Zurich University of the Arts

Zurich University of the Arts

Of course, it helped that the song was on a similar theme of love-induced mania, though Rihanna twists it to be about a love that's too good, rather than too bad. It almost sounds like a threat, and we guess that's kind of the point.

116 If It's Lovin' That You Want (Part 2). Diana Ross would approve. –ESH. That twisted, chattering sample provides the song's backbone, and Rihanna rides it like a champ, declaring "I want you to be my sex suh-lave," and "She may be the queen of hearts, but I'ma be the queen of your body parts." The gambit of fixating lyrically on an inanimate object as a relationship metaphor is pure Nashville, and Rihanna gives it her all, but something about it just doesn't click—the metaphor is too clunky, the inanimate object a little too obscure.

Best Moment: "A girl need a lot / The girl need some stocks / Bonds is what I got / Bonds is what I got!" Best Moment: We can't help but be partial to the "Where them bloggers at? sounds the most like a Rihanna song, showing just how inextricable the singer was to the sound of late-'00s pop music. "Easy for a good girl to go bad / And once we're gone, best believe we're gone forever." If only all of music/life could be so sweet. While it finds Rihanna spreading her wings to address big themes, it too often feels like a self-conscious attempt to write her into the American songbook of patriotic heartbreak—the one boasting Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” and Jimi Hendrix’ “Star Spangled Banner”—with wobbles and 808 kicks replacing guitar feedback. Ahh, there's the dance floor euphoria. Where’s the repeat button?
The track, which never made much noise in the U.S., finds Rihanna struggling as the object of another woman’s affection. Rihanna and upcoming R&B artist, SZA team up in the cool and edgy track that is Consideration. We love it when Rihanna’s songs are stripped all the way back to just her vocals.

One of the most compelling songs on Kanye's flawed 2010 masterwork, in which he summons all the world's wattage to shine light on his imaginary domestic troubles ("I slapped my girl, she called the feds," "Restraining order, can't see my daughter") over a hyperactive drum shuffle and some absolutely epic horns. That “Cake” already lurched between lascivious and predatory, a provocation anchored by “I’mma make you my bitch,” just made its rewrite as a grand Rihanna/Chris sexual reunion sound that much more cold and wrong.


And what's more—she never stops, not going a year without a new album since 2008, and filling around her LPs with countless re-issue bonus tracks, non-album releases and featured appearances. (A Notorious B.I.G. And of course, the song's primary chest-puff—of Rihanna proclaiming over and over again "I-I-I'm so hard / Yeah-yeah-yeah, so hard," while in essence totally meaningless, does kinda define Rihanna Mach II, cementing her evolution from underage songstress to unfuckwithable pop icon. Luckily, she did so with one of the best songs of her career, the murder ballad "Man Down," which involves Rihanna gunning a man down "in Grand Central Station, in front of a big old crowd," for largely unspecified reasons (though in the song's controversial music video, the murder is in response to a sexual assault). callout in the bridge, for obvious reasons. The Dream/Stewart beat is a zooming juggernaut, the coldest, most imposing thing this side of Timbaland's beat for Nelly Furtado's "Maneater," but Ri picks her teeth with Nelly vocally, getting into the red for lines like "I'm roasting marshmallows on the fire / And what I'm burning is your attire," and the chorus declaration of "I'm breaking dishes up in her / All night / I ain't gon' stop until I see police lights.". "), and Ri takes off from her opening line, "You had my heart / And we'll never be worlds apart..." And once that classic chorus hits—"When the sun shines, we'll shine together, told you I'll be here forever," c'mon, you know the words!—it was just about Game Over. But "Hole" ended up just as a Rated R bonus cut, because Timberlake's contributions to the song are limited to some minimum-effort backing vocals, and Rihanna's endless testifying to how she goes crazy sometimes is surprisingly boring (and really reminiscent of "There's a Hole in My Bucket"—not necessarily a good thing). “Towards the Sun” serves its cartoon concept, and might even inspire a quick falsetto sing-along if you happened upon it, but you’d have to be a truly obsessive Rihanna completist to seek it out. Rihanna appeared as a guest vocalist on a number of second-tier dancehall artists' albums earlier in her career, few of which have endured as classics.
This dubsteppy, self-empowered number is going to be the female savage anthem of 2016. Rihanna's electro flirtations were sadly limited to just a couple songs on Good Girl Gone Bad—perhaps she figured that Ciara had that territory covered on her own, which we suppose would be fair enough. For all of her bombastic EDM and pop singles, the softer sides of the singer have provided some of her most arresting moments. response to Ri's initial "I wanna know, boy, if I can be your shorty?"

Don’t @ us. Another Jay and Ri collab, though neither sounds like they're really trying their hardest on this one.

In retrospect, though, "Lovin" was an extremely worthy follow-up to "Replay," fun and breezy and sweetly romantic in the same way that Diana King's "Shy Guy" was a decade earlier. Throw in another solid hair-metal guitar solo and "The Last Song" is an extremely worthy power-ballad closer to Rihanna's most idiosyncratic album to date. With the possible exception of "Don't Stop the Music," Rihanna jams before "We Found Love" were always dancing-optional. Best Moment: Probably Rihanna's pronunciation on the "Then she put her hand around me waist" line in the chorus. A stomping (in more ways than one, and even still that's probably putting it too mildly) revenge track, "Dishes" was an early-ish sign in Rihanna's career that she had the potential to be the baddest of pop badasses, not just an innocuous hook girl. From the song's "Bohemian Rhapsody" fake-out intro to its rip-roaring guitar solo outro, "Fool in Love" is surprisingly fun for an excessively melodramatic bonus track, showing off both the vocal strength and larger-than-life personality developed by Rihanna over her still-young career.

Nice shout-out to bossman Jay-Z with the "army, better yet the navy" lyric, too.

Nicki and Rihanna's second song together is a whole lot less fun than their first—to come much higher on this list—and you have to wonder if Pink Friday's super-serious anthem of achievement was the best choice of track on Nicki's debut for Ri to guest on. “Towards the Sun” serves its cartoon concept, and might even inspire a quick falsetto sing-along if you happened upon it, but you’d have to be a truly obsessive Rihanna completist to seek it out. It isn’t a particularly memorable piece of her catalog, but Rihanna is nothing if not capable of always securing the bag. A touching sentiment, especially with Alex da Kid's booming drums sounding off underneath. Frustrating, but no less catchy for being so. Not a whole lot else to talk about on "Paradise," but "BASS SLAP!" Does anyone else feel like this song belongs to Coldplay?

Overall 4.2/5 stars.

Rihanna's Unapologetic lead single isn't a slam dunk smash like "We Found Love" or "Only Girl (In the World)" were, but in its own slow-burning way, it's almost as effective, moody and evocative rather than euphoric and addictive. Not another Jay-Z collaboration technically speaking, but the song is so littered with references to past Jiggaman hits—the "La, La, La" refrain from "Excuse Me Miss Again," the "better get it right" call-and-response from "Jigga My Nigga"—that S Dot may as well get a featured credit on the song. "No shirt, no shoes, no skirt, all I'm in is just skin" Rihanna matter-of-factly declares over a super-bass-heavy lurch, which would make the theme of the song obvious even if it was just an instrumental. / I call it murder / No love allowed") and makes the song a standout of the second side of Rihanna's latest. Best Moment: The way Rihanna spits out the word "sneak-ahs" in the "Let the bass from the speakers run through ya sneakers" line.

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