Royal Reviews: Album Review Rihanna ‘Anti’

Feb. 8, 2016

By Logan Peaslee

Before reviewing Rihanna’s latest album, we have to address its seemingly endless rollout. I can’t recall an album campaign as confusing or drawn-out as this one. Aside from just being annoying, the lead up also created an audience with high expectations. And, for the most part, Rihanna’s “Anti” did not disappoint.

Buzz singles came and went: “B**** Better Have My Money,” “FourFiveSeconds,” “American Oxygen.” Then came the album’s lead single, “Work,” which confused (what about the three singles that came before it?) and disappointed (it’s pretty bad). So what happened to the buzz singles? They are not even on the album. “B**** Better Have My Money” is Not. Even. On. The. Album. WHAT? Not only is that song more radio-friendly than much of “Anti,” but its production would have felt right at home alongside the album’s 13 tracks. To waste that song is a bit of a head scratcher. And Rihanna decided to scratch “FourFiveSeconds” because apparently features by Kanye West and Paul McCartney are not enough to make a song worthy on “Anti”’s tracklist. But the absence of “American Oxygen” is understandable; that song is rather forgettable.

As a whole, the album has a mix of typical Rihanna and unexpected musicianship. Songs like “Kiss It Better,” “Yeah, I Said It,” and “Needed Me” give the listener the Rihanna we all know and love—pop production, R&B lyrics, and island vocals. But songs like “Desperado,” “Same Ol’ Mistakes,” and “Love On The Brain” are surprises; they are innovative yet classic-sounding.

Then, there is my personal favorite track, “Higher.” My jaw hit the floor when I heard this song. I didn’t know Rihanna could sing like that. I didn’t know Rihanna would appreciate a song with this much emotion and musicality. There is only one downfall to this song: it’s only two minutes long. It is both the best and briefest track on “Anti.”

Overall, “Anti” should not disappoint Rih fans. It blends classic Rihanna with some successful artistic experimentation. However, the album is far from cohesive and not as masterful as one would expect after the more than three years it took to create.

3 out of 5 stars