Unapologetic: Rihanna sticks to the same formula for seventh pop album
Just a year and a day after her last release, Rihanna reveals her seventh studio album, Unapologetic. Over the years she has made her name through making catchy pop music which, more often than not, has a sexual undertone (see S&M and Rude Boy). Famed for her raucous shows and incredibly sensual dance moves, the Barbadian singer mainly focuses on image. This and the rushed nature of release are portrayed in Unapologetic.
Things kick off with Phresh Out the Runway, which is Rihanna’s take on grime and rap. The recurring mention of the title in between the verses becomes a bit too repetitive.
A disappointing opener but it quickly gets better with lead single Diamonds, rightly described by Rihanna as “happy and hippy”, and it showcases Rihanna’s actual talent as a singer not a performer, taking it back to her Umbrella days.
Of course it is fitting that, like Umbrella, Diamonds went to number one, making it her seventh time at the top of the singles chart.
Next is the first collaboration of the album. Eminem lends his recognisable voice and lyrics to the disappointing Numb. With no real substance to the song, and the beat a bit too slow, it ironically leaves you feeling numb. Even Eminem sounds bored on his short appearance.
The rest of the album does not get more interesting, with Rihanna focusing on a mellow tone of voice supported by some sort of electronic beat.
Jump for example is her turn at dubstep. Produced by Chase & Status, the song is probably one of the liveliest on the record and it could easily get people moving in the clubs. However, the albums’ finest moment appears in the form of her surprising duet with Chris Brown. Nobody’s Business caused quite a stir due to the pair’s past, but the song is brilliant. It’s like a revamp of her 2007 duet with Ne-Yo and it tells a story, which is something Rihanna needs to do more often.
The problem with Rihanna in general is the focus on image. Unapologetic’s album cover is, like all her past album covers, an image of her. On this one she is naked and it’s a shame because there is obvious talent there. She has sold over 23 million albums and she can perfectly sing different genres as demonstrated in the collaborations with Coldplay and Drake.
The Barbadian star can tell a story, she did it very well with Man Down, and this album is good but just the same as her last two. She definitely needs to reinvent herself for the next one; her body will age but not her talent and the last thing we need is another Madonna.
Unapologetic is released on 19th November 2012. For further information or to order the album visit Rihanna’s website here.