Spotify Listen Link: Rihanna – Talk That Talk
- Best Pop Solo Performance, "Where Have You Been"
- Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, "Talk That Talk" (Feat. Jay-Z
- WIN: Best Short Form Music Video, "We Found Love" (feat. Calvin Harris)
Ah Rihanna. We're back for more of our love-hate relationship. I find some of her songs so awesome and downright intoxicating, and others I just can't stand. Also, there was that whole Chris Brown thing which makes me question her mind a little… but she's a damn talented lady.
"You Da One" kicks things off. Seems happy enough. I mean, he obviously, uh, pleases her the right way. But even musically it sounds like a happier track, complete with some island accented melodies. Not a bad way to start things off really.
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All right, confession time. "Where Have You Been" is one of my favorite club songs in recent memory. The beat is just incredible and she's got some great notes held out that are perfect when you're letting loose on the floor. Not that I let loose very often. But Rihanna is one of the recent women to be famous for her ability to basically control the playlists of clubs, and this is no exception. It doesn't even totally suck to listen to outside of the club.
"We Found Love" (feat. Calvin Harris) is the other one that I didn't entirely hate as it grew on me. She may have "Glee" to thank for that. Regardless, it is a really uplifting song in the love sector of life, and another great dance number. The video you'll see below is the Grammy WINNING video, by the way. Kind of twisted when you actually see it. Pretty sure I adored the video 100x more before I watched this.
| |The title track of this one, "Talk That Talk" (feat. Jay Z) is one I really really want to like, mostly because Jay Z is the man. But it's raunchy, and I just feel like this whole damn album is going to be themed with the like. I just don't get the point. Are you that either sexually frustrated or sex-crazed that you have to write an entire album on it? I somehow can't get it through my head that a concept album on the subject is happening, but maybe I'm just nuts.
"Cockiness (Love It)" just carries it on. I mean, one of the opening lines is her saying she wants him to be her sex slave. That sentiment aside, I just don't like it musically either. The vocals sound like they're completely played off a synth, and the beat is just mind-numbing in the worst way.
Wait, another song started? Because I have some trouble differentiating "Birthday Cake" from anything else. It's a short interlude song of sorts, and uh, very straight forward. Moving on.
"We All Want Love" starts off innocently enough. It has a sound like some of the best popular non-dance music today (in other words, it sounds like Fun.). She's actually singing and doing it well and seems to have feeling behind it. Okay, I think I can support this one Riri. The guitar's light and supportive instead of trying to create noise to dance to. And there's no video to ruin my perception of what seems to be a generally good song!
At least the sentiment's kept up and understandable as we move in to "Drunk On Love." It's a little more hardcore than the simple statement of want, and the beat gets a little more heavy and steady, but that's not a bad thing. As far as I can tell, she's finally broken the sex-themed streak for something deeper. She also is being honest in a completely different way at this point.
"Roc Me Out" might have me eating my words. Though, this one sounds more focused on dancing than sex. At least there's some subtlety to it instead of flat out demands. And there's a chorus that could be super catchy if it hits the mainstream clubs. All right, acceptable, sort of, morally (at least be comparison). It's something that's a little more fun to let got o when you're out, though I'm not sure if I necessarily care if the DJ spins it.
I always liked Rihanna's music because it didn't some like everyone else. But "Watch n' Learn" does sound just like everyone else. i almost figured a commercial for something else had some on or I'd hit some other artist by accident. At this point, it's just kind of dull and I'm waiting for the end. I guess it's sort of a lesson, and there's a back and forth or sort. Eh, what am I even talking about? Just trying to fill up blog space right now.
