Archive for the ‘drunk of love’ tag
Rihanna is the musical version of the Lernaean Hydra: “an ancient nameless serpent-like chthonic water beast that possessed many heads and poisonous breath so virulent even her tracks were deadly.” Throw away the “ancient nameless” part of that Wikipedia excerpt and I dare you to come up with a more accurate description.
“Serpent-like?” Check the tongue on the album cover. “Chthonic” can roughly be interpreted as “Earth deity.” Self-explanatory. “Many heads” is obviously a reference to her many hair colors. And tweak “breath” to “voice” to get a pretty accurate description of what she’s been doing to her would-be competition in the ferocious arena of Female Pop Stars Battling For Radio Play.
After 2009’s brilliantly pissed-off Rated R, RiRi toned down the anger and upped the sexuality on 2010’s Loud. I confess that I thought she’d reached the limit of how explicitly sexual she was willing to get, but Talk That Talk proves that I was very, very wrong.
The tracks on the 11-song, 37-minutes-and-change TTT can neatly be divided into three categories: “Bangers I will hear on the radio 50 times in the upcoming year,” “Ballads,” and “Filler that I would skip if not for the so-sexual-they-will-offend-my-neighbors-in-hysterical-fashion lyrics.”
In the “Bangers” category, we start with the album’s opening track, “You Da One,” which boasts a hook so infectious that Rihanna sounds dare I say sweet unironically belting lyrics like “My love is your love/Your love is mine” over a Dr. Luke beat. The next track, “Where Have You Been” technically should fall in a “Bangers” sub-group specifically aimed at nightclub DJ booths, as Ms. Fenty repeatedly asks some lucky man where he’s been all her life while backed by a beat co-produced by Calvin Harris and, once again, Dr. Luke (it’s interesting to note that the same week Katy Perry announces a one-year break from music, Rihanna drops a disc which jacks beats from the dude who produced most of Teenage Dream. Say goodbye to the peak of your career, Katy).
Continuing with the Bangers, “We Found Love” has already hit #1 in at least 10 countries, and with good reason. The next track, “Talk That Talk,” is Rihanna’s best since “Only Girl (In The World).” StarGate once again laces the Barbadian princess with one of those this-can’t-not-be-a-hit instrumentals that she coronates with one of those this-melody-is-so-swagged-out-the-lyrics-could-be-literally-anything hooks. Also, props to Jay-Z for his “I sell out arenas/I call that getting dome” line.
“Cockiness” is the first entry in the “Filler” group, a B-level Bangladesh beat salvaged only by lines like “suck my cockiness” and “I love it, I love it, I love it when you eat it.” “Birthday Cake,” the next track, is only 78 seconds long and is about “licking the icing off” Rihanna’s birthday cake. But it’s not her birthday.
“We All Want Love” is the first of two ballads on the album, and is remarkable only for one of the world’s most famous victims of domestic abuse and important symbols of resilience against its effects so unequivocally stating her desire to be someone’s “one and only.” “Drunk On Love” follows in the same vein but gets the “Banger” category because of its great adaptation of the xx’s brilliant “Intro.”
“Roc Me Out” (haha, get it?) is a less-furiously-paced (but just-as-danceable) sequel to “Rude Boy,” on which “I just wanna be loved” is “a dirty secret.” I love it. Definite banger. “Watch ‘n’ Learn” is a Caribbean-tinged mid-tempo tune that is the hardest of the 11 tracks to categorize. It’s not quite good enough to light up the radio, and it’s not quite slow enough to be a ballad, so it falls in the “Sexual” group, which I can justify with the “Just because I can’t kiss back/Doesn’t mean you can’t kiss that” oral sex reference.
“Farewell” is a gorgeous send-off that seems destined to replace “Take A Bow” as our Barbadian princess’ concert finale. Featuring production from Alex Da Kid (who produced “Airplanes” and “Love The Way You Lie” AND both of their sequels), the ballad may be addressed to a lover, but more likely her fans. Closing the album in such epic, sentimental fashion devoid of the dirty words littering the first 10 tracks astutely reinforces Rihanna’s image (artistically, but obviously yes physically) as beautiful before sexual, and the “I want to be on that level” standard for female pop singers in the 21st-century.