Rihanna. An Overview Review. 2005-2009

. Sunday, 22 November 2009
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To think that once every one's favourite pop-star that is now a fashion icon with over 12 million records sold, was once a long-haired, kind of bland, Beyonce-wannabe, with a maximum 2 years of success in the music industry.

To celebrate the release of Rihanna's highly anticipated, latest album: Rated R, which is released tommorow (UK). UpdateTheBeat has written a quick overview of each and everyone one of Rihanna's previous three albums...

Music of The Sun. C
Rihanna appeared in the year of 2005 out of nowhere and immediately hit radio and TV faster than you can say "DefJam", probably due to her Ashanti-esque vocals and lyrics, and her friendly Barbadian face.
"Music of the Sun" opens with the great, smash hit "Pon de Replay"- a fun, base-influenced club single. Rihanna's young voice copes well with the uptempo UK #2, and I feel her voice should be left for these sort of songs. Second single "If It's Lovin' That You Want" is okay, but nothing special and is actually quite sleep-inducing. The rest of the album is so samey, I would just be writing the equivalent review over and over if I was to scrutinise each song. Each song has a very strong Reggae-influence which I feel is a great advantage when used in the more uptempo songs.
However amongst the strong accent, and childish lyrics there are some a few gems; "That's La, La, La" is a welcome surprise with it's hip-shaking bass line, and no meaning, and the unreleased third single "Let Me" although sounding slightly too "Pon de Replay" is successful in becoming probably the most danceable song on the whole album with it's head-nodding beat, and pleasing vocals produced with ease from Rihanna. "Rush" is pretty good too.
Highlight: "Pon de Replay"

A Girl Like Me B-

Rihanna's sophomore album- "A Girl Like Me"- commences with her first Billboard Number #1, and club-stomper "SOS". It's a sort of revamped, new, unique way of thinking about "Pon de Replay" and again it's as catchy as hell. Her voice had definitely matured since her last album, or maybe it's just that more effort has been put into the production. No. It's surely the more established vocals that make this album more successful.
The Caribbean influence is still present, but is not featured in all the songs. In the Reggae-overloaded "Kisses Don't Lie" Rihanna shows her native side, and the more relaxed third single "We Ride" talks about a painful relationship which surprisingly the Barbadian Princess pulls off well, although I'm not sure if it's single material.
Second single, "Unfaithful" is one of my favourites from the album although receiving mixed reviews. The secretly dark ballad cleverly uses multiple metaphors to talk about an affair she is having. However I agree that her voice sounds strained and under-experienced in some areas, but this is easy to overlook.
The least successful songs on the album, are the tracks that follow in the footsteps of "Music of the Sun" like "Dem Haters" which embarrassingly uses text language to appeal to a more R'n'B audience. Several forgettable songs follow: "Final Goodbye", "Selfish Girl", and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love". Sean Paul collab "Break It Off" is fun, with a nice synth beat and cheeky lyrics that is forgettable fun- think a cheap "Baby Boy" (Beyonce).
Highlights: SOS, Unfaithful.

Good Girl Gone Bad A-

By now, Rihanna had established her rightful place in the music industry. She worked with some amazing people on "Good Girl Gone Bad" like Ne-Yo, and Jay-Z, to make sure she had more than one Number 1 this time round.
Gone are the Jamaican vibes, and childish lyrics. Rihanna's third album- as the title suggests- is about a new grown-up 'bad girl' RiRi who is now prepared to sing about sex "Shut up and Drive", and rebellion.
Kicking off this ace album is the lead single "Umbrella" featuring Jay-Z. The perfect single for Rihanna. I love the quirky hi-hat, and floundering bass line, but best of all who could forget the amazingly, annoyingly catchy tag line. Every time somebody says Umbrella it's automatically followed by "Ella, Ella, Ella!"- amazing! The song stayed at Number in the UK for a staggering 10 weeks!
"Push Up On Me" follows with it's strange 90's synthy beats and it sounds like a "SOS" demo- not finished- totally forgettable. Every one's favourite dance club number "Don't Stop The Music"- the fourth single- is very trance-y and fun and is a timeless classic in clubs across the country, although it can become slightly repetitive. "Shut Up and Drive" and "Breakin' Dishes" share a lot of similarities. They are both rebellious, upbeat, and sexy. Perhaps SUaD is a lot more erotic; everybody knows what it's about. I prefer BD although I would gladly listen to either.
"Hate That I Love You" is the first ballad on the album, and it features musical-mastermind: Ne-Yo. As RiRi says herself it's incredibly "deep" song, but I much prefer "Unfaithful".
"Say It" and "Sell Me Candy" aren't actually that good, they're very forgettable- fillers. I love the continuous, slightly over-powering drums in "Lemme Get That". It reminds me of Breakin' Dishes- this is the direction she should be heading in.
In the re-release version- Reloaded- "Rehab" follows. The simplicity of the track is its main appeal, not to mention the fact it was written by Justin Timberlake. It's one of my favourites not only on Reloaded, but overall. It didn't get the attention it deserves.
"Question Existing" is nothing special, along with the title track. The Unfaithful type ballad "Cry" is successful, but is shadowed by the greatness of "Take a Bow". Again using a simple idea TaB becomes absolutely amazing: one of the best pop ballads of the year. Ending this brilliant is "Disturbia" and "If I Never See Your Face Again"- a Maroon 5 remix of their original song. Both-again- are a pop-lovers dream. Disturbia with it's freaky, wacky "Bum, Bum, Bum" and IINSYFA (!!) with it's bouncy beats and energetic vocals.
Highlights: Umbrella, Breakin' Dishes, Rehab, Take a Bow, Disturbia, If I Never See You Face Again.
So there we have it. My extensive review of everything Rihanna has released (album wise). Hope you enjoyed. Can't wait for "Rated R" now!

Russian Roulette.