By Matthew T. Murray
I’m sorry Rihanna, but even though your album is titled, ‘Unapologetic’, I’d like an apology. Although I have rocked out to “Diamonds” in the shower more than I’d like to admit, the album missed the mark and each song was more boring then the next. You might be a hit-maker sex kitten, churning out #1 single after #1 single, but this album was as lackluster as synthetic cubic zirconia and certainly did not “shine bright like a diamond.” The only song that gripped my attention was ‘Stay’ for its beautiful melodic tonality and Mikky Ekko’s vocals – his voice sounds like 24-karat gold and reminds me of a lost generation of talent.
Contrary to popular belief, Rihanna isn’t talented. She is a Barbados bombshell who can croon her way to decent vocals and can shake it while not breaking it. Don’t get me wrong, I love jamming to Rihanna. Her 2010 hit, “Rude Boy,” still makes me want to bust a move and gyrate in the confines of my dorm room. But ‘Unapologetic’ was a far cry from a good album. The awkward dubstep drops were her struggle to stay relevant in a changing music climate. Although dubby (I just created a new word) the song “Jump,” had some climactic moments, but it just didn’t work.
It seems Rihanna tried too hard to challenge herself by straying away from the pop sound that made her famous. I respect her for thinking outside the proverbial box, but there are ways to step outside this box and still come up with good music. The album had moments of dark R&B (“Love Without a Tragedy”) seemed lost and lacked cohesion coming after a skanky, glorified stip-club anthem (“Pour it Out.”) To pay the songstress a compliment, I will say her recent ‘SNL’ performance was quite good and a remarkable change from her usual sloppy, one-note live performances. Plus, her references to ‘Seapunk’ and retro HTML graphics was visual euphoria. Rihanna, I love you for being the driven Barbados bombshell you are, but it’s time to give your fan base what they deserve – combustible clubby chart-toppers rather than dull, dark attempts at R&B.