"Farewell" is our final song - surprise, surprise. Actually this does seem to have just a little more heart and build up of intensity and meaning. She's understanding of the impending end of the relationship and knows it's better that way. There could be, in theory, a lot of uses for this song, from relationships to graduations. Hm. Okay, well, never would have heard this if it were not for the album listen, so yay for blogs revealing hidden treasures.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Where Have You Been"
- "We Found Love"
- "We All Want Love"
- "Drunk On Love"
Well, that was interesting. I didn't expect the album to wind up being remotely all right given where it started. She just seemed to be so completely crazed with sexual acts in the opening music that I couldn't handle it. I just don't see why am entire album would ever have to be based on that as a subject. There's depth to that subject, even, that she never touched on until pretty far in. But there are some moments that, when she gets it right, she hits a bull's eye.
No lie, I really just want to know what the big deal here was. I like Rihanna a lot, but I never saw her as someone capable of making a great complete album.
The Grammy nominations from this album included:
I do really like Rihanna as a person for her uniqueness she brings to R&B. Her voice alone is something we just haven't heard before, thanks Barbados. It's got a completely different sound in inflections alone, giving more different tones and phrases to her music that effect what we hear in the end. For that, I think, I enjoy what she's got to offer.Her previous albums had a darkness to them, whereas this is much more pop and up-tempo for the clubs and party girls in all of us. It reaches back to her earlier styles, but in a new and more mature way that allows her to grow as an artist.If you want to follow along, here's the complete album link from Spotify.Speaking of that more mature sound, we kick things off right away with "S&M." I have a few friends who loved the sound of the song, and didn't realize the subject matter until a few listens later and were, quite frankly, shocked. There's also a remix of this done with Britney Spears that's worth checking out - it's actually what I'd prefer to the original. Regardless though, here's the single's released video:
- Album of the Year
- Best Pop Vocal Album
- Best Rap/Sung Collaboration - "What's My Name?"
It's a great kick off to an album musically - it pulls you in and gets you moving immediately. I think what makes this ultimately appealing is how light and sweet the verses sound until she launches into a harder chorus. The thing that I'm stuck on is that I don't get if this is her letting herself out there of if it's just a fun song that she probably had a blast performing. I mean, I guess we're all supposed to let our freak flag fly from time to time, right? And if you were curious, there is a sample in there from Depesche Mode's "Master and Servant." I mean, obviously that's what everyone was curious about most.
The one song to be nominated by itself is the second track on the album, featuring Drake, "What's My Name?" I found this particularly annoying for the longest time, and still don't expect it to be a favorite off the album. I think it has been the melody I haven't been able to stand for this long, but maybe the song just doesn't hit well with me.
Admittedly, the relationship in the video is really cute. It's annoying to me when I liked the rapper more than the choruses from the singer. The "na na na" parts are what drive me up the wall I think. Another cool note from the video though - there are little moments when we focus in on a percussionists on the street, not necessarily playing, but who contributed somehow to the song, and we see a little later around what I can only descrive as a red hot fire. I like that they tried to show the regular relationship alongside the party atmosphere of the music. It's not a bad track to sit through this once.
"Cheers (Drink To That)" came on one night in my car when I was driving home, and it was my first experience with it. Immediately, I recognized the lines from Avril LaVigne's "I'm With You," a song I remember singing out with my best friend in 8th grade, as we were angsty wonderful punk kids. :) Now, with this new song, I think I'll be singing it with my roommate as we head out this weekend on the town.
This is that interesting voice I was talking about at the start of the blog. That accent brings a very unique sound to the whole thing. And I think I've accepted by now that the bad girl side of her isn't just a publicity act - she's just young and fun. I think I'm accepting that because I totally want to party with Rihanna and her crew, lol. Seriously though, there's something infectious about this song for us 20-somethings. You're not being cheesy enjoying it, just acting your age.
"Fading" is the first non-single release we've come across on this one, so a fresh song will be awesome to experience. Remember that Lonely Island song she guested in? That's what this sounds like to me, just melodically though. It's a relatively short number with a simple beat and about letting go. It's a nice little interlude sort of. Enya is actually sampled in this one, with her song "One by One."
