I don't really have a Rihanna story, and I'm still unsure if she's actually Good. I just reallyreally seem to enjoy a lot more of her discography than a normal person should. And now she's back in black for he eighth(!) album, "ANTI," looking like an extra from The Matrix. We can tell she's being a Serious Artist for this one because of the A3 "poem" included in the packaging, as well as all the sketchy "polaroids" of Rihanna staring at a wall with blindfolds on. Seriously, what is she trying to be???
What follows is arguably the first Rihanna album that you'd be better off listening to on your headphones rather than blasting through the living room while you fold your laundry. The songs are insular and domestic and not really "for the clubz." There is an inexplicable and pretty faithful Tame Impala cover and not one but three romantic/pornographic slow jams at the end. I'm a pretty big fan of the lead single 'Work," where she turns the title into a weird mantra that just devolves into gibberish. Underneath it is a beat that never quite takes off- the tension of it works pretty well, I think. At one point Drake shows up, but he actually doesn't add a lot here. RIP Drake guest spots. Maybe now I can write a blog post without having to mention Drake.
The only real clunker is "Woo," a wannabe Portishead/Weeknd noise thing that goes nowhere and does nothing interesting. Does it also have the worst song title in pop history? Yes. And that's including "Laffy Taffy" by D4L. She also insists on employing those cheesy electric guitar wails, here heard in "Kiss It Better" and in the past all over "Rated R."
I gotta say, I find that Rihanna is an interesting lady. There's definitely a "no fucks given" vibe, but who can really tell how foreals it is? I feel like I want to hear her songs and laugh at all her throw-a-phone-in-the-air-off-a-yacht-to-shoot-it-out-of-the-sky personas, but if I go too far down the path of knowing Who She Really Is it will ruin everything. When Miranda July interviewed her, the most interesting story came out of her conversations with the driver there and back. Maybe that's why the album is called Anti- to care about what she has to say is kind of missing the point.
Standout tracks: Consideration, Work, Desperado, Yeah I Said It
ANTI BY RIHANNA GETS 7.5 CHOKERS OUT OF 10