Having cranked out an astonishing seven studio albums, one re-release, a bunch of remix EP’s in only 7 years between her debut and Unapologetic… Rihanna took a substantial fraction out of that time this time around, for merely one album. ANTI, in its rollout, should have really been called Anticlimatic. From these absolutely awful arbitrary promotional SAMSUNG #AntiDiary videos, the three lackluster singles which are nowhere to be found on the actual album, and that weird TIDAL exclusive leak release… Rih is now having to pay the price for having violated the law of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”.

 

What the Navy (the name for her fans), would have given for her to have just put out a hot catchy late summer Hot #1 tune and release #R8 in November, selling 200,000-ish on release week like we are used to… Instead Rih-Rih decided she is an ARTISTE: Handcrafted music! Autobiographical! Therapeutic…

 

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Rih, gorl, ain’t nobody got time for that. Well, 460 people did, which is actually the number of units pushed for Rihanna’s 8th studio album. You read correctly! Dawn Richard‘s Goldenheart sold about 7 times as much as ANTI did for its first chart week. While it has to be noted, Rih would have probably done substantially more if she had more than just a day to collect sales before the chart tracking week ended. Her project being tied to TIDAL did not help either for sure.

 

But to the actual content of the album: ANTI is really cute. It is a Tinashe album with a bigger budget. But Tinashe isn’t exactly FKA Twigs or Erykah Badu either… I mean yeah, Rih did edge it up a bit, but personally I don’t really hear ‘artiste’, autobiographical, ANTI… Where are the suicidal lyrics, the demonic background chants, the structure-less non-conventional 7 minute tracks? Well, we do have that, but that’s a Tame Impala cover, so that does not count, and if you are going to take from Beyoncé‘s blueprint, do it right. Ms. Knowles knows how to steal the records, before they even get released.

 

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I can do without Rih’s weird stuff like “Woo”, so I am glad she did not go overboard with that whole Kanye West/Yeezus left field mess. But then, why did she take so long and release the project in such dramatic fashion, when really the album is just a collection of modern Jhené Aiko, Kehlani or SZA (featured on the album’s first song “Consideration”) sounding songs? Why all this hoopla, when the album is mostly simple contemporary Urban pop. And that is not a bad thing… Not everybody can make the world stop with that digital drop, and that is fine, and while I do welcome progress and growth, I am not a fan of compromise and half-bakedness. So unless you really execute it perfectly, I suggest cobbler, stick to your trade. The album is neither an artsy best kept secret, nor filled with undeniable radio and club bangers. It is hopelessly stuck in between.

 

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One good thing this break has brought, is some of the most stunning vocal delivery by Rih. She really showed versatility and improvement in between tracks like the soulful “Love On The Brain” echoing “Unchained Melody“, the undeniably groove “Needed Me” and “Higher“, which would give Elle Varner a run for her money.

 

All in all, ANTI might very well be Rihanna’s best album… Only that for an artist that has been known for releasing nothing but back to back microwave singles, this feat doesn’t really hold that much value. Oh and “Kiss It Better” totally has to be the next single. “What are you willing to do?” Oh, tell me what your willing to do?

 

 

Pick Rihanna’s ANTI album on iTunes now!

 

 

 

 

Your Thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Malcolm Music