March 26, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 54°F


‘Talk That Talk’: Tracks take on lush love

Releasing six albums over a span of seven years, Rihanna is sitting pretty on a hit factory.

“Talk That Talk” reiterates what has become Rihanna’s bread and butter, a formula that includes songs about particularly raunchy sex, at least one soft rock ballad and a reggae-tinged club banger.

Some of the punch in the equation is lost in the repetitiveness of having three songs about sex without much variation. If “Talk That Talk” does not present sex as palpably as its predecessors, it does  open a discussion of something that Rihanna hasn’t mentioned in a while — true love. In “We All Want Love,” Rihanna describes love as a human right as she sings, “I feel so entitled/ Love owes me/ I want what’s mine” over a steady alt-rock guitar and dissonant synth chords.

By the end of the album, it becomes clear that the album tracks that work are ones that are new to the formula. Though the equation still produced a likeable album, perhaps Rihanna would fare better if there were no equation at all.

2 out of 4 stars.