Rihanna
ANTI


3.5
great

Review

by Jordan M. STAFF
January 29th, 2016 | 334 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Like a brand new person.

Anti really shouldn't have been this good. Its since deleted singles, "American Oxygen" and "Bitch Better Have My Money", were confused atrocities, unable to form any cohesive vision for Rihanna. More than that, they were bad songs, the former business as usual while the latter sounded an unsatisfying and forced attempt for the singer to create an ubiquitous 'banger'. Although some potential lay in "FourFiveSeconds", a competent enough pop tune that quickly enough turned repetitive and grating, it worked to form a dire prospective for Rihanna's latest, mired in trends and a desperate catch-all attitude. Not that any of her previous records were any better for solidifying a solid identity; however, it is worth considering what these singles were trying to convey. Was Rihanna suddenly a rockist nostalgic, eager to claim Paul McCartney and an acoustic guitar as legitimacy? Was she now eager to take on trap and keep the cash rolling in? Or, was she the same old person, making the same mistakes? Even on Anti's actual lead single, "Work", it seemed as if things could go either way. Buoyed by a middling Drake feature and a flow that copped equal parts Future and Young Thug, what could be mistaken for minimalism amounted to a promising yet vague attempt for Rihanna to redefine herself as subtle or subversive. Conversely, Anti, which dropped just a day later amid a botched rollout campaign from Tidal and Samsung, is everything that "Work" hinted at. It's subtle, it's oblique, and it's more than a little self-aware; as a result, it's also sort of brilliant.

Accordingly, Anti marks a significant shift away from the mainstream for Rihanna. Absent of any clear or obvious single, she now has more room to construct herself as an artsy individual. Opener "Consideration", the closest the album gets to the anthemic Rihanna of old, strips away any and all bombast, and subsequently builds the track back up with airy production and a SZA feature. It's unconventional and all the better for it, willing to challenge the notion of what Rihanna is supposedly capable of by being an impromptu shift away from obviousness. Its most immediate point of reference, Beyoncé, is accurate if not slightly off-base, unable to justify itself as much more than an afront to expectations that have dogged the Barbadian popstar's career. Strip away the marketing and superficial genre tags, and Anti is probably still a bit of a mess; regardless, it's Rihanna's mess, and nobody else can lay claim to it. True to that vision, it's the sort of album that takes songs like "Kiss it Better", a schmaltzy power ballad with a schmaltzy Nuno Bettencourt guitar part, and turns it into a robust album cut. It's the sort of album that lets "Work", its weakest and most obvious song, speak for it as its lead single. It's fearless to pronounce the old Rihanna gone whilst still dangling all her old hallmarks just shy over the masses, as in "Woo". In a rather lackadaisical rendering of Tame Impala's "New Person, Same Old Mistakes", Rihanna croons, 'Feel like a brand new person / I finally know what it's like.' After 7 painful years of servicing commercial interests, Rihanna sounds like a brand new person; nuanced, dynamic, and focused, Anti is Rihanna stripping herself of commercial obligations, finally taking flight.



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user ratings (324)
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
samkerner (4)
The clamor of the album's botched release is oddly fitting....

ryanfabermi (2)
ANTI-album....


Comments:Add a Comment 
theBoneyKing
January 29th 2016


18318 Comments


Great review. I'm moderately interested in hearing the Tame Impala cover, but other than that I have no desire to listen to this.

zakalwe
January 29th 2016


29922 Comments


"Strip away the marketing and superficial genre tags, and Anti is probably still a bit of a mess"

And there we have the key to all disposable pop music. This album serves no purpose, it offers nothing other than an opportunity for a pop clone to broaden her own personal vision overseen by the management and which means absolutely nothing to the 'consumers' who listen but don't absorb.
There is nothing to expand upon, the album glides through culture like a ghost.

2.3/5

Bin it.


zakalwe
January 29th 2016


29922 Comments


Ello dude. Nice review.

Pangea
January 29th 2016


3454 Comments


Gonna download today. Pretty excited

Digging: Autechre - Confield

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2016


3639 Comments


Lovely review, as usual. Always hated Rihanna's music but if this is detour for her then I might check it out. Also Talons gave it a 1 so it prob rules.

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2016


11770 Comments


Excellent review, kinda want to hear this now.

"accordingly, it's also sort of brilliant.

Accordingly; Anti..."

- I'd change one of those, reads weird having them so close together.

Digging: Alcest - …cailles De Lune

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2016


3639 Comments


Not really that weird. The word's repeat usage helps carry the point as he segues into the second paragraph, before divulging into more detail. Can see why it raised an eyebrow though.

Gyromania
January 29th 2016


29527 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

good writing arcade.



i heard higher recently and am in love with it. i think i might get this

Tunaboy45
January 29th 2016


16845 Comments


This album just passes by like a piss in the wind, leaving zero impact.

Digging: King Krule - Man Alive!

LotusFlower
January 29th 2016


12000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

its a pop album by a mainstream artist

Tunaboy45
January 29th 2016


16845 Comments


It's clearly trying to be more than that though.

LotusFlower
January 29th 2016


12000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

it seems like it's just trying to be Rihanna trying to deviate from the shoddy electronic/dance style of her last few albums with a chiller album, and it works pretty well.

anarchistfish
January 29th 2016


28102 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

rihanna following beyonce's precedent

Digging: PJ Harvey - Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea

torts
January 29th 2016


4300 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i don't think you can just say this is any mainstream pop album tho. yea, there's a few cuts on this that more mainstream pop-oriented, but for the most part this a lot more cohesive of an album than people are giving it credit for. ESPECIALLY when it's prior rihanna albums that are the focus of comparison

Tunaboy45
January 29th 2016


16845 Comments


@anarchistfish that's what I was thinking

DoofusWainwright
January 29th 2016


19991 Comments


should have reviewed Brett Andersen :D

Only joking, good review, album cover makes me think she wants to be arty like M.I.A

Peripes
January 29th 2016


84 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Anyone else had a huge déjà vu with "Love On the Brain"?

Peripes
January 29th 2016


84 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Sex with me, so amazing

Vodka and water, and a lemon

And a few other things I can not mention



srsly RiRi?

brandontaylor
January 30th 2016


900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

idk about work being the weakest song here, the instrumental goes off even if drake isnt needed. "yeah i said it" is pretty uninspired but overall this is her prob most cohesive album yet.

brandontaylor
January 30th 2016


900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thats true, but i did like that it was sort of a bridge between pon de replay rihanna and pour it up rihanna



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