Release date: November 21, 2011
Label: Roc Nation/Island Def Jam
I discontinued my interest in anything that had to do with Rihanna since her dark transformation from a “Good Girl Gone Bad.” Let’s just say that I’m not buying the ‘this is really me now’ bit she’s blabbering about. Now and then she does release a song that sounds like an okay track and I can give her that much credit, but her music is still far from ground breaking. However, the pop star never ceases to entertain with her antics; whether it’s gyrating on girls at a carnival, or grinding on stage in tasteless outfits. With all that foolishness aside, I would like to divert my attention to Ri-Ri’s latest effort, “Talk That Talk.”
Rihanna’s 6th album takes sex to another level. It’s true she’s always performed sexually suggestive songs before, but “Talk That Talk” is the raunchiest of them all. Each track is either coded or bare; it’s a matter of how well enough the listener can interpret the lyrics. There’s plenty of dance numbers, mellow r&b/pop balancers and a few island inspired to fill the mainstream airwaves. Too bad there’s hardly anything of great substance. Allow me to take you through Rihanna’s newest effort and highlight the highs and lows manifested in each track.
“You Da One” is one of the album’s saviors. The song captures the singer’s roots as well as illuminates some laid back r&b vibe. I like how sweet the words are, and the hook is really catchy. The part I liked the most is that break down where a dubset effect kicks in towards the end. It makes sense that this would be a single from the album. The song’s about loving someone completely and not being afraid to commit to that person. It’s not as annoying and generic as her first single “We Found Love.”
“Where Have You Been” is another work of Calvin Harris that’s just as lacking in lyrics, but not as irritating. If you’re looking for something to rock to in the club this is definitely your jam. But if you’re seeking something with depth please stray away. The way this track is recorded it almost sounds like the remix of the original version. Its concept emphasizes on longing and searching for someone to not only satisfy but to fulfill. This is actually one of the more nicer dance numbers on the album.
And here comes the song that I’ve never gravitated towards since its conception. “We Found Love” should have been one of those songs swept under the rug and left there to rot. The key part of the song is the opening spoken words, besides that, there’s nothing else memorable. Calvin Harris in my opinion doesn’t create but borrows. Every song he works on sounds the same. And that’s a real shame.
As much as I’m not really a Jay-Z fan, I kind of like his appearance on “Talk That Talk,” no matter how dirty it is. The track is another gem on an album bouncing up and down like ping pong balls. The beat does sound a little familiar to “Rude Boy” and probably because it’s the same producer. Even the hook and bridge sounds borrowed from the singers previous hit. However the case, the song’s alright, sampling The Notorious B.I.G’s “I Got A Story To Tell.” As of what exactly the album’s title is about, as if that’s not obvious: sex, sex, and more sex.
As disgusting as “Cockiness (I Love It)” is you can’t help but enjoy the hypnotic beat. This track screams Caribbean influenced. There’s plenty of self-absorbance emphasized in the lyrics but it’s all involving the matter of taking charge and being sexually satisfied. What a complete 180 degree change from her “Music of the Sun” days.
The-Dream produced track “Birthday Cake” is just as sexed out as the previous, it’s safe to call it a continuation no matter how short it is. The song’s bold and explicit; Rihanna cares not of offending and concentrates only on receiving the ultimate pleasure. This is far from my taste and is undeserving of a second play.
Thankfully “We All Want Love” comes to rescue a failing record. This is a strong track on its own and could pass as another single. The words are passionate and believable; I’m actually starting to listen to what the artist is singing about and allow myself to be taken in by the story being told. The song’s about yearning for real love. Ester Dean did right on this one.
Rihanna overwhelms us with her repetition of “Drunk on Love” but that only stresses on how overtaken she is by love. This is a sweet song and Dean continues at her best in penning these mellow pop ballads. You’re literally drenched by the rocking beat and caught by the melodies. While this is a really good song, I strongly believe there will not be another as note worthy as this and the previous track.
“Roc Me Out” proved me wrong. However, this is sounding like another track borrowing the musical arrangements of “Rude Boy.” Still, I like how hard rock the sound is. It’s a great mixture of pop and electric waves; the producer did a great job in the composition of the beat. The singer seems obviously obsessed with love and getting slammed. I can interpret nothing else besides that fact in each and every single one of these tracks.
Rihanna decides to put on her leadership cap on the reggae inspired “Watch n’ Learn.” While this has a really good beat and nice harmonies, it’s so sexed up that it almost suffocated me. Can she sing about something else now? Or rather, can her songwriters please come up with some other concept? Because there’s absolutely nothing relevant about this track and its other grubby counterparts.
Dean hooks up with Alex da Kid to cook up a very delicious ending song. “Farewell” is the most beautiful treasure on this album. When you think of emotional, intense, electrifying, significant, and heart warming, this is the song that should come to mind. This is and will forever remain my very favorite song on this album. What I love about the song is how different it is from the others. This is the only one with a strong concept not relating to sex, only a bittersweet love. It’s about being responsible and acceptable to changes in the relationship and finding the strength to let it go; basically about maturity. This is a breathtaking way to end an undeniably distasteful album.
In conclusion, the first track was a great opener but it lied to me. The middle of the album gave a bitter taste in my mouth; however, the end was more relieving. “Talk That Talk” sounds far beyond nasty, it’s a horny woman’s way of releasing her sexual tension. The album’s also the end result of a singer who’s over worked and in competition with herself. Take it easy Rihanna, and put some more effort into your artistry, because this album sounds to me like you and your team are running out of sensible songs to create. “Talk That Talk” gets a rating of 2.9/5
01. You Da One 02. Where Have You Been 03. We Found Love 04. Talk That Talk 05. Cockiness (I Love It) 06. Birthday Cake 07. We All Want Love 08. Drunk on Love 09. Roc Me Out 10. Watch n’ Learn 11. Farewell
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Images taken from Rihannanow
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What do you think of “Talk That Talk?”