Rihanna's 'Unapologetic' Suffers From Melodic ADD
The edgy songstress who leaves mouths watering with her bold sex appeal and esoteric lyrics has graced us with her seventh album Unapologetic. As the title suggests, Rihanna is anything but contrite in her latest release — assuming she was ever in the past. Honest lyrics coupled with mind altering beats, both suggest just how bad but yet still vulnerable she can really be. A wise decision was made to divert from the redundant overuse of sexually explicit topics. Instead the creative minds fused on this project opted for meaningful, deeper, and more realistic subject matter such as love, loss, displacement, and freedom of expression. But Rihanna remains true to her candid nature and ceases to hold back in her music. Her style never fails to express the melodic ADD she possesses as the singer dabbles in every music genre possible. As always we commend her for the daring no-rules approach, but this time around the pieced-together album falls short of passionate compared to what has been previously work by the brazen artist.
Releasing her seventh album within seven years must be somewhat meaningful, but the number seven may not be quite as lucky for this pop diva. Unapologetic seemed lacking in ambition as well as direction. It’s as lost as the lyrics in her tracks “What Now” and “Lost in Paradise” suggests. Though reaching number one on Billboard charts with her catchy single “Diamonds,” the overall album appears uninspiring leaving us to wonder where has the beautifully orchestrated chaos gone? Individually, the tracks may take on a striking life of their own, but as a compilation it becomes incoherent at times and begs for some regulation. With numerous inconstancies with beat switch-ups and a few tuneless scores — namely the F-bomb-loaded track “Phresh off the Runway” and “Pour It Out” — she guides listeners to a hazy saunter down a stylistically bumpy road.
Rihanna holds this undefinable quality that makes her endeavors all the more intriguing. So as disorderly as it may seem, for some reason, we don’t mind the jarring ride all too much. In essence, the destination always promises an intoxicating over-the-top experience. Only Rihanna can have this affect on her fans as she embarks on an uncharted emotional journey through her music. This album features ballad, techno, hip hop, dubstep and pop influences. Along the way, listeners hear verses laced behind complex tones. Referring to the album’s sound influence, the Barbados-born singer says: “I love experimenting and I love working with different sounds and putting them together, so they’re not one-dimensional.” This we know all too well from the girl who is incapable of keeping the same hairstyle for more than a few months. She has always executed her menagerie of musical styles to cultish perfection. With each listening, this album grows on you, but there still remains a slightly unfinished mediocre quality as some tracks seem more like fillers than anything else — leaving them unmemorable.
Given the fact that she worked alongside outstanding producers such as Ne-Yo, Sean Garett and David Guetta, there are a few acceptable head-jerking tunes that make for a palatable listening experience. The pop duet with Chris Brown, “Aint Nobody’s Business,” will always raise eyebrows and disapproving comments. At this point, we shouldn’t be all that surprised. Heavily infused with lyrics that can easily be applicable to the pair, this song takes a few lines right out of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” as both belt out “aint nobody’s business just mine and my baby.” Rihanna gives a nod to another iconic R&B singer by borrowing Ginuwine’s infamous sexual innuendos of “Pony.” In addition, she teams up once again with Eminem as she presents listeners with the Middle Eastern vibe of “Numb.” While some other songs fall by the wayside, hats off to Guetta, who with YOLO, inspired club banger “Right Now.”
What will always remain notable is the way this pop diva proudly expresses every facet of her personality and stardom. Behind a hypnotic beat “Pour It Up” proves to the boys that not only 2 Chainz and Juicy J can flaunt their money and dish it out in the strip club. Never mind how over the top or how fast paced her lavish lifestyle may be, she remains a well rounded woman as she throws whatever she has in your face with no regrets. Yet, with her hidden bonus track “Half of Me,” she states: “This is the life I live and that's just the half of it” — proving that there is so much more to her than what is portrayed in the media. What a way to bring it all home by closing her album with a slow tempo ballad that sums up everything in her own way and letting us know that there is so much more to explore within her music.
It is not to be denied Rihanna has come a long way since Music of the Sun. She has grown as an artist and seems to be soaring through her limitless achievements. Known to be one of the hardest working female artists in the business to date as she surges on through her 777 globetrotting tour. So is it her overall success that she’s unapologetic for? Is it her brash statements in her lyrics for not giving a f**k, her dark bad girl persona, her in-your-face approach, or could it be her weird relationship maintained with Chris Brown after the physical and emotional bruises left by him? Nevertheless, we know that with every endeavor she takes on, she remains a woman who lives by her own rules. She never apologizes for who she is and what she does as she places before us a life filled with ups and downs and little bit of rocking out along the way.