Clearly ‘Unapologetic’

Courtesy of DefJam

Releasing an ever-growing list of albums, which come out as fast as once a year, Rihanna has recently been questioned in regards to her future presence in the industry, as fans and critics alike question how long she can go without a break — living life recording and on tour.

But with the release of her seventh album, “Unapologetic,” Rihanna has proved that she is just that — unapologetic and herself, regardless of critics. The album’s title points towards Rihanna’s gritty, raw and authentic attitude even in the face of criticism. The songs on the album further instill Rihanna’s carefree nature, as she does what she wants with the lyrics and the music despite industry conventions.

The album makes use of a variety of genres, ranging from what sounds like a classic ’80s movie soundtrack to tribal dub-step. Bouncing from genre to genre, blending tempos and sounds, Rihanna shows great adaptability and a more creative side. There are some interesting musical choices in this album that show a little more forethought into the future of her music as well.

Rihanna has included a few songs that sound like they could be dub-step remixes ready for the club, particularly the mash-up “Love Without Tragedy/Mother Mary,” which has an amazing message to it with religious and relationship context.

Rihanna has also decided to make interesting collaborations in this album that bring different styles to her music. With artists like Eminem, Future and David Guetta, Rihanna broadens the bounds of the album and crosses into different territories that she hasn’t previously explored. There is one collaboration that brings an interesting edge to the album — Chris Brown.

One of her statement songs, “Nobody’s Business,” which she performs with Chris Brown, seems like it coincides directly with the album title. Rihanna sings to the world that their relationship is only their business, and one can’t help but think this pounds the nail in the coffin of the tabloid scandal that is their relationship. This album, fighting against the persona she’s been pigeonholed into and the genre that she constantly explores, acts as her vessel for her message.

Undoubtedly one of the hits that will take to the airwaves, “Jump” not only hints, but also essentially recycles, an amazing chorus from Ginuwine’s “Pony.” These familiar sounds, with their Rihanna twist, make her album feel like an old favorite, but that you get to hear again for the first time.

The album does, however, come up short in a few aspects. Granted, Rihanna has amazing vocal abilities. In this album, her vocal range is not stretched to the bounds that these cross-genre leaps would suggest. Her lower vocal register is virtually untouched — something that she may explore in future albums.

The album also lacks the cohesiveness of an overarching direction between the songs. Each song carries a deep meaning, but aside from the overarching “screw you” to her critics, the songs are not ordered in a way that would suggest a larger significance of the album as a whole.

Final Rating: 4/5