Back into the charters now, we have "Only Girl (In The World)," probably one of my favorite club indulgent songs.
Seriously - what girl wouldn't want what she wants here? I mean... yeah. A guy to be that completely into you.. okay, I'll think more on that when i'm not typing something for the public. But trust me boys, see how happy she is? Follow instructions. Ahem. Uh, so, the music. The beat's pretty great, and it perfect for a dance floor without getting into some insane remix.
The next song is probably my favorite from the album. I stumbled upon this one on the radio late one night as well (clearly I don't follow Rihanna's career and new releases closely enough), and I think I started crying. Partially, it was the music itself. There's a gentle, yet rock, feel to the song. And it's slightly heartbreaking just by her vocals alone.
So this was my first experience with the video for a song I think I've listened to about 100+ times. It still evokes some kind of emotion, which is saying a lot, unless I've just been stuck in this thought that long. Anywhos. The colors and aesthetics as a whole are so incredibly beautiful, and compliment the music perfectly. The song is so sad though. There's a wedge being driven between them and no one can truly figure out why. She just wants the confirmation that he loves her, right?
Funny thing here is, I don't remember "Man Down" as a single, but it was in early May of last year! It's a pretty interesting sounding sound compared to the rest, with a definite island beat and reggae feel unlike any other song on the album.
And whoa. She actually shoots a man at the start. I didn't actually see that coming, even after hearing the song. Really cool that she went with a story for the song, but even more-so for the video. I thought it was about breaking a heart, but this video brings it to a different place. I still don't love the song as a whole to hear continuously, but it's definitely the most interesting thing off of this album in its own way.
Oh Nicki Minaj.. just when I thought I had escaped you, you show up again. "Raining Men" takes that interesting club beat each seem to employ in dragged the BPM upward a little bit. I thought maybe this was a cover, but no luck. Granted, the two work together very well. "Fly" is a great song, even with Nicki's raps. They sound good together, but the song just isn't fun after a while. There's no real dynamics to it to keep us interested, and I gradually just wanted the beats to be done.
"Complicated" grabbed me from the start. She sings it out so loud and frustrated, but in a lovely way. The back beat is simple and moving. It's actually been described as sort of trance, which makes some sense. There's even some sort of Asian theme/feel about it that's really cool. I don't think we're supposed to know why, but this is a great song in some incredibly strange entrancing way.
Like I said, there's a bedroom song on every album (maybe more than one). "Skin" fits the bill on this one. She apparently performs a lap dance on stage to an audience member for this one. Clearly, we know where this is going. I have to hand it to her, the sensuality is intense in this one, but completely appropriately done given the lyrics and circumstances.
I waited for a while for Spotify to allow me to listen to "Love the Way You Lie (Part II)" and finally they have. This song is just so great. It takes the listener to a more intense viewpoint of the girl from the first part, released on Eminem's album, Recovery. It was actually Eminem's idea, and Rihanna had to be convinced because there was no way, in her eyes, they could out-do the first. This version is so much more broken down though, and Skylar Grey did a good portion of the writing, giving the melody a haunting and beautiful feel. There's the same emotionality, if not more, to this version, and it's just... ah. "Just gonna stand there and watch me burn? Well that's all right because I like the way it hurts." You know you've dealt with the abuse for love. It's just so much. It's not a song you want to be relating to in anything more than retrospect, but in that respect, man do you want to sing it loud...
Added to My Playlist:
- "Cheers (Drink To That)"
- "California King Bed"
- "Long The Way You Lie (Part II)"
All right, I see how this was maybe deserving of the nods it received now. Rihanna did manage to compile an album with variety, soul, and fun - three elements that are hard to put together into one disc. It's got a little something for everyone, from the partiers to the over-thoughtful crazies like me! There's beauty musically, as well as lyrically from time to time, and we're presented with a full range of feelings and stories. Well done as a whole.