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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Rihanna sings Loud and proud on her newest, upbeat release

After the dark and angst-filled Rated R, Rihanna is ready to have some fun again. On her new album, Loud, Rihanna sounds invested in lighter material, and while she's very good at the darker stuff, there is no reason to complain. Loud is one of her best albums. The strong, pop release will definitely get plenty of play.  As she says in the opening track, ""S&M,"" ""Outta box, outta line,"" the album explores new styles and crosses the modest line with some rowdiness. Although only 22 years old, on Loud, Rihanna presents herself as an experienced artist putting forth nothing but her best.

""S&M"" is a techno dance-hit that demands remixes. The repetitiveness drills raunchy lyrics like ""Chains and whips excite me"" into your head. Themes like these make her sound fierce, and the lyrics pick up on the sexual pervasiveness note that ""Rude Boy"" left off on.

 The second single off the album, ""What's My Name,"" has perfect musical chemistry between Rihanna's chops and Drake's smooth rapping sections. While not the most exciting track on the album, Rihanna masters and sells vulnerability in this track. It's a slower, more brooding number, but the beats are still sharp and sultry. Rihanna makes full use of her Barbadian playfulness as she challenges ""Hey boy, I really wanna see if you can go downtown with a girl like me.""

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""Cheers (Drink to That)"" is a feel-good song that will get the party started and ensue cheers from listeners. Her Barbadian accent and confidence shine through. She also sends a very clear warning to haters: She isn't going to be anything but herself.  The production on this track is flawless, and the cherry on top is a vocal rift from Avril Lavigne's ""I'm With You.""

Rihanna kills it with the techno ballad ""Complicated.""  The verses capture the conflicting mood of the song and help Rihanna soar into the emotional, big chorus. Her voice carries the empowering song. She taunts, ""I'ma stick around just a little while longer / Just to make sure that you're really sure you like sleeping alone.""

""Raining Men,"" Rihanna's collaboration with Nicki Minaj, is one of the album's showstoppers, with Rihanna adopting Minaj's flow and style, adding a unique flavor to the album. With its reggae and hip-hop swagger, it moves listeners to press the repeat button again and again.  The lyrics are fun and Rihanna is partying hard on her pedestal.

""Fading"" is a song about breaking up and the heartache that comes with it. It starts with violins before moving to a beautiful piano melody. Rihanna displays her lessons learned from her past relationships, most notably her publicized relationship and breakup with Chris Brown. This song is reminiscent of ""Take A Bow,"" especially when Rihanna demands ""Go on be gone / Bye bye so long.""

Anxious fans will not be disappointed with Loud. From the songs to the gorgeous cover art, it's a charismatic album that most will have no choice but to love. The album showcases Rihanna's dexterity, specifically because of her ability to move between slow ballads, club bangers and new musical territory. Loud is an amazing album that continues to spark one's curiosity of what Rihanna will do next.


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