Rolling Stone reviews ‘Talk That Talk’November 21, 2011
Four years and 10 huge hits ago, Rihanna released an album called Good Girl Gone Bad. She’s never gone back. Today, Rihanna is pop’s bad-girl-in-chief. You could call her the heir to the blues tradition of double-entendre salaciousness, except that, in Rihanna’s songs, double-entendres are dispensed with. Come here, rude boy, boy, can you get it up? Chains and whips excite me. Innuendo? That’s so 20th century. Rihanna, the definitive 21st-century hitmaker, prefers to talk that talk.
Rihanna’s sixth album is her tightest, most assured yet – a relentlessly catchy and danceable pop album, with first-rate contributions from top songwriter-producers (The-Dream, No I.D., Dr. Luke, Stargate). It’s also Rihanna’s smuttiest record by far. It begins with “You Da One,” a chewy stick of bubblegum with a juicy center. (“Shouldn’t have hit it like that/Had me yelling like that,” Rihanna chides.) Elsewhere, the lyrics are several shades bluer. In “Cockiness (Love It),” Rihanna coos, moans and unleashes slick dancehall-style rapping over a refrain that minces no words: “I love it when you eat it. . . . Suck my cockiness/Lick my persuasion.” Once in a while she stops the sex talk to unleash an “Umbrella”-esque wide-angle-lens ballad. But usually love takes a backseat to more immediate gratifications. Bad Girl Gone Badder.