NEW ‘LOUD’ ALBUM REVIEW

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Less than a year after Rated R became her fourth global smash hit album, Rihanna is getting ready to unleash the follow-up – and we’ve had a sneaky first listen! The Bajan beauty was on hand to introduce five tracks from the album in front of assembled media at a very swanky bash in London’s West End. Admittedly our note-taking was somewhat hindered by the delicious cocktails on offer, but here’s what we could gleam from our scribbles…
The album
Rihanna explained that the title very much symbolises the energy of the record and promised that it will take us on a ride. She revealed that her primary aim was to create an album that people would listen to from start to finish, joking that there’s nothing more frustrating than having to get out of the shower to skip a track! She also promised that it will definitely make us dance and confirmed that the track Raining Men will feature a ‘fun’ guest rap from Nicki Minaj.
Only Girl (In The World)
We’re sure that you’ve heard this one by now. The album’s lead single sees Rihanna return to the electro-pop vibe of Don’t Stop The Music and showcases her considerable vocal talents.RiRi revealed that the video for the track will be released very soon and was shot just outside of LA. She explained that, while the shoot itself was a ‘gross’ because of all of the bugs and snakes on set, it had all been worth it. We were told that Anthony Mandler’s treatment was ‘unexpected’ and features some beautiful backdrops of mountains and hills. Speaking about the track itself, she said it was a ‘big push’ for her and that she was very keen to get the song’s ‘big vocal’ right, resting her voice for three days before recording it. Sounds like it was worth the effort!
What’s My Name?
Described by the lady herself as being a ‘young’ and ‘playful’ record, What’s My Name? has been confirmed as the second single from the album. Produced by Stargate, the track still has an electronic edge to it but it’s much slower than Only Girl (In The World). Notable for its strong percussion, the track sees Rihanna making her intentions known to the object of her affections, singing “Hey boy, I really wanna be with you, you’re just my type.” Oh, and she’s also recorded a version with Drake for the album!
S&M
Rihanna reckons this sassy little number is the loudest track on the album and described it as being ‘bad ass’. Quite! Arguably the strongest track of the night, it immediately grabbed our attention with its synth loops and catchy ‘na na na na’ intro. The verses don’t sound a million miles away from Disturbia and, despite being the work of Stargate, the production on the chorus reminds of David Guetta’s Sexy Chick. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but the lyrics sounded to me like: ‘Sex in the air / I don’t care / I like the smell of it’. Make of that what you will…
Cheers (Drink To That)
Dedicated to all the ‘semi alcoholics around the world’, Rihanna seemed a bit miffed about the mix that was played out on the night. Well, it sounded good to me anyway. Cheers is less danceable than you might expect for a track about getting merry on a night out and has an almost ‘rock’ feel to it. With its guitar riffs and hooky ‘yeah yeah yeah’ bits, it’s a great one to nod your head along to!
California King Bed
Another personal favourite of mine. Written about a relationship that’s gone sour, the verses are very stripped back, with just an acoustic guitar for backing and simple lyrics (‘Cheek to cheek / Nose to nose / Palm to palm)’, before kicking in for the chorus.Rihanna puts in another impressive vocal performance on this one and it’s got an amazing breakdown and guitar solo. RiRi admitted that she loves listening to this one and that it was one of the last songs recorded for the album.
Review by David Griffiths (4music.com)

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