Bajan beauty Rihanna dropped her long awaiting album “ANTI” last week and social media went into a frenzy. Naturally, I, as well, was excited to listen to Rih’s new album. I’ve been loving Rihanna’s music since her “Pon de Replay” days.
What I noticed about this album is that Rihanna took risks. I’m a fan of artists stepping outside of their typical sound and trying something new. It keeps their sound fresh and up-to-date in my opinion. But usually when artists experiment with their sound it can either go really right or really wrong.
With “ANTI”, I would say it went right for the most part.
Most of the tracks were unique all on their own. “Consideration” featuring TDE songstress, SZA, was a chill, paced opening track while “Kiss It Better” was reminiscent of an 80’s power ballad. “Work” was a dance-hall, playful track where Rihanna takes it back to her roots and “Love on the Brain” gave off a more soulful vibe. Regardless of each track’s individuality, within the context of the album, they all flowed together.
One of my favorite moments on this album was when Rihanna covered Tame Impala’s–one of my favorite bands by the way–record “New Person, Same ole’ Mistakes.” That track is one of my favorites off Tame Impala’s latest album “Currents.” To hear a fave of mine cover another fave’s track was amazing to hear. The melodic, psychedelic nature of the song, oddly enough, fit Rihanna’s voice perfectly. She bodied that track and was pleasantly surprised by that.
What I got from “ANTI” was this was a peek into the different sides of Rihanna which explains why all the tracks have similarities but distinct differences. Take the cover art for example: it’s a picture of her as a little girl, on her first day of daycare. That alone suggests that this album is personal. To me, this album explores the different layers of her: her island roots, her tumultuous relationship with love, finding herself, learning from mistakes, striving for better, etc.
But hey, that’s my interpretation.
Overall, I really enjoyed this album. It’s been in heavy rotation since it was released last week. I would argue that this was her best album. Her sound has matured so much and I believe that’s evident on this album.
Honestly, my only critiques for this album would be, for one, on “Higher” I felt like she might’ve been pushing it in terms of her vocals. Rihanna doesn’t have a powerhouse voice and to me, it was clear on this track. At some points, she fell flat and it sounded as if she was pushing it way past her range. I liked the song but… to be honest, I just don’t think, vocally, it suited her voice.
Secondly, “Woo” kinda gave me a headache. The repetition in the instrumental… Eh.. I wasn’t feeling it.
Other than that, I loved this album. I think it’s her best one as of yet.
I give this album a 4 out 5.