there's no one better when it comes to this kind of stuff. 8/10

2. Where Have You Been - Now we're talking! This is the first heavy dance track on the album. I'm convinced she should do an entire album with Calvin Harris. It's such a great match. The melody is just soaring, too. 10/10

3. We Found Love - And when we're on the topic of "soaring," this single pretty much defines the term. It's well on its way to becoming my favorite Rihanna track. So simple, but so incredibly effective. 10/10

4. Talk That Talk (ft. Jay-Z) - I could do without the Jay-Z bits, which go on a bit too long, but other than that, I'm a huge fan of this. I love the simple, almost orchestral sounding beat. Seems like an obvious single choice. 9/10

5. Cockiness (I Love It) - This approaches MIA levels of bonkers. I should hate it. It's near atonal at parts, but the craziness just works wonders. It also ushers in the album's "dirty" sequence. The next few songs are easily her most sexual work. 10/10

6. Birthday Cake - The most pointless track she's ever done. It's not a full song, but not an interlude either. It just sort of goes nowhere until it fades out, totally screwing up the sequence in the process. I don't understand the logic behind this. 7/10

7. We All Want Love - Of the full songs, this is probably the only clunker. It's pleasant enough, but just so straightforward and anonymous. The only "filler" track on the album, though it would probably sound better toward the end of the album. 7/10

8. Drunk On Love - A big belter with a Te Amo-esque beat. Not single worthy, but an excellent album track. 9/10

9. Roc Me Out - One of the album's best songs, and probably should have been the first on the cd. It's like SOS meets Shut Up And Drive meets Rude Boy, but might be better than all three. The chorus is massive. 10/10

10. Watch 'N Learn - Another favorite. The playful sexuality and lush midtempo production reminds me a bit of Janet Jackson. There's something about the seesaw melody that's so addictive. 10/10

11. Farewell - The album's big ballad. Think along the lines of the last few tracks on Rated R. The lyrics are a little clumsy, but the production is beautiful and I love how she didn't hold back on the drama. 9/10

* If I were to take a stab at reordering the sequence, I'd do this: 1. Roc Me Out 2. Where Have You Been 3. We Found Love 4. Talk That Talk 5. You Da One 6. Cockiness (I Love It) 7. Watch 'N Learn 8. Drunk On Love 9. We All Want Love 10. Farewell (unfortunately, I don't like any of the bonus tracks enough yet to warrant adding them to the album)

Album Grade: 9.0/10

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Blogger Ryan Talbot May said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention how Drunk On Love samples the XX. The entire melody is borrowed from their lyric-free track 'Intro'

On the one hand I hate how she is exploiting a brilliant track from an almost unknown indie band but on the other hand, the track is haunting in an all new way and I can of love it.

7:54 PM  
Anonymous gmisk said...

The almost unknown indie band ha ha....okkkk..they won the mercury music prize, were nominated for quite a few brit awards and their album went platinum in the uk, their song have been used on lots of tv shows and ads as well....unknown? no

2:09 AM  

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