Jennifer Lowe | Contributing Writer
For most of 2015, Rihanna fans patiently awaited the arrival of her eighth studio album. The “Rihanna Navy,” as her fans call themselves, anticipated the arrival of her new album, naming it “R8” affectionately. After constant delays and seemingly no solid information, 2016 began with no new music from Rihanna.
To tide fans over until the release of her album, Rihanna released short video clips in collaboration with Samsung that could be watched via mobile device. She called the videos “AntiDiaries,” and as each new video was released, fans were taken into a new room that delved them deeper into the experience Rihanna created.
Help with the promotion for her album was not the only thing Rihanna gained from her partnership with Samsung. The technology powerhouse agreed to sponsor her new album, as well as a world tour beginning February 26.
On January 28, Rihanna debuted her long-awaited album titled, “Anti.” The 13-track album was released exclusively through music streaming service Tidal and features three bonus songs.
The album artwork was created by artist Roy Nachum and features a picture of Rihanna as a child, with a crown over her head, holding a red balloon. Braille is also pictured on the photograph, as a poem written by young American poet, Chloe Mitchell.
Straying away from a typical radio sound, “Anti” embodies Rihanna’s own personality in each song. From start to finish, every track showcases her fun and carefree spirit.
The album starts off with “Consideration” where, with the help of SZA, RiRi reminds us that she does her own thing, her own way, and does not care what anyone thinks about it.
The song’s heavy bass coupled with SZA and Rihanna’s robust vocals makes the song one of the best on the album.
“James Joint,” the shortest song on the album, was named after the co-writer of the song, James Fauntleroy. Rihanna’s voice seems effortlessly carried as she describes a love that she herself cannot comprehend.
Though able to be misunderstood from the first listen, the complication becomes easier to comprehend, and her unorthodox view on love is very boldly represented.
The third song, “Kiss it Better,” pulls inspiration from Prince’s “Purple Rain.” The love song has a very dramatic, rock-inspired vibe that stands apart from the other Rihanna love songs her fans are used to. The backing sounds, intentially retro, soundly blend with Rihanna’s striking voice, and the vivid tone she utilizes.
In collaboration with Drake, Rihanna released “Work” as the lead single for the album. She takes us back to her island roots with a catchy beat that cannot be ignored. It has been six years since their last song together, “Take Care” and once again, the duo did not disappoint.
“Desperado”, completely switches up the vibe of the album. Giving off a Western feel, the song reminds the listener of an old-fashioned shootout between cowboys.
From this comparison, it is certain that this was a sound Rihanna was most certainly going for; her ability to entrap a listener into visualizing a certain scenario from multiple combinations of sounds is most highly projected in this track.
It should be noted also that appropriately, she mentions the word, “runaways” several times, as if she is talking about getting on a horse with her love interest and looking to ride out into the sunset.
“Needed Me” and “Woo” were made with the help of A-list producers. “Needed Me” was produced by DJ Mustard who has collaborated with the likes of Chris Brown, Trey Songz, and Tinashe. Houston native Travis Scott produced “Woo” and also laid down some vocals on the album.
Obviously stated, the production is one of the most prominent making points of the album.
Some could even argue that it is her best and most diverse yet. Regardless, “Anti” is definitely a dynamic and cleverly crafted project from one of the most notable singers of this generation.