Music Feature

Review: Rihanna - 'Loud'

by Passion Rutledge
This is one messy (and at times) satisfying sonic sundae

Scenario: you're at the ice cream shop and there’s a kid ordering in front of you. They get all the good stuff: chocolate, caramel, nuts, gummy bears, cake, and brownies. When you see the finished product, mixed all together like that, you wonder if it tastes remotely as good as it sounds. It ends up being a bit too much. This Dairy Queen mess is like Rihanna’s Loud. Her fifth album has all the pop music goodies: a collaboration with Drake, another with Nicki Minaj, popular hip-hop elements, poppy rock ones, ballads, and party bangers. If a technique has garnered anyone mainstream success lately, guaranteed it makes its way on to this album.

Included is a very un-Rihanna soft acoustic number, “California King Bed.” She even throws in a dancehall track, her first since 2006, one of the album’s gems, “Man Down.” In an effort to please any and everyone who has ever listened to her, Loud doesn't wish to establish a distinct sound or musical identity. Equally as vibrant as her new hair color, Loud isn’t the kind of thing you'll either love or hate. Most likely, you'll fall somewhere in the middle. But not of your own free will. It’s just that something’s here for everyone. Your favorite song comes on right after the one you hate.

Like the person in front of you at DQ, you start to feel a little sick. Sweets overload. Mixing all the best parts of your favorite treats doesn’t make it the best dessert ever. Sometimes chocolate done well is sweet enough on its own. So by the end of it, you're questioning Loud’s authenticity, and you question who Rihanna is as an artist. And judging by the lyrics of “What’s My Name?” seems like she had to ask herself the very same quesitons. (Def Jam)

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