Colorful, catchy, lighthearted pop characterized her debut release, Music of the Sun, and its sassy follow-up, A Girl Like Me. She was a Good Girl Gone Bad on the hit album that spawned the Grammy-winning global smash “Umbrella.” Then it was all about the dark, somber fare for the confessional fourth album, Rated R. Now a more risqué, teasing Rihanna has emerged in time for the release of her sunny, sexy new album, Loud (Def Jam), arguably her most coherent effort to date.
It’s always something new with the singer (affectionately called RiRi by the countless fans that adore her), who continues her evolution from Bajan pop princess to glam pop-R&B goddess, these days sporting a head of fiery red tresses. The catchiness of her lyrics and the honey in her voice are probably the only unwavering elements one can pinpoint when talking about Rihanna’s growth and success. And speaking of catchy lyrics, there’s enough hot stuff on Loud to totally rule radio. You have to give Rihanna credit; the girl knows how to drop a hot single to not only blaze the airwaves and video playlists but also stay on the tongues of her loyal listeners.
Boasting lyrics like, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me,” the album’s rumored third single “S&M” (one of three StarGate-produced tracks) sets the tone for the overwhelmingly sexed-up vibe here. “Skin,” with its deceptively smooth air, is a vicious, in-your-face bedroom romp on which Rihanna purrs lines like, “You know I like it rough.”
As for the guest spots, fellow sexpot Nicki Minaj does not disappoint on the finger-snappy, dancehall-influenced “Raining Men.” Drake shows up for the funky, flirty “What’s My Name?” (which currently sits atop the Billboard Hot 100) while Eminem is featured on the sequel to their domestic drama hit “Love The Way You Lie.”