Rihanna
Rated R


1.5
very poor

Review

by David Driver USER (80 Reviews)
November 23rd, 2009 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: What the hell happened to Rihanna? In the short two years since her monstrous breakthrough "Good Girl Gone Bad", her music has now suddenly spiraled into some kind of forced, forlorn and gimmicky mess.

After releasing a whopping eight singles in the past two years and absolutely dominating the radio with catchy hits like “Umbrella”, “Disturbia” and “Don’t Stop The Music”, it seemed like Rihanna could do no wrong: with her sexy look, her infectious hit singles and her numerous guest appearances on other tunes, it seemed like Rihanna was quickly turning into pop royalty. Well, with her new outing, Rated R, Rihanna officially ruins her momentum by abandoning the ways of feel-good, straight-forward, hook-laden pop, and replacing it with some kind of haunting, dark, gothic monstrosity.

For a first glimpse of Rihanna's confusing and gimmicky decision to become more edgy, one doesn't have to look much further than the album cover: it seems Rihanna went from being an overly-sexy starlet to someone straight out of the early 1980's punk scene. The opening track, “Madhouse”, successfully implements the unnerving tone and feel for the album, as an organ churns underneath some creepy haunted house sound effects, and an electronic voice tells those who are “easily frightened” to “turn away now”. Wow, this is going to be fun!

To be blunt, most every song on Rated R, ranges from absolutely terrible to completely average. This album is roughly made up of two types of songs, with the first being unnaturally brooding pop songs; all of “Wait Your Turn”, “Hard” and “Rockstar 101” sluggishly sleepwalk while metallic strings creep in the background and a lazy, uninteresting beat just barely keeps it all together. The choruses of these songs are so underwhelming and boring that it's hard to believe that this is the same catchy Rihanna that we knew from before. The most repugnant song on the entire album, however, is easily awarded to "G4L", simply because it scares the living crap out of me: Rihanna uncharacteristically sings about being a gangster and murdering people, and the entire song just comes off as unnerving and immature.

While most of Rated R features creepy pop songs, there are plenty of meandering ballads to go around. All of the ballads of the album are fairly average, as they showcase Rihanna's terrific voice, but the structures and progressions of the songs themselves are totally forgettable. “Stupid in Love”, “The Last Song” (clever title!) and “Fire Bomb” are somewhat interesting and have terrific vocals, but they all sound very uninspired and are absolutely nothing special. “Photographs” is yet another ballad, but instead of the chorus solely featuring Rihanna's outstanding voice, we're instead treated with annoying backup "vocals" by the auto-tuned tinged Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas. He also has his own verse as well, which adds zero excitement or purpose to the song.

Despite the heaps of mediocrity, however, there are some decent songs hidden underneath the wreck. “Russian Roulette”, which again is unnecessarily creepy, has a passionate chorus but lacks some charm. “Cold Case Love” progresses well and sounds like an authentic effort. “Rude Boy” is a well done, catchy pop song, and “Te Amo” is a subdued, Latin-flavoured number that proves to be enjoyable.

Sadly, though, there's really nothing here that meets or surpasses the standards that Rihanna has set for herself with the monstrous hits she's had over the past few years. Rihanna tried to reinvent herself and make something that's edgy, and I commend her for trying something new, but she forgot to include some good songs in the process. Her forced effort turns out to be very unappealing, as it really lacks any genuine sense of fun and largely just comes off as lethargic and depressing. In the end, Rated R is too dark and disturbed to be effective mainstream pop, and it’s too shallow and gimmicky to gain merit from any other music crowd, resulting in an album that only really has a few good tracks in contrast of a forced and forlorn effort.



Recent reviews by this author
Knife City Precious JewelRx Bandits Gemini, Her Majesty
...Of Sinking Ships The Amaranthine SeaBADBADNOTGOOD III
Killer Be Killed Killer Be KilledJohnny Foreigner You Can Do Better
user ratings (180)
Chart.
3
good
other reviews of this album
Jonathan Kroening (3.5)
An album deep with solid tracks, Rated R finds Rihanna exploring post-relationship emotions in a mat...

Terron Moore (3)
At times, the toughness is too juvenile, the ballads too immature- but at others, it's a great repre...

Jake C. Taylor (4)
Her most diverse and emotionally profound effort, but also quite possibly her most interconnected an...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Beauville88
November 23rd 2009


222 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

The other side of the coin, I suppose.

Ponton
Emeritus
November 23rd 2009


5793 Comments


This is a good review. I've never listened to Rihanna.

Greggers
November 23rd 2009


2375 Comments


"What the hell happened to Rihanna?"

Chris Brown is what happened

BrandNewBoognish
November 23rd 2009


1021 Comments


Would've been more interested in this if it was a 'rihanna reinterprets queens of the stone age'
record

erasedcitizen
November 23rd 2009


716 Comments


Fame and party drugs happened.

Parallels
November 23rd 2009


6641 Comments


"What the hell happened to Rihanna?"

PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC
PLEASE DONT STOP THE MUUUUUSIC

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2009


15035 Comments


please dont stop the music is a fucking great song

KILL
November 23rd 2009


71795 Comments


not rly

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

cvlts
November 23rd 2009


8955 Comments


good review David, but after reading this it seriously sounds like a 2.5 give or take. you only outwardly criticize two or three songs while the rest are either average or 'okay'. idk, maybe it's just the fact that 1.5s are usually rants lol

Beauville88
November 23rd 2009


222 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Eh, I gave it a 1.5 because there's only a handful of good songs in a sea of outright terrible ones. It also gets a lower score because the "darker" gimmick doesn't really work and that there are really no truly great stand-out songs.

If the album had her standard sound and only had a few good songs, I would have given it a 2 or even a 2.5...but the darker vibe on this album is just awful.

taylormemer
November 23rd 2009


4917 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Personally don't experience all the 'gimmick' about it, but watev.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2009


15035 Comments


album cover is pretty lo-fi

Chewie
November 23rd 2009


4532 Comments


careful guyz, its rated R

[img]http://www.joshilynjackson.com/mt/archives/surprised!.jpeg[/img]




thebhoy
Emeritus
November 23rd 2009


4459 Comments


only heard one song off this, but it's considerably of lesser quality then her past singles.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2009


28523 Comments


everytime i read your name i think you are a receiver on the packers

Digging: Chris Brown - X

AtavanHalen
November 23rd 2009


17927 Comments


FOOTBALL IS A SPORT

GO PACKERS

Also haven't heard yet but I think I'm gonna agree with =( more

taylormemer
November 24th 2009


4917 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I tihkn you will.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 27th 2009


15737 Comments


What the hell happened to Rihanna?


domestic abuse

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

Kiran
Emeritus
November 27th 2009


6001 Comments


wahey!

RandomEnigma
December 5th 2009


10 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Rihanna has an outstanding voice??? You repeat that a lot in your review! Sorry, her voice is good...but hardly outstanding and many people feel it to be too nasal!

It is a relatively good review though!



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy