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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 24, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Rihanna’s retrospective return excites

"ANTI"

Rihanna

After much anticipation and following a three-year hiatus, Rihanna has returned to impress with the release of her eighth studio album, “Anti,” on Jan 28. Though she took an extended break, it’s as though she never left because this album features her signature style that has been clearly reflected in her latest songs.

Like those in Rihanna’s previous work, the lyrics in “Anti” are honest, raw and upfront. But there is something new with her latest album. In the past, Rihanna has mainly crafted albums in the pop and hip-hop genres, but this project takes a somewhat different direction, featuring sounds that are evocative of the rhythm and blues genre. She also taps into a softer side, a morethan welcomeshift from her generally bold approach to music making.

On tracks like “Love on the Brain,” listeners find honest lyrics, soft inflections and a melancholy feeling. The single is in contrast to the rest of her album, as it features a different tone that seems like a departure from what fans have seen her produce before.

This same approach is seen in “Never Ending,” a track with sweet and soft notes that seem to emulate an entirely different style from what her fans have seen in the past. While it won’t necessarily be perceived as a standout among the other singles featured in the album, it definitely sets itself apart from the rest by being less energetic and more flexible.

“Work,” featuring Drake, is the first single that was released off the album in advance. This isn’t the first time these two artists have collaborated, and it definitely seems like it won’t be the last time since their voices sync very well together, which is especially the case here. This single has influences of reggae-pop and seems like a return to Rihanna’s musical roots that her fans have become accustomed to.

Rihanna had much say about the direction of the album because she had a role as an executive producer. Since she has been in the music industry for so long, Rihanna has both grown as an artist and influenced the industry itself in part.

Fans will enjoy listening to this album because it features a familiar vibe that they have come to enjoy and appreciate. Yet they will also discover a softer, rawer side of Rihanna that will inject something new and fresh into the mix.