Music Review: Rihanna's "Rated R"

12/03/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Gita Gupte

Rihanna hit the music scene with a bang in 2005 and spent the next four years doling out hip-hop and R&B-infused poptastic gems such as “SOS,” “Umbrella,” “Don’t Stop the Music,” "Disturbia" and “Take a Bow.” For the most part, the bad girl of pop music fed us songs that were catchy, rhythmic and favorites on the dance floor. But now, with recent release of her fourth studio album, “Rated R,” Rihanna has decided to show the world a more vulnerable side with her famous take it or leave it attitude.

For fans expecting a repeat of “Good Girl Gone Bad,” disappointment is sure to follow. “Rated R” is nothing like its predecessor album. It is not meant to be a wealth of up-tempo radio and dance hall hits; instead. it is a testament to Rihanna’s new-found maturity and inner strength exhibited in a series of dark and sometimes angry  tracks. After a tough year personally, it is not surprising that Rihanna would serve up a more soulful fourth showing. Following her very public domestic violence incident with former boyfriend and rapper Chris Brown, Rihanna has used her past as inspiration and given us a glimpse into her world.

Many of the tracks on "Rated R" hint at a broken heart, such as the seductively melancholy dark angel, "Russian Roulette," “The Last Song” and “Photographs” featuring Will.I.Am.  But Rihanna does not let heartbreak stop her. In the memorable and melodic track, “Stupid in Love,” she proclaims, “I still love you, but I just can’t do this. I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid.” We can guess who this track refers to, but at the end of the day, it is an anthem track for anyone who has found themselves lost in bad relationship and then suddenly woken up from the daze.

For fans looking for head-bopping beats, this album is not completely lacking. “Rude Boy” is a track that will find you shaking your shoulders. “Hard” and “Wait your Turn” are also mid-tempo beats that are sure to achieve single status and excessive radio play. These three tracks should quell the appetite of the casual Rihanna fan. And fret not, I sense that "Rated R" the remixes will be circulating soon enough.

All in all, this album is a departure from Rihanna’s past approach to music. But like most artists with a similar set of chart-topping singles and a series of well-respected accolades under their belt, this Grammy-award winning popstar is not yet ready to settle for banging out hit albums just to please a crowd. Instead, with "Rated R," Rihanna takes us for a drive through true emotion and brings with her a sleeper hit of an album. “Rated R” may indicate that Rihanna is no longer a good girl gone bad, but she certainly is a good girl gone real. At least for this album.

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