Rihanna - Talk That Talk

A compact little number, but perhaps fortunately so.

Another year, another Rihanna album. And DIY was not about to turn down the invitation to hear it prior to release, even if it did mean a trip to West London.

Sitting in a rather sterile studio surrounded by other eager journalists while an artist’s manager plays their new record via an iPod is hardly an ideal way to listen to anyone’s new release, let alone Rihanna’s. Cue some awkward shifts in weight and quite a few blushing faces.

Think of the filthiest song you know. Ok, now times that by a thousand, take it to the depths of beyond, add a serious amount of dubstep breakdowns and you’ll probably get a glimpse into the explicitness that is Rihanna’s ‘Talk That Talk’, a ten track (plus interlude) exploration into *mum face* just fancying the pants off of someone, essentially.

Opening track and second single ‘You Da One’ is a solid introduction to the singer’s sixth full length. Playful and up tempo, this Dr Luke produced track is available to listen to online now and is perhaps one of the album’s strongest (and more family friendly) songs.

Second track ‘Where Have You Been’ is a different beast altogether. A darker, more tribal affair with - and forgive us for saying this - hints of the Europop about it (at the start, honest), this would be the ‘dance floor anthem’ of the piece, complete with twisted synths and a drop that would make Niagra Falls look tame, obviously.

Following on from ‘Where Have You Been’ is a duo of collaborations, including the Calvin Harris produced ‘We Found Love’ and perhaps the more interesting ‘Talk That Talk’. The album’s title track is dominated by Jay-Z for the first minute or so before the Bajan beauty pulls it back, turning the tables and leaving Jay looking like he’s phoning it in with the odd token grunt during the latter half.

Just looking at a Rihanna song entitled ‘Cockiness (Love It)’ does spark a sense of fear (or at least a need to clear the surrounding area of children and the easily offended). And if you were clever enough to act on that initial instinct, you’ll probably be pretty pleased with yourself when you’re invited to ‘eat my cockiness, lick my persuasion’ during the Bangladesh produced number.

As if that wasn’t enough, Rihanna continues her foodie theme with ‘Birthday Cake’, the album’s interlude. About as subtle as a brick, this track continues the by now slightly uncomfortable sex obsession of the album’s first half.

The later section of the album includes a change of pace with slower, softer tracks like ‘We All Want Love’ and album closer ‘Farewell’. The xx make an appearance in the form of a sample of Stargate produced ‘Drunk On Love’, ‘Roc Me Out’ provides the album with it’s lowest point in terms of originality and ‘Watch N’ Learn’ sees a return to the Caribbean feel completed with a list of places our protagonist would like to have sex. Excellent.

The deluxe edition boasts three additional tracks in the form of ‘Red Lipstick’, smutty Rihanna ala ‘Rated R’ and at her absolute best (‘Let me grab my dick while you sit on top’ is the type of graphic we’re talking about here); ‘Do Your Thing’, a track that preaches that it’s ok for your bloke to check out other women because that’s just who he is (no, really), and finished by ‘Fool In Love’, a slightly more vulnerable affair that is bound to get a few tongues wagging.

Measuring in at around 35 minutes for the whole album (bonus tracks excluded), it’s a compact little number but perhaps fortunately so. The album’s slight yo-yoing of tempo in the later half and the undeniably odd ordering does contribute to making ‘Talk That That’ a more difficult listen than some of her previous works. All in all, it’s a solid album that’s bound to throw out another barrage of brilliant pop songs.

Tags: Rihanna, Reviews

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