It’s “Talk That Talk” Week on my blog, so clearly I LOVE My Rihanna. So when her sixth (yes! sixth!) album “Talk That Talk” leaked online a few weeks ago of course I was excited not only as a Rihanna fan, but as a Pop Music fan. In her 6 years in the industry, Rihanna has become one of the most consistent albums artists delivering fun upbeat contemporary albums year in and year out. So with a bit of a stale Pop field this year, lots of people were looking forward to her offering.
And initially, the album was fine. Offering the same diversity of her last album “Loud”, going from club songs to urban bangers to ballads to reggae rhythms. Yet “Talk That Talk” felt slightly less commercial than the previous album and just a little more raw. The more you listen to the album though, it’s major flaw starts to come to the surface, it just doesn’t feel complete.
Far too many songs are lacking in verses (“Where Have You Been”, “Talk That Talk”, bonus track “Red Lipstick”) and even some of the superior songs like “Watch N Learn” and “Drunk on Love” have the bare minimum for it’s verses (like three bars maximum). And than there’s “Birthday Cake” a sexy urban jam that just cuts off after a little over one minute, and clearly (based on the second verse you hear during the fade out) it wasn’t intended as just an interlude. The half-ass-ness of the album really takes the overall feel down a notch, because songs will end and you’ll feel like it could have (and should have) gone on about a minute or so longer.
There is still enough to make the album enjoyable though, and it even offers up some of Rihanna’s best songs to date. The aforementioned “Watch N Learn” is a clear best of the album with it’s flirty lyrics and it’s breezy island-tinged production, it’s a bonafied hit waiting to happen. “We All Want Love” feels almost like a cheesy “world anthem”, but she makes it feel more genuine with her vocals. “Drunk on Love” sampling The XX may be slightly out of her range, but coupled with the excellent Stargate production becomes one of her best mid-tempo ballads. And “Where Have You Been” is a future club smash, and is way more tailored for the dancefloor than the radio as the majority is Dr. Luke’s crazy drum beats and tech effects.
“Cockiness”, “You Da One” and “Fool In Love” are also some stand outs as they all give Rihanna something new to experiment with. Most of the songs have their own saving grace, it’s just there’s not enough of them there to really sink your teeth into. At the end of the day, it’s a really decent album but you just wish Rihanna and company had spent a few more months in the studio perfecting (and finishing) it. If they did, it would have easily beat “Loud” and possibly her best album “Rated R”. As it stands, it’s the Rihanna album that had the best potential but just fell flat and is the epitome of a “rush-job”.