CD Review: Rihanna 

Rated R (Island Def Jam)

Rihanna's albums tell a surprising story: beautiful girl leaves Barbados for the big city and discovers her inner goth. Between her 2005 debut and this fourth album, the Jay-Z protégé and R&B star has gotten pierced and tattooed, and gone from pastel bikinis to fetishy black leather, from a disarming smile to a glare worthy of Grace Jones. Rated R arrives in the wake of Rihanna's widely publicized beating by Chris Brown, and the lyrics are dark (and surprisingly profane) — from "Russian Roulette" to "Stupid in Love," which contains references to "blood on your hands" and the line "Don't talk to me like I'm stupid." Unfortunately, the music and words, often written by others, don't always match. The more minimal, dubstep-like tracks bolster the Rihanna image and brand, but the piano-and-strings ballads are too generic by half. Rated R demonstrates evolution, but she's got further to go yet. Phil Freeman


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Dave Attell @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Fri., Oct. 28
  • Matt Johnson's Dueling Piano Fiasco! @ Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park

    • Fri., Oct. 28
  • Halloween Spooktacular: Superman at the Symphony @ Severance Hall

    • Sun., Oct. 30

© 2016 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation