Erica Newman, Arts Contributor
Rihanna’s new album Loud is just as different, but not quite as flattering as her recent hair colour change.
Loud mixes her trademark Caribbean flare with her new “bad girl” image, which is a far cry from the girly “Pon De Replay” days. Rihanna so clearly wants to distance herself from her old, pop image that the first song on the track-list is the not so subtly titled “S&M.” Despite its name, S&M hits more like floss than a leather whip. There is something so wrong and paradoxical about Rihanna’s high registered, über feminine voice singing, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me.”
Even though Rihanna practically stuffed her new image down listeners’ throats with songs like “Hard” off of 2009’sRated R, her voice is anything but hard and continues to be inherently pretty on this new album.
“Cheers (Drink to That)” is mixed with the odd choice of an old Avril Lavigne song. However, despite its lackluster melody, anything with the phrase “Drink to That” and set to party music will surely be popular.
“Love the Way You Lie (Part II)” is essentially just a slowed down version of the Part I, making a subsequent song really unnecessary. And the slow ballads “Fading,” “California Bed” and “Complicated” shuffle by completely unnoticed wedged between club mixes.
Loud is, however, nicely varied with no two songs sounding the same theme. Drake and Rihanna’s vocals complement each other on the recently released single “What’s My Name”, and she excels letting her inner islander out on the reggae-inspired “Man Down.” And the first single “Only Girl (In the World)” is a solid club mix that will no doubt be mixed, chopped and dubbed down in the following months.
Still, though, the only thing that’s actually loud about this album is Rihanna’s desperate cry to be considered edgy.