At this point Rihanna is pretty much the biggest pop star on the planet, so when she drops an album it’s a really big deal. No surprise, then, that her seventh album is launching with maximum fanfare. She performed two new songs this weekend on “Saturday Night Live”. Today she will board a chartered Boeing 777 with representatives of her management company, “Roc Nation”, her record label, “Island Def Jam”, and her fan club, the Rihanna Navy, as well as a select group of media (including Complex’s own Soo-Young Kim) to fly around the world and rip stages in 7 cities over 7 days. Welcome to Rihanna’s life.
Last Friday at the “40/40″ club in Manhattan we finally (after checking our cell phones and recording devices at the door, and donating to the Hurricane Sandy relief effort) got a chance to listen to the music itself. We did our best not to be swayed by the $18 glasses of wine or by all the fly ladies and industry poobahs in the building, or by the image of Rihanna smoking blunts filled with diamonds on a jumbo screen—not even by Rihanna herself when she strolled in the club near the end of the session—but our three word review of this album (if we wrote three-word reviews) would be “believe the hype.”
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