REVIEW: Rihanna – “Talk That Talk”

RIHANNA / TALK THAT TALK / UNIVERSAL

In a span of six albums, Rihanna has gone from innocent to fearless to daring to provocatively indestructible. It’s just the last small jagged piece of her makeup isn’t exactly a good thing. The 23-year-old has a dominant set of vocal pipes, the type that shake an eardrum and rattle around the inside of your head for a good three minutes until a hook, the end of a verse or – as the cool kids these days put it – an unreal lyric stabs at what’s left of your day-to-day conscious. Yet even with so much potential due to a past and an optimistic future, Talk That Talk doesn’t break the hearts it should. There’s the typical, acoustic heartstrung R&B/pop infection that’s as genius as Rihanna’s wordplay (“We All Want Love”) but her topic of choice – sex, sex, and yes, sex – oversaturates her flirtation.

“Watch n’ Learn” boasts a pop dancehall touch while “Cockiness (Love It)” is a u-turn beaten with bland innuendos. “Where Have You Been” strips a ballad down to a club outcry but “Roc Me Out” and “Birthday Cake” regurgitate Rihanna’s intent to thrust sexual momentum into the open. Not that Talk That Talk misses a beat due to her focus; even Jay-Z and the rehashed the xx beat seem off, pushing lows straight into the earth while more crafted standards (“We Found Love”, “You Da One”) take flight. As a dedicated star, who’s fought for six years in counting, a break is in the rear view mirror; if she gets it, the sexual hunger may storm into something that’s actually blinding.

Download: “You Da One”, “Where Have You Been”

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